Beat the winter blues with these ideas to keep your kids busy while stuck indoors.
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Make a “Boredom Bucket” A Boredom Bucket is a fun craft with the goal of keeping the boredom blues away. It’s part craft, part strategy, as the first step is to gather a bunch of popsicle sticks and write on them, paint, and decorate them. Each popsicle stick should have a different boredom buster written on it in Sharpie. Examples include: do a puzzle; break out the flash cards; 1-hour computer time; makeup party; sensory play; etc. Add in a few treats to incentivize participation like trips to the candy dish. That way, when it looks like kids are about to whip out the “I’m boooooored,” you simply direct them to the Boredom Bucket!
Make no-bake whipped cream snowflakes Now that it’s colder outside, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch with some hot cocoa. Though kids love hot cocoa, even a cup of the chocolate stuff a day might start to get monotonous, so spice it up with a creamy twist on the fan-favorite beverage. All you need is some Cool Whip, a pan lined with tinfoil, and holiday-themed cookie cutters. According to this recipe from NoBiggie.net, simply spread the Cool Whip over the tin-foiled pan and freeze for at least an hour. Once the whipped cream reaches a somewhat-congealed consistency, use the cookie cutters to cut out fun, winter-themed shapes. Then, pluck the whipped cream snowflake (or whatever cookie cutter shape it is!) into your hot cocoa.
DIY winter-themed glitter jars Glitter jars have become more and more popular since the coronavirus pandemic hit. For several different reasons, of course, with coronavirus-related anxiety on the rise amongst kids as one of them. The point of the glitter jar is to fill any kind of jar with water and glitter and when kids feel upset, angry, or anxious, they take a few minutes to relax by watching all the glitter inside the jar settle down after shaking it up. To make a winter-themed glitter jar, use different colors of glitter—dark blue, light blue, silver, and white to represent snow and ice—and if you want, you can even throw some fun novelty items in there. Little penguins, snowflake erasers, maybe even a rubber Olaf!
DIY glue icicles Don’t worry—these icicles are totally harm-free. After all, they’re made of glue! Choose the colored construction paper of your choice for the background, then help your preschooler practice making a straight line of glue horizontally across the top of the page. (You can even draw a straight line in pencil, using a ruler, to help hone your child’s tracing skills.) Once the straight line of glue is done, have your child stand the paper upright and watch the magical icicles form. The glue will drip, creating the illusion of icicles. Once the glue is totally dry, encourage kids to back with crayons, glitter, markers, and stickers to finish out the winter scene.
Try your hand at monkey bread Monkey bread had a moment earlier in the year when everyone was stuck at home for the first wave of the pandemic. But now that it’s wintertime, you and your whole family can try your hands at monkey bread again, only with a winter-esque twist: Snowflake Monkey Bread! We’re specifically loving this pull-apart recipe from the blog Half-Baked Harvest.
Play BINGO The best part of BINGO is that it can be played indoors or virtually! If you want to play BINGO with friends and family members outside of your inner home-circle, log onto Zoom and download a few DIY BINGO boards from Pinterest or buy them from Etsy.
Tell the future with Frozen characters Remember these fortune tellers from your middle school days? Well, pop a few of the characters from Frozen on there and kids nowadays love them, too! This idea comes from Disney.com itself, so all you have to do to play is print it out then fold along the lines. Download the Frozen fortune teller here.
Make macaroni snowflakes It’s not hard to do. Just simply hot-glue a bunch of macaronis together in the shape of a snowflake! Pure boredom-busting genius!
DIY Snow Window for Sensory Play If you have a toddler, sensory play is big for them right now, but it’s totally understandable if you’re running out of ideas. Transform any window in your house into a Snow Window to aid in your child’s sensory play. In the tutorial from No Time for Flash Cards, they use everyday household items like Q-tips and cotton balls to make DIY snowflakes, snowballs, and snow. To make sure your window isn’t totally ruined by this sensory play game, make sure to apply contact paper to the window first.
Make snowflake pizza Host a regular ole’ pizza night at home but make sure to get creative when adding the cheese. As in, have your kids make snowflake shapes out of the shredded cheese and shake a bit of grated parmesan cheese on there, too for an even snowier appearance.
Make a life-size gingerbread man Have each kid lay down on top of a giant roll of brown craft paper and trace their outline. Then, let them go to town decorating themselves as a giant gingerbread boy (or girl!) with stickers, markers, and whatever else.
Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground The rules are easy enough. Blow up a few balloons and challenge kids to keep them up in the air. All the jumping around will keep them warm and after a few minutes, burn them out.
Challenge kids with the Cotton Ball Crawl An awesome boredom-busting idea from Parenting.com, simply dump a pile of cotton balls on the floor in one room. Give kids a spoon and challenge them to remove each cotton ball one at a time, creating a pile in a different room. If they drop the cotton ball, they have to start over!
Build rainbow ice towers It looks like magic, but really it’s just science.
Create an ice rink for the toys Toys should be allowed to ice skate, too! Just fill a small tray with water, freeze it, then kids can play with their ice skating toys.