Ask the Mamas: Keeping Kids Occupied During the Winter

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Mama Say What?! reader Heather D. asks: “What are your favorite go-to winter activities?”

Well, where we live we get lots of snow. Now that C is almost two, I’m sure we’ll spend lots of time bundled up, playing out in the snow. However, for those crazy cold days when it’s best to stay in, lots of coloring and crafts will happen. ~Kathy C.

It’s gets plenty cold where we live, and we often have snow. We have a couple of parks that have great hills for sledding, but when it’s too cold to play outside we are pretty lucky that we have a handful of indoor playgrounds close to us. My son is a very active kid and he has a tendency to get cabin fever pretty easily, so we try to get out of the house as often as we can. One indoor playground has kiddie carnival rides and a big jungle gym where my son can play and ride. Thanks to a Groupon, he has a pass for all of 2014 that paid for itself with only three visits. Another place has a bunch of bounce houses and a giant jungle gym and is also relatively inexpensive. We have also gone to fast food restaurants that have indoor playgrounds. We try to go before or after the lunch crowd and just order a snack since it can get quite unhealthy and expensive to go a lot. Our local library often has free activities for preschoolers too. Since school is in session, there are fewer activities than during the summer, but we try to visit the library a couple of times each month. We often visit our local aquarium too. The yearly membership is a good deal if we go often and it’s a fun way to get out of the house and not be tempted to spend money like if we were visiting the mall or a restaurant.

Lastly, when we need to simply stay home we play a lot of hide and seek, he enjoys playing with Play Doh and we have fun building a “race track” out of cardboard and tape it to the top of the stairs so cars can race down. It’s noisy but a lot of fun. ~Alex T.

When we can we like to play outside in the snow. If not, we have a membership at a community-based family center where we can drop in and play that has loads of indoor activities for Anna to partake in. When we get snowed in we do lots of crafts and pretend play. ~Jessica S.

I do lots of crafts with my oldest. We do painting, coloring, stickers, and lots of Pinterest-inspired kid friendly crafts. She loves making ‘cards’ for people we know and sending them in the mail. We also do a lot of baking! She loves to cook and bake. ~Cassie W.

This is my first real winter having a little one (last year Elizabeth was a newborn, so our winter was spent breastfeeding and cuddling). This year I have a schedule of story time at the library twice a week and indoor open gym at a local gymnastic studio once a week.  Aside from outings and playdates, we will do our normal daily activities, such as reading, guided and independent play, snuggles, and going to the local park on mild days. ~Michelle W.

My 2-year old LOVES being outside, so obviously he goes a little crazy during these cold, wintry months. He is obsessed with hockey so any chance he gets, my husband will bundle him up and take him to the ice rink to practice on his hockey skates. It has been below zero this week, so we have resorted to playing hockey inside. He sets up his nets on our wood floor and pretends that is his ice. He will play hockey for hours and has me try to score on him! Other fun activities include painting, coloring, and drawing. We tried making play dough the other day - it didn’t turn out very well! Haha! But we always try to come up with a fun activity when they are home with me! We also have a heated garage which comes in handy when he is really stir-crazy. We just turn up the heat a bit and let him ride his little bike around the garage or play with his hockey sticks out there. When all else fails, we curl up and watch an episode of Dora, his favorite! ~Heidi C.

I really dread winter for this very reason! It’s so nice to be able to go out for a walk on a nice day or take a quick trip to the playground, but that’s not possible in New York in the winter. My little guy likes to move so the winter months can be challenging. We try to make the most of our toys in the house and rotate them around so he doesn’t get bored. His current favorites are his new train table, stickers (he prefers to put them on the couch and floor rather than paper), blocks, doll houses and books. We try to get him out once a weekend if possible to an indoor play gym for a change of scenery and some variety of toys. ~Mary Ellen M.

In the winter months it can be much harder to find things to keep the kids entertained. There are days here where it’s -40 and you just want to curl up in a ball. On days like that, we have a bunch of go to activities. Mainly we paint (that’s a huge one, definitely my daughters favorite), we craft, do Pinterest sensory activities, practice ABCs, play hide and seek, BAKE, and some days my daughter will even help me clean! There are days, too, where we pop some popcorn and curl up under a big blanket and watch a movie. It’s amazing how fast the days go, so even one activity in the morning and one in the afternoon will keep her entertained. This is all of course on top of playing with her regular toys!

The beauty of winter is sometimes you actually get a nice day where you can go outside! While they are few and far between, it’s important to us to take advantage to avoid going stir crazy. When we go outside we: build snowmen, go tobogganing, make snow angels, “paint” the snow with colored water (super easy: just put food coloring in water and put in different spray bottles and voila!), and build snow forts! My daughter loves to help me shovel the sidewalks and driveway as well.

We have a new little one that’s only 4 months old so we have to be conscious of the activities we are doing outdoors for her sake. But most of the time, I bundle her up and strap her to me in my Boba wrap or Ergo and we have a blast!! Winter is here about 7 of the 12 months where I live so we have become somewhat “experts” on keeping ourselves entertained. My oldest daughter lives for being outside, so with the proper gear we have just as much fun as we would in the summer! ~Sarah H.

One Response to Ask the Mamas: Keeping Kids Occupied During the Winter

  1. I have struggled with this so much! We got a membership to the local kids museum,which has helped a lot. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it.

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