Snowman building and sledding sound like ideal winter activities, except for one problem: It’s cold outside! When temperatures start dropping into single and negative digits, your kids may end up running back inside with frozen toes faster than it took you to bundle them up in boots and gloves. For moments like these, it doesn’t hurt to have an arsenal of indoor winter activities to keep the little ones entertained. Here are a few ideas:
1 . Camp indoors. Build a blanket fort — or igloo, if your building material of choice is pillows. When it’s finished, use it as a place to play card games or read books together. Finish the cozy afternoon with s’mores or hot chocolate.
2. Make a new recipe. Give the kids a chance to help in the kitchen by letting them choose and help make a recipe. Pull out your cookbooks, or try this simple three-ingredient snow ice cream: just combine 8 cups of fresh snow, one can of sweetened condensed milk and one tablespoon of vanilla. Top it with cool whip, sprinkles or berries for a yummy winter treat.
3. Make a winter craft. Make classic snowflakes out of construction paper, or make a snow globe using a mason jar, liquid glycerine, figurines and glitter. You could also draw pictures of snowmen and snowflakes with white crayons, then paint over them with blue watercolor for simple winter artwork.
4. Visit the library. Check out new books and movies, or attend a free storytime or craft event. Check with your local library or look at the Southeast Idaho Family Magazine events calendar to see what events are coming up.
5. Host a tea party or fancy lunch. Put flowers and a tablecloth on the table. Give your kids — and a few of their friends, if you like — invitations to a tea party one afternoon. Invite them to dress nicely. Serve hot chocolate or apple cider in a tea pot, put fancy toothpicks in your sandwiches and have pastries for dessert. Use the party as an excuse to teach manners.
6. Visit a museum or tourist attraction. Most people visit museums and tourist attractions in the summer. Why not avoid the crowds and visit them during the winter? Choose a museum or attraction in your hometown and take a day trip.
7. Make musical instruments. Use household items — rubber bands, toilet paper rolls, oatmeal containers, tin cans, etc. — to craft your own musical instruments. All you really need is a guitarist, a drummer and a singer to form a band, and you’ll be jamming Beatles (or One Direction) covers before you know it.
8. Do a home improvement project. If you’re feeling brave, start a home improvement project. Install hardwood floors, paint a bedroom or hang curtains and enlist the kids to help. They’ll be grateful one day that they learned these skills from you, and in the meantime, you’ll enjoy some good bonding time over a project that will benefit your family.
9. Have a dance party. Being stuck inside all day can make kids antsy. Get the wiggles out by having a dance party! Turn up some Disney music or catchy kids tunes, or play some music on the piano or guitar if you have the skills. Young kids in particular will love having some high-energy time with the adults.
10. Have an indoor snowball fight. Roll up socks or use giant pom-poms as snowballs. Encourage the kids to make barrier forts with pillows and blankets. Snowball fights are still possible — and maybe just as fun — without the cold, icy snow!