It's hard to keep kids active and engaged during the winter. Even more so on snow days, when school gets cancelled. 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.
So what can you do to brighten up a cold or snowy day? Limit and monitor screen time and have some unplugged downtime. Here are some other suggestions to fight winter boredom.
At Home Fun
Before turning your house into a snow day survival zone, try to move furniture and fragile items out of the way to avoid any injuries. Take breaks as needed with healthy snacks and water. Brains need a good workout too. Use down time on puzzles, books, crafts, building with blocks, riddles and anything else that will keep kids using their creativity and challenge their thinking.
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!
Looking for some recommended recipes? Check out our pinterest boards for healthy recipes for all kids.
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.
Board games provide so many options for both fun and education games! Check out games that promote reading, math and problem solving.
Try painting, drawing, coloring, clay and anything else you find! Many materials like play dough and silly putty can be made at home using simple ingredients from your kitchen cabinet.
On Our Sleeves Coloring Pages
Looking to incorporate On Our Sleeves into your art projects? Download our On Our Sleeves coloring pages.
Just because you are stuck indoors on a snow day, doesn't mean physical activity should fall by the wayside. Here are some ideas for physical activities:
- Obstacle Course. Set up cones, stuffed animals, cups, etc. for kids to run around, jump over and climb under.
- Circuits. Set up activity stations around the room featuring one activity (jump rope, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, the hula hoop). Have your kdis visit each station for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Treasure/Scavenger hunt. Hide either one treasure with clues to follow or multiple items around the house. Be sure to make the hunt take the kids to different room, and have them searching high and low to get the most movement.
Crank up the tunes and dance your socks off! We even put together a playlist to get you started.
Have races walking/moving around like different animals:
- Bear walk (hand and feet)
- Cat/dog walk (hands and knees)
- Crab walk (hands and feet with your belly facing up)
- Rabbit/frog (bouncing with hands and feet on floor)
- Duck/penguin (heels together, toes pointed to the side)
Let kids come up with other animal ideas for maximum laughs.
Hide and Seek
An oldie, but a goodie. Hide and seek keeps kids moving, but does not require running.
Look for games that involved standing and moving. Today's video game systems offer good interactive options, and even a game as timeless as Twister can keep the giggles and energy level going.
This activity works best if you have enough kids to make two (2) teams. Set up two forts across the room from each other and load each team up with small soft objects (balls, Nerf arrows, stuffed animals, etc). Have teams toss their "ammo" at each other, aiming for arms, legs and the chest (head shots are forbidden). The team that has the last member left untouched by a plus projectile wins!
Exercises During TV Commercials
Sometimes watching TV is inevitable on a snow day. But why not incorporate a way to keep moving while watching your favorite program? Download and print our sheet of exercises with pictures below and cut each one out. Next place them in a bowl or container. During commercial breaks (or between episodes streaming), each person picks an exercise and everyone completes it until the TV program comes back on. At the next set of commercials, pick out a new exercise. You can also come up with your own fun exercises and add them to the list!
Places to Go
Are your kids getting a serious case of cabin fever on their snow day? Here are some ideas for indoor activities that aren't at your home.
Pay it Forward
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.
Visit a Museum
There's no better time to check out a local museum than wintertime! Many cities have free or reduced cost museum days, especially during the winter.
Many local libraries have free story times and activities for kids, especially during the winter holidays. They often have homework help centers as well.
Indoor Play Places
Need to let some energy out? Look for indoor playgrounds near the house and get some active play time in.