Small children and winter time are a difficult combination. They want to play outside but come back inside soaking wet and cold, or they want to stay in and end up whining because they’re bored. Don’t pull your hair out just yet, because all is not lost. What you need in order to save the day are a few simple indoor winter activities to keep the children distracted when it is just too cold to venture out.
For an engaging project that will take up a couple hours of time, allow your child to help you bake sugar cookies. Make it easy on yourself by picking up a roll of dough at the grocery store instead of mixing it from scratch, then work together to roll out the dough. Once flattened, ask “Hey, which shapes do you want to use to cut out the cookies? Stars, snowflakes, trees? Here are the cookie cutters. I’ll let you pick.” She will have loads of fun cutting the cookies into different shapes. You can find seasonal cookie cutters at retail stores during winter months. After they are finished baking, you and your child can add decorations to the cookies for added entertainment.
Crafts are exciting ways to pass the time on a cold winter day. Ask your child if he would like to spend some time together doing a simple project such as creating snowman faces. All you need for this are socks, foam balls, some rubber bands and various crafty decorations for the face. Slide a foam ball into the bottom of the sock and then use a rubber band to pull the sock around the top of it. Repeat the step with additional balls until the sock is full. Once filled, say something like, “Now we can decorate each face however you would like.” Use everything from markers and felt to googly eyes and puff balls to make silly faces. You will laugh out loud at some of the ideas your child will come up with. When you’re through, fold the open end of the sock down around the top ball to form the look of a hat, and use a safety pin to attach a string to the back of the top ball, in order to hang it up in his room as a memory of the day.
Snowflakes seem to capture the imagination of every child at some time or another. Maybe it’s the sparkle that they have as they fall, or the fact that no two are alike. If your child loves snowflakes, spend a little time on a craft that will engage her imagination and create a memory that will last for years to come — make sparkling and fancy snow flakes with your little one. To start, select three fuzzy white pipe cleaners and cross them at the center. Twist the pipe cleaners together at the center and then pull the ends out in different directions to form the frame for her snowflake. Once its ready, hand it over to your child to decorate. Let her select from an assortment of sparkly and shiny beads, and show her how to slide them onto the ends. Say, “Okay, lets fill up each point of the snowflake so it will be sparkly in the light.” After she’s through, twist the ends down so that the beads won’t slip off, and tie a string around one point to hang it up in a window.
Little ones love to make sounds, and you will often find them banging on pots or tapping on boxes. Why not encourage his creative side by taking time out to help him make some music with a few household items and imagination? Drag out various objects such as plastic bowls to make drums and then play a little music from the radio for him to follow along to — and don’t forget to join in on the fun! If you’d like to add a little melody to the beat, drag out some glasses and fill them with different levels of water. Say “If we tap the glasses with this spoon, it will make different sounds.” Let him try it himself.