Winter brings out the fuzzy slippers, the heavy blankets and the movies on the couch but it can also bring out the worst in children, especially if they’re sick, or stuck inside due to poor weather or COVID restrictions. We’ve gathered some fun and simple ideas for when your kids are under the weather or when the temperature is simply too cold for outdoor play.
No standard ideas like television, iPad, books, puzzles and board games. And no craft – because I know I can’t be the only mum who would rather walk on Lego than spend an afternoon cleaning up paint and glitter …
1. Make blanket forts
If you have pillows, blankets and couch cushions, then you have the makings of a sweet blanket tent. Even just piling the contents on the floor and letting the kids jump into the pile of comfort is a great way to soak up some of that extra energy that isn’t being used at the park.
2. Put them to work
Folding, washing, doing the dishes and dusting can be made into a game (with the right incentive … like chocolate). Even toddlers can help out with some simple household chores. Make it a race to see who can get their room tidied quickest, or set a timer and see who can fold the most teatowels before the alarm goes off. Make it fun!
3. Play cards
Poker may be a little too advanced but you can do very basic maths, shapes and colour recognition with cards. And all kids can pick up the games of Snap or Memory pretty easily!
4. Have a ‘snow ball’ fight
All you need is a few rolls of paper towel or toilet paper – if you can bear to part with the precious stuff with panic buying clearing the shelves during COVID lockdowns, that is. Old newspapers or junk mail are good alternatives too. Just be sure to get the kids to wash the newspaper ink off their hands when they’re finished. Yes, you can expect a flurry of paper all over the house but it’s easy enough to make it a clean up game afterwards.
MORE Play and Activities
5. Make a collage
Just kidding! That counts as a craft in my mind. But if you’re up to the challenge of cleaning up bits of paper and glue, then kids do love making collages.
6. Write a book
Rather than read a book, write one. Simply staple some pages together, let the kids draw a picture on each page and caption what they have drawn.
7. Set up indoor bowling
If you have a long corridor in the house, then this is a great game. If you don’t have a toy bowling set you can use plastic cups as the pins.
8. Choreograph a dance
With matching outfits. And make sure you perform your dance for any adult who graces your front door. Make sure you record it on your phone!
9. Play hide and seek
By hide and seek, I mean hide in the pantry and see how long it takes for your kids to find you. Hopefully you get at least five minutes of silence. But I highly doubt it.
10. Teach your pet a new trick
If you have a dog, then you can bribe him to learn new tricks with treats. Even if it doesn’t work, watching your little ones attempt to communicate with your pet is still worth a laugh or two. Even if you only have a rabbit, cat or goldfish, this is still a fun game.
11. Bake something
Preferably something that won’t leave your kitchen looking like a flour bomb went off. Here’s 8 simple cookies that are great to bake with kids.
12. Write letters and ‘mail them’
Who said the art of snail mail is dead? Set up letterboxes in each bedroom and send each other letters.
13. Have a scavenger hunt
That is, hide random things around the house and see if your kids can find them. While the kids race through the house like cyclones, hide in the bedroom and try to take a five minute nap. Good luck!
14. And, finally, send them to someone else’s house
After all, nothing beats a good play date, except when it’s not your house that’s being destroyed.
This post was originally published in July, 2016.
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