When winter rolls around, it’s hard to keep kids active and engaged while staying warm inside. As a parent, I understand how hard it can be to have creative activities while limited to just the living room! The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to have quality, creative playtime with kids. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends some unstructured playtime to encourage a child’s creativity.
Screen time should be limited and closely monitored. So, it’s time to put down mobile devices and have some unplugged downtime. Check out some of these indoor activities to brighten up a snowy day!
Pay it Forward - With all of the holidays so close, winter is the best time to volunteer. Check out local organizations and teach your child the importance of giving back to the community. Having a child gather their clothing that they have outgrown and taking a trip to the local Salvation Army to donate these items can be a valuable lesson.
Family Cooking - Cooking together is a great way to work on reading skills and teamwork! Depending on your child’s age, they can read the recipe, gather ingredients, wash vegetables, learn how to do simple math and a lot more!
Reading Time - Use this time indoors to turn your child into a book worm! Read together, read alone, maybe even have a poetry tea party! When it comes to screen time, opinions differ on how much is too much, but what experts do agree on is that screen time is best done together rather than alone.
Visit a Museum - No better time to check out a local museum than wintertime! Many cities have free or reduced cost museum days.
Indoor Play places - Need to let some energy out? Look for indoor playgrounds near the house and get some play time in.
Board Games - So many options for both fun and educational games! Check out games that promote reading, math and problem solving.
Local Libraries - Many local libraries have free story times and activities for kids, especially during the holidays. They often have homework help centers as well.
Art Projects - Try painting, drawing, coloring, clay and anything else you can find! Many materials like play dough and silly putty can be made at home using simple ingredients from your kitchen cabinet. Make sure to monitor kids in the kitchen!
Physical Activity - Just because you are stuck indoors on a snow day, doesn’t mean physical activity should fall by the wayside. Think of things that encourage physical activity, such as building a pillow fort, setting up an obstacle course or arranging a scavenger hunt. Also, many outdoor activities can be modified for the indoors, like using balloons and a stick on a paper plate, instead of a tennis racket and tennis balls.
Hopefully, your family finds these activities fun or even uses them as inspiration to think up your own! Most importantly, keep your family engaged this winter and don’t let the learning stop when winter break starts. If you’re local to Columbus and looking for winter family fun be sure to check out CAP4Kids, a website full of free and low-cost resources and events!
Dr. Emily is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a strong interest in child advocacy, and serves as the medical director for CAP4Kids Columbus.
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