by Lempi Koivisto
It's cold outside and it gets dark so early in the Winter.
If you didn't know better, you'd swear a case of cabin fever fell directly on your household!
Add in the mix that the big kids -- an their distraction factor -- are back in school.
What's a parent to do?
Whether the weather's keeping you indoors or it's luring you out, we have activities to engage your kid and your inner child!
Pull out a favorite and adapt it for winter. Five little bears sitting on the bed becomes five little snowmen playing in the yard. They can be round (make a ball with your hands), have hats (point to your head) and melt (wilt to the floor).
Pass out a straw and a cotton ball for each participant. See who can blow his "snowball" off the table first. Just a warning, expect this activity to explode. Soon cotton balls and giggles will be floating through the air!
You didn't want to iron today anyway, right? So use it as a ramp for your kid's cars. Put one end on a box or the couch and you've got instant entertainment. Encourage an older child to see how much farther a car goes with a steeper ramp. Swing by the kitchen when the drivers need a nourishing pit stop.
Bury toys or snack in the snow and send your child out to find them. Include a map for older kids. Leave parts exposed or a flag marking the place for a preschooler. Once you've "found" everything, top off the activity with that snack and a cup of hot chocolate -- either in the kitchen or straight from the thermos.
Add a new twist to the typical winter nature hike. Dress up in your warm winter clothes and pretend to be explorers. Bring along a pair of binoculars. Don't have a set? No problem! Tape together empty two toilet paper tubes. Add a stick to help you trudge through those deep snow or leaf drifts. Discover the back yard or venture even further.
Little kids find lifting those packed snow bodies and heads (the ones that weigh as much or more than the child) into position a challenge. Try sculpting a creation from snow packed into buckets and other containers or go it free-hand. For added bling, offer a spray bottle of food coloring and water to "paint" it. Your child might decide to paint a picture in the snow. Great! Mix up a couple more colors and join right in.
What a busy day! Tuck the kids in for a long nap and enjoy some "me" time.
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