Recent research from The Genius of Play shows that parents spend almost as much one-on-one time with their devices as they do with their kids, but staying inside when the cold weather hits should never be an excuse for more screen time and less activity.
Getting everyone off the couch and interacting isn’t just essential for kids’ physical well-being but for everyone’s sanity. So, put down your devices and get inspired by these cold-weather activities that families can do together any snowy season:
Use What You’ve Got. Those couch cushions are made for a lot more than just sitting. It doesn’t take much to inspire kids’ imaginations so grab some of the kid-safe items around your home—couch cushions, pillows, boxes, and more—and create your own indoor obstacle course or play classic pretend games like “the floor is lava” (jumping from cushion to cushion to avoid the lava) to use up some of your kids’ pent-up energy. You can also work together to make snowmen out of alternative materials or build the coziest blanket/pillow fort ever. All these activities allow kids to explore their creativity, whether it’s by customizing an ultimate oasis that fits their needs—from tea parties to reading nooks and beyond—or making a snowman out of cookies for an added tasty treat.
Host Your Own Winter Games. No, we don’t mean the Olympics—we mean the perfect winter board games. Chances are you already have a few fan-favorite options to choose from. Games are an activity the whole family can play together to beat winter boredom while aiding the development of critical cognitive, social, and motor skills in the process such as problem-solving. Classic games that offer easy, no-fuss play can range from skill-and-action games like Jenga to card games like Uno, which can help kids practice matching and identifying colors and numbers. At the same time, these types of activities help enhance the bonds within families and benefit adults as well, such as reducing the stress of being cooped up indoors for a few days.
Get Outside. Yes, it might be cold. Yes, it might be an event simply getting kids in all their winter gear. But getting outdoors in winter can present plenty of fun adventures for kids. Much of what kids learn about their world begins with play, and snow serves multiple play benefits. It encourages kids to explore their world through new snow-covered glasses and experience and master new activities such as skiing their first bunny slope, ice skating on the town pond, riding a sled, or building a snowman. Snow certainly offers a full-body workout for kids, but it can also be an equally great source for quiet sensory play.
It’s easy to feel a bit jaded about winter weather as an adult. It’s cold, it’s dark—we get it. But don’t forget, something as simple as a snowy walk with your child or making cups of marshmallow-filled hot cocoa together can offer moments of pure magic for everyone.