Many parents dread the colder months, thinking that their little ones will spend most of their time indoors, stuck behind a screen or bored out of their minds. What’s there to be jolly about? My family have made a fun challenge to come up with frugal or even free activities during the darker and colder winter months that are also pandemic safe. With just a little bit of imagination, some test runs and plenty of fun, me and the kids can have an amazing wintertime… even when snowed or rained in!
Remember, chilly weather and snow should not be an excuse to stay inside for days on end; on the contrary, they should be outside, exploring, building their immune systems, socializing and learning, while enriching their lives beyond smartphones and TV screens. And there’s so much you can do to inspire kids to have plenty of fun in the following months! Kids need to spend time outdoors and in nature for their wellbeing and well we adults need that too, especially during a pandemic.
Get ready for a camping trip
If you think summer is reserved for venturing into nature, think again, because the magical winter scenery will most likely stir new interest in kids. If you live in the vicinity of a mountain, then you can set up a weekend getaway, book a cottage for the whole family. Most Airbnb rentals now have ultra safe covid practice but make sure to check first. Some campsites might be closed so make sure to call and check before going. Since covid-19 hit California my family and have been rented a cheap cabin in the mountain to spend time in the snow, we camped in grandparents backyard and camped in Joshua Tree park.
Always make sure you bring proper winter clothing, including waterproof boots and perhaps overalls if you’re keen on skiing or you know your kids will spend hours playing in the snow. Learn about the local wildlife. Take pictures, and make a family scrapbook based on your short trip! My kids have a travel journal they will write and draw their adventure in.
Volunteer as a family
Winter holidays are a perfect time to give back, to help those in need, and to teach our kids the value of kindness and a selfless mindset. You can all volunteer together, as it will help you bond as a family, establish values and make a difference in a meaningful way.
If you have older kids, encourage giving time to an organization such as a care packages for the homeless. My family volunteer with facemarks and outdoors with La Colonia Community Foundation collecting food from local farmers after the farmers market and deliver them to families in much need of food. You can also give back from home by having the family collect their old clothes and toys, then making gift bags for kids and needy families.
With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner but even though this year we will not be able to spend the holiday with friends or family we still make lots of Christmas food and treats. Of course including kids in this memorable feast meal making process is a fun activity for the kids.
Delegate some of your easiest, most manageable chores to the youngest, as they can handle arranging the ingredients. Let them use some of your kitchen appliances that are safe and teens can be in charge of tasks that are a bit more demanding. Baking and decorating gingerbreads are my kids favorite activity in kitchen right now.
Hike and bike
Cities and urban parks become sparkly and dreamlike during winter, and spending a few hours every week in physical family activities is beneficial both for your health and your closeness. Raine, snow or shine no matter what we try to go out for a bike or walk.
Hikes are perfect for longer walks but make sure hike trails are still open. Walks and bikes are an amazing way to get moving even in your neighborhood. So, depending on your location, you can take your pick, and mix and match whenever you have time. Just make sure you always bring some fresh water, homemade snacks and protective gear for your youngsters.
Get artsy inside or out!
Arts and crafts is a great activity to do as a family together when the winter blues bring you down and you don’t even have to be indoors to do art and crafts. Sand or snow is your kids’ best building material, and they can use it to make snow angels, snowmen, and don’t forget a proper winter snow fight for the whole family!
Indoors, however, when the weather isn’t so inspiring, this is the perfect time to finally assemble the gang and make that family album you’ve talked about or make homemade play dough or a bird feeder — the snowy sky is the limit!