Winter break might be over, but we’re still many weeks away from getting a break from winter. Here in the Midwest, we’re in the middle of yet another cold and icy January. My kids have gone to a whopping 2 full days of school since the middle of December!
Search Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of ideas for keeping the kids entertained through the winter. Those are all well and good, but we know that sometimes all those crafty, snuggly, educational ideas are just too much: too much effort, too much planning, too much forced family fun. Instead, we came up with a few ideas to enjoy those inevitable snow days and winter weekends The Risky Kid way. WARNING: some of our ideas our messy, some are unconventional, but ALL of them are fun!
Sure, you can jam-pack your winter days with outings and activities. You can try to keep to as normal a schedule as possible. We suggest the polar opposite (yes, I went there). Stay in bed as long as possible. And then stay in your pj’s as long as possible. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life in pants with elastic waistbands.” said no one ever. My friend Lisa tells her kids to leave them alone in the morning if the door is closed. When our kids were smaller and less prone to sleeping in, we’d offer a cash incentive to let us sleep in. Even if you have little ones, you can still catch a few minutes of extra zzz’s, just use my friend Kelly M.’s brilliant idea: charge up your phone, Kindle, iPad, etc. and leave it near your bed. When the kids toddle in let them play with them while you snooze a little longer. Best use of screen time ever!
Play With Your Food
The kids have probably spent more meals than they’d like over the holidays sitting nicely at the table in scratchy clothes. Reward them by letting them play with their food for once. Turkeys are on sale, too. I hear they make great bowling balls!
If, like us, the weather is a little less conducive to turkey bowling, play with your food inside. Blowing up marshmallows in the microwave is always a big hit. Grab a few plastic shower caps at the dollar or beauty store. They’re perfect for a cheese poof toss! It’s such a silly game, you’re guaranteed laughs. And if you only give the kids a few cheese poofs to toss at a time, you won’t have a mess on your hands, either.
Make a Mess
As much as it kills the neat freak in me, I’m giving my kids a holiday from being super tidy. Allow a few days for all the toys and holiday gifts to be spread around in all their glory. Don’t make your beds. Tear up the couch cushions. Build a fort. Sometimes the best and most imaginative projects take more than a day to come together.
If you feel better when the house is tidy, maybe you can concede a spot in the house where kids can get messy. Our dining room table only sees fancy dinners a few times a year. The rest of the time, I’m happy to throw a cloth over and let it be craft/project/messy play central.
Rule the Playground
Do the other parents at the playground get you down with all their rules and micromanaging? Now is the perfect time to visit a playground and have your run of the entire place. The kids can run, scream like banshees, and go up the slide to their hearts’ content. Even the most boring of playgrounds turns into something magical when it’s covered in snow or ice.
After I read The Art of Roughhousing I realized how much kids need rough and tumble play. It’s especially important in the winter, when they aren’t able to burn off steam outside. Pillow fights are easy, and we’ve had tons of fun launching little bodies onto the couch. Now, I’m not crazy with letting kids have full run of the house, and I don’t want my lamps getting broken any more than you do. Instead of banning rough play, consider leaving a room or a space in your house where that kind of play is okay. For us it’s the basement, but perhaps you have a rec room or a spare bedroom that would work. Whenever the kids start to get stir-crazy with their Nerf wars or ninja moves, I don’t have to say no. Instead I can just redirect them to a safe area to play rough.
How do you keep the kids moving and having fun on snow days and winter weekends?