Making it Through the Winter: Fun Family Ideas

Christmas is over. New Year’s has past. What lies ahead are the blank pages of your calendar and the grey skies of winter. After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the transition to the quiet of January can be very disorienting for some families. How can we embrace the change, entertain our children and avoid cabin fever? Here are some great ideas to help you survive the winter months of parenting.

Get cultural

The winter months are a great time of year to take in the cultural opportunities in your community. Art museums, historical sites and galleries can be a fun way to broaden your family’s horizons. Even if you are not the “artsy” type, an art museum can be a fun family outing for everyone. You can create a family scavenger hunt by dividing the family into two teams with a list of items to find within the art on the walls (ex: a dog lying down, a woman crying, a yellow circle, etc.). Set a time limit and a meeting place and compare your lists when you are through.

Many historical sites have family-friendly winter activities such as re-enactments, hands-on events or demonstrations. Check out your state’s tourism website for up-to-date information and ideas.

Get cozy

You may think that surviving the winter with your kids means filling up all those empty squares on your calendar. Don’t make that mistake; busy is not better. Take what nature has handed you: the opportunity to hunker down in the warmth of your home together. In our family we love to make cookies, play board games and create our very own home made snow cones (fresh snow and juice). One year we set up a permanent area for doing puzzles. Keep in mind that all children need unstructured time to unwind, refuel and to develop their imaginations and creativity. Winter is a great time to do just that.

Get friendly

You may have taken shelter in your home, but don’t let that isolate you from your neighbors, family and friends. Schedule regular get-togethers like soup night, family game night or a star-lit snowball fight complete with bon fire and s’mores. You can even brush the snow off the grill and have a winter barbeque.

Get Spring Fever!

We love our vegetable garden. When the seed catalogs begin to arrive, we enjoy looking through them together, imagining and planning the new and interesting vegetables we could grow in the coming year. We make lists of favorites and plot out our raised beds. We check our supplies and get ready for seed starting. The kids love to help plant the seeds and watch their progress. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can start a small number of seeds indoors to transplant into containers on a deck or patio.

You don’t need to dread a long winter with the kids. Use it as a time to revitalize your relationship with some of these exciting and family-unifying activities.

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