This winter is probably going to be tougher than most due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions many of us are finding ourselves living under. Cabin fever is likely to be a big problem, especially for those of us who are parents with bored kids to entertain. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of fun things you can pick up and do with the kids whenever you get bored, frustrated or just plain stir crazy this winter…
Make hot chocolate
This might not seem like an activity that will take up too much time, but you can make it last by making your own marshmallows from scratch and holding a competition to see who can make the best hot chocolate art. Then, when you’re done, you can sit down together and enjoy it in front of a favourite TV show or movie, and you’ll have the kids eating out of the palm of your hand.
Okay, so this one may be a bit optimistic, but if we are lucky enough to get some snow this winter, going sledding with the kids is a great way to let them burn off lots of energy and wear them out so you can get some me-time when you get home. Kids love the magic of snow, and all that entails, so if the opportunity does arise, don’t pass it up.
Another snow-reliant activity, there are few winter pastimes that are more fun than making snowmen with your children. Make it more exciting by holding a competition to see who can make the best snow person, and you’ll easily be able to keep them occupied for an hour. Just make sure you all wrap up warm.
Craft paper snowflakes
If the snow doesn’t put in an appearance, you could make some of your own by turning simple pieces of paper, and perhaps a little silver glitter, into your very own unique snowflake creations. Once you’re done, find fun places around the house to hang them up and bring you all a little winter cheer.
Winter is the perfect time to try your hand at candle making because it’s the perfect time to enjoy your evenings by candlelight. Making candles is much easier than you may think, and you can even buy kits that are aimed directly at children, which means they are safer and much easier to follow, so you could easily fill up a couple of hours with this activity, agave a lot of fun, and have something useful at the end of it – what’s not to love?
Play board games
Of all the kids toys you can buy, board games are the best when it comes to keeping the children busy on those long winter nights. Not only can you stretch them out over several hours if you really want to, but they’re engaging enough that kids tend not to get bored quite so quickly, and they can be pretty entertaining for the whole family, so you’ll be able to tolerate them better too. Not only that but obviously, they’re really easy to play indoors at the kitchen table, so even when the weather’s bad or you don’t have much space to play with in your home, you can have family fun with a board game or two.
Make a bird feeder
Kids love nature and birds need more help in the winter, so why not combine the two and get the kits making their very own bird feeder. You can buy bird feeder kits as well as kits to help you construct your own birdhouses, or you can make a really simple feeder from a pine cone – the choice is yours. Then, once you’ve made and hung your bird feeder up, you can get the kids involved in bird spotting activities with the child who sees the most variety of birds in a week getting a small prize. They’ll love it.
Make Christmas cards
Making your own Christmas cards is pretty easy, but it’s also a pretty engaging activity for your kids to get involved in. All you need is some card, glue and glitter and they’ll have a ball coming up with their own unique designs. When you’re done, why not send cards to the local old folk’s home or hospital ward to cheer the residents up.
Introduce them to your childhood favourites
When it’s cold outside, sometimes all you want to do is snuggle up and relax, but the kids can get bored pretty easily if you try this, so try to make it more attractive to them by introducing them ot the storybooks, films and music you loved as a child, They’ll love getting to know more about you and what it was like when you were young and chances are they’ll love The Little Prince or The Singing Ringing Tree just as much as you did when you were their age.
Build a blanket fort
Building a blanket fort is another ideal activity for those cold rainy winter weekends when going outside is out of the question, and you simply want to snuggle up in your PJs and do very little at all. It may still be the inside of your house, but to your kids, their blanket fort will be a world away. They’ll imagine themselves being intrepid explorers pitching their tent at the top of Mount Everest or some equally amazing fantasy and you’ll hardly need to check on them at all save to supply them with snacks now and again, or maybe instigate a pillow fight when you feel like they’ve been idle for too long.
Teach them to knit
Knitting might have been the thing your grandma did, but these days, it’s really cool with people of all age, so if you know how to knit, you could impress your children by teaching them the basics and letting them create their own scarves and gloves for the winter season. Sure, their scarves may look more like fishnets and their gloves may be a little lopsided, but at least they’ll be having fun and learning a new skill, which is all you can ask for.
Make your own Christmas decorations
Winter is the Christmas season, so it makes sense to focus on Christmassy activities to keep the kids busy. After all, they’re likely to be pretty excited about the big day anyway, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade them. See what you have lying around the house and transform your trash into Christmas decorations with the help of some glitter and glue. Chances are they won’t be the most sophisticated decorations you’ve ever had, but they will be more meaningful for sure.
Clear out the cupboards
This may not seem like a fun activity that is likely to attract the kids, but if you frame it as finding stuff to donate to the local food bank/ charity shop, they’ll probably be more than happy to get involved. Kids naturally love to help other people, and this is a good way to do that. Of course, it will also help you out too, and that can’t be a bad thing!
Have a bonfire
If you have a garden, why not gather some fallen branches and create your own bonfire. You can gather round, toast marshmallows and maybe even tell a scary story or two. It’s a cheap way to spend an otherwise boring winter evening, and the kids will absolutely love it.
Write a letter to Santa
Children love Santa, and they love fantasising about all of the fantastic things they will get for Christmas. Next time you need a bit of time to yourself, capitalise on this by getting the kids to write a letter to the man in red. It’ll take them longer than you might think to perfect their list and you can have some blissful time passed out in front of Netflix on the couch.
Decorate some cookies
Bake up a batch of cookies, then fill several bowls with different coloured icing and cookie decorations and challenge the kids to a cookie decorating contest, You can give prizes for most creative decoration, neatest cookie, and even worst cookie so everyone ends up with a prize at the end of the day!
Make a photo album
Help the kids to find their favourite family photos, print them out and arrange them together artfully into a scrapbook along with a few arty flourishes to make them pop. If you like, you can then give the resulting item to a grandparent or other family member as a personal gift when Christmas comes around. It’ll be interesting to see which moments are most precious to your children, and the recipient will love the thought that’s gone into it.
Winter may be cold and dark, and you may be stuck indoors more than you would like, but there is still lots of fun to be had with your children, so make the most of it and have the best winter ever!