Although at times winter weather can be drop-dead gorgeous, it can also drive a mama with cooped-up kids crazy. Add to that long school breaks when your home becomes ground zero for entertaining your kids 24/7, and wintertime parenting can become a real challenge. Of course, this challenge can totally be met with a little creativity. Below, we’ve come up with over 15 ways to entertain your kids during bad weather to get you through the seasonal hump ahead. Got suggestions of your own? Add ‘em in the comments!
Create a TV Show. Encourage creativity by helping your kiddo write, direct, and produce their own television show where they’re the star. Brainstorm the script, grab your trusty iPhone, film, and piece the video together with the Magisto app. Then watch it together with popcorn and candy. The kids will love it and the best part is, their show will be shared and treasured for years to come.
Host a Soup Party. Fact: Kids love helping out in the kitchen. And while there are endless simple recipes you can try out together, it’s cold outside, so we immediately think of soup. This warm, filling dish is the perfect go-to for chilly, stormy days. Why not throw a soup party for the kids? We love Annie’s Organic Soups, because they’re free of artificial flavors, synthetic colors, MSG, and preservatives, but served up in kid-friendly flavors like Tomato and Chicken & Stars. Setting up a toppings station complete with bunny crackers, croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese, and more to take it up a notch. The kids will have a blast and warm their bellies at the same time.
Decopage. It’s no secret that kids love to do “big kid stuff” like using knives and scissors (cringe!), not to mention, they love glueing anything and everything together. Let them be big kids, while learning decoupage with scrap newspaper, magazines, safety scissors, and washable glue sticks. Turn the project into a mixed media piece with some buttons, colored paint, glitter, stamps, and more.
Create a Treasure Hunt. You know that candy you’ve been stashing away since October? Time to use it to your advantage. Create a fun treasure hunt for the kids throughout the house. This takes a little bit of work on your part, but like a scavenger hunt, it’s really thrilling for littles. Hide objects, prizes, and miniature candy bars throughout the house and make a map to all of the findings. Bonus points if you make an eye patch and telescope from toilet paper rolls for the kiddy pirates!
Dance Party. First things first—get the wiggles out. Kids love to move, so why not throw a fun dance party? Let your kids play DJ by creating their own playlists. Dim the lights, turn up the volume, and cut a rug! You can also prompt the kids to choreograph their own dance routine.
Play a Board Game. Put away the iPads, iPhones, and other gadgets, and go old school with a classic board game. From Candy Land to Sorry and Operation to Uno, there are tons of classic games to play with children of all ages and these games make for hours of good old fashioned fun.
Set Up a Movie Theater. Movies are kind of a standby for rainy days, but by setting up a theater setting, you can bring some creativity and extra fun into the mix. Instead of cuddling up on the couch with the kiddos (the best!) and hitting play, set up a cardboard “box office” to sell tickets, pop some popcorn, set out a bunch of regular movie-theater goodies and snacks for purchase, dim the lights, and voilà!
Karaoke Competition. Most children love to sing along with their favorite tunes. Clear the living room, make a “stage,” and have the kids take turns singing their favorite songs. Don’t have a mic? Just grab a hairbrush and let loose.
Get Baking. What kid doesn’t love dessert? What kid doesn’t love to help in the kitchen? Sweeten up the dreary day with a mom-and-kid baking extravaganza. Better yet, make a themed dessert with another activity planned—pirate-themed cookies for a treasure hunt or make homemade candy for the movie later. Don’t forget the aprons and baker hats!
Put On A Play or Puppet Show. Another creative way to get the kids involved in a fun activity is by putting on a play or puppet show at home. Create a script, make a cardboard box theater, grab some old socks or brown bags (or use dolls) for characters, and put on a show!
Origami. Looking for something new and crafty to try? Origami is always a fun, unique activity to introduce to kids. And if all else fails, attenpt some no-fail paper airplanes and try to see who can fly them the farthest.
Indoor Garden. Rain doesn’t necessarily ruin all outdoor activities. Bring some miniature clay pots, mulch, and seeds indoors on a non-carpet floor to make an indoor garden. Make it personal by letting the kiddos paint their own pots, choose their seeds, and make some labeled plant markers for each flower and herb.
Make And Sculpt. As a mom, you probably already know what salt dough is and why it’s amazing, but if not, get ready to meet one of your new favorite kid pastimes. Why? Salt dough is a simple modeling dough made from ingredients you already have in your home. It’s great because it engages the kids, is easy to make, and requires no glazes or kilns.
DIY Bowling. Make bowling pins out of a few leftover water bottles (or whatever tall plastic containers you have on hand), set them up in a long hallway, and use a ball of your choice. This will keep the tots entertained for a while and since the bowling set is lightweight, it’s a safe activity to do indoors.
Play Dress Up. Get out all the old Halloween costumes and throw a dress up party or fashion show. Dim the lights, take photos, and even have an award ceremony with treat awards after.
Spread Some Love. Do your relatives live far away? Have the kids write letters or draw pictures to their grandma, aunt, cousin, and friends just because! Or call a nearby retirement center and ask if your kids can make some cards and crafts for the residents.
This post is brought to you by Mother + Annie’s Homegrown