Tuesday, March 1, 2016

10 Indoor Activities to Cure Your Child’s Winter Time Blues

By: Molly Luke, Early Intervention Specialized Instruction Teacher, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Norristown, PA
Has the winter season started giving you the blues? I am such an outside person and enjoy getting dirty in the mud, hiking, kayaking or even just a space to have a catch and draw with some sidewalk chalk. With the warmer weather right around the corner, I feel like we only have a short time left indoors. However, the cold weather is still limiting the wiggle room for my two-year old and myself. How are we supposed to get the recommended 60 minutes of movement play each day inside? It is time to get creative to continue our happy healthy movement to keep those motor skills sharp in our “off-season”! Here are 10 activities to cure your child’s winter time blues. They can help keep the day exciting by using everyday items that exist somewhere on your shelves.
  1. FORTS: Get those extra blankets and spare pillow out! Find a kid-friendly space (i.e. room between couches, bedrooms, empty hallway away from staircase, etc.) and start construction. Think about tunnels, twists and turns, and then even grab some “hiking” items (i.e. snacks, pillows, backpacks, flashlights) and possibly pretend to HIBERNATE within the fort. The options are endless!
  2. DANCE PARTY: Ok…so admit it…what Choosy song is stuck in your head lately? Since February is American Heart Month, “My Heart Says Thanks” gets wrapped around my brain. Choose your families’ favorite Choosy Kids track and create a simple dance to go along with the lyrics. 
  3. CAMP OUT: Why not end the night in your comfy family room with sleeping bags? Staying up a little late won’t hurt with the change of scenery. Play charades, board games or even make one healthy snack to share with company.
  4. ICE SKATING: Yes, ice skating- inside! All you need is to wear some socks, and plop a plastic bag, paper plate or wax paper on your feet. Carpet works best, but wood flooring will work too…if you get really crafty, you could even put a little cleaner on old washcloths and skate and clean your wood floors at the same time- a win-win situation for all family! 
  5. FASHION SHOW: What a perfect time to try on those upcoming seasonal clothes! Think of a scene, then as your children to find clothes in their closet that are most appropriate to wear in that situation. The wackier the better- great photo opportunity too!
  6. BOWLING: Grab some empty bottles and use them for pins. A small pillow, piece of fruit or a crinkled piece of paper will work as your ball. 
  7. COOK: Make cookies (sometimes snack), a smoothie (all the time snack!) or even home made play-dough; kids love to guess the cause and effect of kitchen science. What color will it turn? Will it be hard or soft when cooked? What happens if we add a little of ____? Pull up a step stool and have them turn into your mixer. This is also a great way to practice kitchen safety and talk about HOT versus COLD concepts.
  8. OBSTACLE COURSE: This is best if you house has a natural circle path or a long hallway. Grab some pillows, painters’ tape (to tape from one side of a wall to another creating a web), chairs to hurdle, wash-cloths as hopping spots…and away you go! Race if you feel safe, or hold “trials” and have you little gymnast think of an addition or how to re-route the course for the next run. 
  9. YOGA: You don’t have to be a yogi expert to practice balancing and breathing. Just a good book with character full of expressions and adventures! Read a page, and then have your children strike a pose on a characters feeling, setting or action. If you must resort to some screen time, check out COSMIC KIDS YOGA on YouTube! FREE yoga lessons!
  10. SENSORY BIN: Grab a large pasta pot, fill up the bathtub or even a simple Tupperware bin and hide some easy clean up toys, puzzle pieces (and then complete the puzzle) or a surprise item in the bottom. Fill up your bin with snow, cooked pasta or water with dish soap bubbles and start exploring!  Pre-plan a table cloth around your floor space or easy clean-up counter. Add food coloring for more effect, and test your children on their sense of touch! Blind fold to have them predict their item first. 
Keeping activities new and exciting (even if you are just playing with boxes) will limit the boredom, tantrums and sluggish attitudes …and will ADD creativity, imagination and practice of lengthening play. Maybe even some of your new inventions will now become a part of your normal weekend routine. When children have that guided play, they then start applying their skills independently toward others. You are your children’s first and most important teacher- so let’s influence that fluid activity even when it’s tough to get outside!

About the Author: Hello! I have been teaching for about 10 years now, ages Pre-K through 8th grade…needless to say, I am a life-long learner and always looking for new thing to challenge my body and brain to do in a classroom! Outside of the classroom, family comes first! My husband Dan, baby Marshall and basset hound Penelope enjoy my naturally caffeinated personality on a regular basis. The whole family enjoys traveling, and I personally have a goal of visiting all 7 continents! 2 more to go! 

43 comments :

  1. We do many of these things! My boys love to help out in the kitchen, so we cook/bake a lot.

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    1. That is awesome that they like to help with that. What is your/their favorite thing to make?

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  2. These are all such great ideas. I used to LOVE building forts out of sofa cushions and blankets.

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  3. Great ideas! I have been practicing yoga and breathing with my son since he could walk, and I really think it has helped his balance and his ability to sit quietly without needing constant entertainment.

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    1. Yoga is WONDERFUL! We love yoga at Choosy Kids and think it is a great thing to teach children. Keep up the great work!

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  4. Great ideas Molly. I was not aware that it recommended for children to get moving for up to an hour a day, but it does make sense.

    There are so many ideas you share. I liked number 10, the sensory game with the blind fold.

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    1. Oh yes, 60 minutes is the minimum but of course there's only so many hours in a day to be up and playing. Give the sensory game a try and let us know how it goes :)

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  5. These are all great ideas. This is our first Winter back in the midwest (we were in FL) so it's been a bit of a battle with our oldest who wasn't expecting to have to be cooped up so much of the time. Great post!

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    1. Awe...I am sure that is really hard for the kids to be inside when it is so cold out. But of course, when the temps aren't craaaazy cold, get outside and play!! :)

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  6. Man did I used to love building forts with my brothers growing up. It was fun to create and then even more fun just to hang out there. Great list!

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  7. I love these ideas. My kids would have had a blast putting together and running through obstacle courses.

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    1. Obstacle courses are so fun and can be great energy suckers ;) Take turns creating different courses so you get some exercise too!

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  8. These are all great ideas to cure the blues. Especially like dance party and ice skating.

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    1. Everyone enjoys a good dance party! Turn up the music!!

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  9. These are really great ideas. We need to all prevent cabin fever!

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  10. Those are all so fun! We normally build forts around the house and just keep playing until the wee hours when there's no school. I miss those times so much, especially now that the kids are grown up!

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    1. Who says you still can't build a fort for yourself? Hehe!

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  11. Such a great ideas, I love making snacks and baking cup cakes with my two boys

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    1. That is awesome that your boys like to do that with you!

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  12. I do a lot of these things with my nieces. It's great to have a way to keep them busy when we are stuck indoors.

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  13. This absolutely a great idea, My wife should know about this and she will be cook with us

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  14. i wanna do yoga with my daughter too! still working on where to go but now doing it indoors too!

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  15. Love these suggestions Christine. We don't get snow in Texas but we do get rain...I can use some of these ideas to entertain the grandkids. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cori

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  16. what a ton of great ideas to help beat the winter blues!

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  17. Such a wonderful ideas, indoor activities is also fun and cool.

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  18. What a fun idea! I'm sure my nephew would love the indoor activity.

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  19. Great post!My favorite is the dance party. Thankfully Spring is right around the corner.

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  20. We've done all of these this winter except the sensory bin! Pinning so I remember :)

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  21. Such a great ideas! I loved Bowling and Yoga for taking out kids as it involves physical activity and they will learn something new. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

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  22. So many great activities! I love the camping out one, and of course, the dance party. I also love yoga for kids.

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  23. What a great list of activities!!! My daughter and I love a good dance party!

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  24. Great list of activities! We do a new sensory bin each week!

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  25. Thank you for those ideas. I think my son would love to do those activities most especially the obstacle course.

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  26. This list came at the perfect time, we are in for several days of rain. Bring on the forts!

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  27. We are huge fans of sensory bins. We usually play with them once a week, year around.

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  28. These are all great ideas. A little bit of everything, and some things I think I forget (like cooking is fun for kids). Thanks for sharing <3

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  29. I'm all for a dance party and my son loves forts!

    My kids are always outside. I don't know what they'd do if we moved away from L.A. They are very lucky. We grew up in the MidWest. You definitely had to be creative to get through the winter months.

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  30. These are some Great indoor activities! We make obstacle courses ALL of the time. My daughter is nearing the age of fashion shows so I Love that idea!!

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  31. Dance parties are always super fun, plus a great way to get some exercise in!!

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