Here in the Pacific Northwest, our winters are long and cold. Sometimes, winter starts mid-November and lasts all the way until late March. Five months is almost half a year. And that is almost half a year of winter!
Winter is beautiful, no doubt. I know many people dream of a white Christmas and all the coziness snow and cold weather bring. But cold weather also causes more time indoors with little ones. My toddler was still too small this winter to be outside for a very long time. He did not move as much as us so he could not keep himself as warm. Therefore, we were mostly indoors.
This got me thinking of indoor activities that would spice up our winter days so neither momma nor toddler would go crazy.
Here is my list of winter and/or rainy day activities:
1. Walk around the Mall. I love this option because it gives me a chance to get out of the house and change the atmosphere. I bring my stroller and put my son in there and just walk around the mall until I want to go home. Old people do it all the time. Why can’t I? 🙂 Plus, it’s completely free!
2. Cook/Bake with the kids. Ok so this one might be more for older children. Imagine making memories with your child while teaching them some kitchen skills and having fun at the same time! Cooking or baking with the kids does just that. Also, I’m sure dad will be happy to come home from work to warm chocolate chip cookies!
3. Clean. Find something to clean with your little ones. With so much extra time indoors, why not finally clean out that hall closet. You may be surprised how you can turn a cleaning experience into something fun! Have the kids find the other shoe to the pair and make it into a game. The kids will think cleaning is more fun that way and you will get something off your long to-do list.
4. Go for a scenic drive. I love to drive on a certain road in town that is alongside the river. It’s calming and always interesting to look at no matter how often I drive there. Pack the kids into the car and show them some of God’s creation while driving. Bonus: You can even play I Spy with the scenery.
5. Build a fort. One thing I loved to do as a kid is gather the dining chairs and arrange them in a square in the living room. I would pull out a whole bunch of blankets and towels from the linen closet and cover the chairs. The result was a very handsome little fort! Oh those childhood memories… Why not do that with your kids? It’s something they won’t forget and will get their creative juices flowing!
6. Visit a kid’s museum or science center. In my town, we have a children’s museum and science center that even adults would enjoy. There is a fee but a once-in-a-while budgeted field trip to the science center is totally worth it, especially if everyone needs to get out of the house.
7. Have specific winter/rainy day activities. This can be a tub of designated toys or activity books that are only to be pulled out on winter/rainy indoor days. That way, it will be more special and appreciated by the kids. You can even have special games you only play on these kinds of days.
8. Have a playdate. When there is absolutely no way you are going outdoors, invite another mother and her kids over for a few hours. The kids will enjoy the company and so will you! You can even do this a few times a week during the long winter.
9. Visit the library. I personally love this one. Take the kids to the library and have them pick out their own books to check out and bring home. This is another activity that you can do several times a week!
10. Color, draw, paint. This activity is simple, yet fun. You can buy coloring books at the dollar store. Sit in with your little ones and color with them. Have a drawing contest or a drawing of the day where you attempt to draw one picture a day. Painting is also loads of fun. You can purchase watercolors or paint for very little and go as far as your imagination will take you.
11. Visit Grandpa and Grandma. I want to encourage you to take the kids to visit the grandparents as often as possible! Especially if the grandparents are retired, they would love to see their family and the kiddos will bond more. I love taking my son over to my parent’s house. It’s a change in environment and he gets used to seeing his grandad and grandma.
12. Visit the local pet store. I have noticed that my 10-month-old loves animals! A smile spreads wide across his face and his voice gets all soft and sweet. A visit to the pet store would do wonders for that child! If there is a pet store in town, take advantage and show your kids animals in real life!
13. Join the gym. Most gyms now offer daycare. While momma works out, the kiddos will spend an hour or so with other kiddos in a fun and kid-friendly environment!
14. Listen to an audiobook. Gather the kids on the couch or the floor and listen to a story on tape. Get some blankets and make hot chocolate for added coziness! Some stories are hours long and you cannot pull yourself away from them. There are also important life lessons kids can learn from stories.