Are your kids going a little stir-crazy from cabin fever? If they spent most of the last year indoors, they might feel more than a little anxious for playtime.
You need to up your activity game to avoid cries of “I’m bored.” Here are 10 tips for keeping your kids occupied this winter.
Even if the pandemic didn’t leave you cash-strapped, you should still always buy some things at the dollar store — including stuff to keep your kids occupied. From popsicle sticks to poster board to markers, you’ll find everything you need to create a craft-heaven.
It doesn’t matter if the holidays have passed. Your kids can make paper cup luminaries to use as nightlights with flameless tea candles — also available at your local dollar joint. Younger kids can craft polar bears out of handprints and build refrigerator snowmen.
Puzzles are a masterful way to teach fine motor skills while keeping your little one’s minds engaged. Fortunately, you can pick up these wonders for just a buck as well. If you have felines, place larger versions on a moveable surface like a sheet of heavy-duty cardboard so that you can keep pieces away from batting paws when you must pause.
Not all puzzles contain multiple pieces. Older children might enjoy sudoku, crosswords or word searches. You can find activity books and pens and pencils galore equally cheap — it’s like the discount gods smiled upon harried moms everywhere.
It doesn’t matter if your children are homeschooling, attending a traditional classroom or participating in a hybrid model. You can encourage their educational pursuits by locating free online resources for subjects that fascinate them.
Sites like Highlights provide easy recipes and DIY crafts to excite the budding chef or carpenter. Older kids might enjoy sites like Udemy, where they can find inexpensive — usually less than $20 — courses on how to do everything from build websites to performing animal reiki.
4. Tour a World Museum
Did travel restrictions postpone your family’s Paris trip indefinitely? You can still tour the Louvre and other world museums from the comfort of your couch. This activity makes a splendid alternative if nasty weather delays your homeschool field trip to your local institution this winter.
The online magic doesn’t stop there. You can search the internet for live webcams that capture nature in her private moments. Your kids can watch eagles feed their babies live on camera from their computers or tablets.
2020 made many people realize what cats have known all along — watching birds is fun and relaxing. Draw more feathered friends to your home by building them a birdhouse. You can find kits ranging from beginner to advanced and share this project.
Another crafty idea is to make DIY bird feeders and hang them strategically near windows. All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, some peanut butter, a bag of birdseed and some string to give songbirds a snack.
Do you spend a fortune on annuals each year? Why not decrease your costs, at least on the vegetable half of your garden, by saving and drying the seeds from your produce and starting seedlings indoors?
Peppers, beans and tomatoes all make good choices for beginners because it’s a snap to remove the seeds. Save your egg cartons — they make ideal trays when it comes time to plant.
During the winter, your local park probably sees less action. What a boon for parents, given social distancing requirements.
Bundle your little ones up and take a trip. You can also sneak in a workout by doing monkey bar pullups and strolling the walking path.
According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, people who engage in forest-bathing have higher numbers of natural killer cells to fight off invading pathogens. The magic comes from the phytoncides plants emit as a natural defense. When humans inhale them, it kicks their immune system into gear.
Head out to your local nature preserve as often as possible. Kids who spend time in nature when small tend to adopt a more protective attitude toward the planet as adults — you’re encouraging environmental stewardship.
The smaller your children are, the easier it is to build an obstacle course at home. Tiny tots might make do with little more than a few pool noodles to make crawling paths and various hallway limbo sticks.
If your lawn isn’t covered with snow, you can create an American Ninja-style obstacle course in your backyard. However, if you have the white stuff, you can use it to create a maze or sledding slope.
One way to encourage your kids to read is to let them self-select books. What better place to do so for free than at the library?
You can find other materials there, too. Some might have anything from game consoles to telescopes available for lease. If you are at high risk of complications from COVID-19, you can arrange curbside pickup at most locations.
It might be more challenging to avoid whining children this year after extended time indoors. Keep your kids occupied this winter with the ten tips above.