• Kristin Hankins

Winter Sanity Savers

I don't know about you, but I'm kind of freaking out on the inside at the idea of not being able to hit all the indoor trampolines, museums, and play places that help us burn energy and get out of the house this winter. Just the idea of it makes me panic a little... but in reality, we probably don't do those things as often as I'd like to think!

I decided to take some time to think about ways that we really do get through the wintertime in our home. Even when it's cold, I try to get outside as often as we can. Indoors and out, there really are a lot of things we can do to spend time together and have lots of time!

Here are some tips and ideas for your toddlers:

  • Make a shopping list with pictures to the grocery store along with a crayon and allow your child to mark off what he or she finds

  • Play "eye-spy" anywhere and everywhere; identify objects of different colors all around you.

  • Hunt for shapes ("I see something that's in the shape of a circle!" - Let them look for it!)

  • Ask your child questions about the way he or she sees world around him or her ("What is your favorite thing to do outside?" "What kinds of things do you see when you look in the sky?" "Did you do anything fun today?" "If you could pick any food to eat all day long, what would it be?")

  • Begin stories for your child to finish ("Once upon a time, there was a princess who wanted to ...")

  • Talk to your child about what you're doing (laundry, cooking, etc).

  • You can say aloud all of the steps you take to bake muffins, switch laundry, sweep, and more. (And let them help!)

  • Let your child play with normal household objects, like measuring cups, muffin pans, spoons, and more when you make dinner.

  • Read books throughout the day. Spend a few minutes with each one. Talk about the pictures. Describe what you see by naming colors, size, etc. Ask what might happen next. Ask about his or her favorite picture from the book.

  • Board games and small puzzles

  • Play-doh

  • Scavenger hunts like the free one below (click the image!)

Here are some tips and ideas for big kids:

  • Shoot hoops outside

  • Ride bikes, scooters, or skate

  • Draw with chalk

  • Puzzles (together or on their own)

  • Board games and card games

  • Use a drawing book and practice new drawings

  • Color

  • Cut and paste (all the things)

  • Hand sew and crochet

  • Make up stories and write "books"

  • Write and act out plays together

  • My big kids also love scavenger hunts...especially if there is a prize!

  • Teach them to follow a recipe and make a meal. You can even have them make the grocery list and plan a budget for it.

  • Learn a new instrument

What else does your family do to survive the winter-time blues?

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