It seems like a constant battle for any mom: how to keep your kids entertained. When the temperatures drop, and the kids are stuck inside, it seems like an even bigger battle. Before you know it, cabin fever sets in and you are looking for ideas that will be educational, but also help to expend at least some of their boundless energy. Here are some of our suggestions on how to keep the kids entertained once the weather turns.
Cooking with the Kids
Inviting the kids to cook with you in the kitchen is a great way to educate and empower them, while having fun, quality time together. Not only can kids learn math skills like counting, fractions, sequences, measuring and forming shapes through cooking, but they will also learn problem solving, chemistry and can increase their vocabulary too. In addition, they will learn a valuable skill they can use throughout their life. The best part is: everyone gets to reap the rewards of your work together. Tacos and pizza recipes are perfectly suited for cooking with little kids, but why not combine them and make a Taco Pizza together? Yes, kids love macaroni & cheese. But, instead of reaching for another box, why not try making a healthier homemade version like Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese? And don’t forget dessert: S’mores Casserole is just as much fun to make as it is to eat. There are tons of recipes to try out here as well.
Get Moving Together
Often, when the temperature outside gets lower, so does our level of physical activity. The same goes for our kids as well. A lack of physical activity can not only slow down a child’s metabolism, but it can lead to an increased risk of becoming overweight, or obese, in adulthood. It can also lead to a host of other health issues like diabetes, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a more dismal outlook on life, according to KidsHealth.org. Encouraging kids to stay active even when they can’t go outside not only has several health benefits and helps them burn energy, but it’s also a great opportunity to create positive experiences and family memories. All you really need is a little imagination. A family dance party is not only tons of fun but requires very little planning. Have each family member pick out their favorite songs and start dancing. Take it up a notch by adding some fun dance lights, glowsticks, scarves and/or ribbons to wave around; or try adding a little competition to your dance party and make it a dance-off. Who doesn’t love balloons? There are endless ways to get the kid’s heart rates up with balloons, like balloon volleyball or balloon tennis. Clean-up time is usually a struggle, but how about turning it into a race? Put on a favorite song and challenge the kids to see how much they can put away before the end of the song. There are so many fun ideas & games to try, your kids might even want to stay inside to play when it is nice outside.
Being stuck inside during the cooler months creates the perfect opportunity to bring out the craft supplies and get creative. Crafts are great for kids, not just because they are fun, but because crafts help grow self-esteem, creativity, imagination, STEM skills, problem solving and patience. Crafts also allow children to express themselves and communicate their inner feelings. Creating something and finishing a project that they can see displayed gives kids a sense of pride and delight in watching others admire their work. Instead of buying a bunch of decorations for the holidays, why not have the kids create the holiday decorations this year? Garland is a great project to help develop fine motor skills and can really bring out their creativity, because there are so many options. Try some of these: DIY Yarn Balls, Falling Leaves Garland or Washi Tape Christmas Trees. Or make some ornaments you can hang year after year like Silver Snowflakes, Popsicle Sled Sleds, or Jolly Elves. Photo ornaments are another type of ornament you will appreciate for years to come. Don’t forget to add names and dates so you can look back and reminisce when the kids get older.
Share A Smile
Have relatives or friends that live far away? A great way to spread warmth when it is chilly outside is to have the kids write letters or draw pictures to give to family, friends or anyone they want to make smile. Another idea is to call a local retirement center and ask if your kids can make some cards and crafts for the residents.
If they have some gently used toys they no longer play with, this is a great time to encourage them to donate to other kids who could use them. Not only will you be encouraging your kids to give to those less fortunate, you can also help reduce your toy clutter as well. Charities like Deseret Industries and Goodwill are good charity options, as they will either donate the toy to an organization for you, or sell the toy in their thrift store and serve the community in that way. Other charities may have specific wish lists or restrictions on the types of toys they can accept, so be sure to check with them before trying to donate. You can also check with your friends or coworkers with younger kids to see if they might appreciate receiving a toy. Have your child wrap up the toy and give it as a gift.