Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Talk: 10 Ideas for a Wonderful Winter with Kids

It's easy for me to become a homebody when winter rolls around.

I love the cold weather, but it can be exhausting to bundle up myself and my toddler in order to get out and go.  I've found that my daughter and I are the happiest when we've got a mix of fun things to do at home and plans that get us out and about.  So we run errands, have appointments and make sure to schedule some kid friendly, fun activities into our weeks.  It's harder to do in the winter time because the weather seems to change so much, but we've figured out 10 ways to ensure that we make time for fun.

10 Fun Ideas for the Winter Months

1. Embrace the weather.
If it's snowing, play out in the snow.  If it's cold, bundle up and go for a stroller ride.  If the weather is terrible, take advantage of all the fun things you have to do inside at your house.  In Indiana the weather seems to change so much each week that we just try to be flexible in making our plans.  We had temps in the 60s last weekend so we grilled, played in the backyard and side walk chalked.  Now we've got some rain and snow in the forecast for later this week.  We'll probably splash in some puddles and play in the snow when it arrives.

2. Plan play dates with friends.
Rotate houses, rotate who brings snacks and get together regularly to break up the days.  It's fun to have a schedule for play dates and I usually try to plan on having at least one each week.  The play dates I plan usually involve me texting some friends, tidying up the house a bit and then just letting the kids play with the toys we have out.  Nothing fancy, no planned activities, just time for the kids to play with their friends and the adults to visit with one another.  I think it would be fun to have a theme - playdoh, holidays, legos, art, etc - so that might be something for me to try next month.

3. Take advantage of the FREE programs in your community.
Our library has a few story times every week, a music class once a month and the art museum does kid friendly art classes once a week.  All of these are free and so much fun.  I pencil them all into our calendar for the week and just attend the ones that end up working best for our schedule.  Look for mom groups and local websites to advertise the free events going on in your community.

4. Eat at local spots.
Try new food spots or plan to meet friends at local spots.  We got donuts with friends and then headed to the library a few weeks ago.  It was a delicious date that we all enjoyed.  This is a fun one when you're learning to love a new city or if you're trying to find new favorite spots around town.  We keep a running list of places we'd like to try or places that people recommend to us.

5. Family Passes.
Check out the options for family passes at your local Children's Museum or Zoo.  We've heard great things about our Children's Museum and it's definitely more affordable to buy a family pass than to pay each visit.  So I'm hoping we can add this to our list of fun options in the near future.

6. Free Animal Sightings.
Our Petco is always stocked with animals, our grocery stores have fish tanks and Rural King has a fresh supply of all of their Spring animals.  These are all free options and my toddler LOVES strolling through these stores to check out the animals.  We always visit the fish tanks and the lobster tanks when we get groceries and then try to work in some other animal sightings.

7. Lunch Dates.
We try to plan a couple of lunch dates a month and will often swing by my husband's office to pick him up for lunch.  Nothing super fancy, but something quick and easy to get us all out of our normal routine.  We usually end up at Jimmy Johns because it's easy and always a crowd pleaser.  My toddler is really into having picnics lately so even just putting a blanket on the floor and eating your usual food picnic style is wildly entertaining to kiddos.

8. Arts & Crafts.
Pinterest is chocked full of winter activities - painting in the snow, collect snow to bring inside and play with in a large container, snowman building, etc.  Or you can go the easier route and pull out crayons, give your kids cardboard boxes to decorate or do some finger painting.  We also do stickers, stamps, markers, etc that I just pull out and give our daughter blank paper to create with.  No specific project in mind, just some free time with fun art supplies.  I save our diaper boxes and my toddler calls them rocket ships.  She will sit in those silly boxes for hours decorating it, using her imagination and loving it.  We also try to do holiday arts and crafts activities where we make cards to send to family and friends or where we make decorations to hang up around the house.  She's always so proud to have her art on display.  Playdoh is always a fun option and it isn't really that messy once you set up some ground rules (must play with it at the table, no throwing, no eating :) and a set amount of time to play).

9. Bake together.
Practice counting, measuring and trying new recipes with your kiddos.  You can work on snacks, baked goods or meal prep with them.  Almost any recipe can be modified for tiny helpers and then it's so fun to share your goodies with neighbors or friends.

10. Scope out your local indoor options for kids and GO!
Our city has a great bounce house that opens for a discount during the week, an indoor pool option, play place at Chick-Fil-A, Children's Museum, Art Museum, indoor sports fields and more.  Since we're new to the area I ask around and try to find out the toddler friendly options for us to try out.  Ask the moms in your area to share their favorite indoor spots with you.  We went to a college basketball game this past weekend and had a great time as a family.

What fun things do you do with your kids in the winter??

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  1. I have a daughter the same age. She loves playing with Pay doh. Thank you for such a great post full of fun ideas for a toddler. Your daughter is super adorable in her winter outfit. Love that floral coat of hers.

  2. Great ideas Whitney! I am especially fond of baking together!

  3. Great ideas Whitney! I am especially fond of baking together!

  4. It is hard to be home during the day with a toddler when its cold and yucky outside! Great ideas!

  5. Mac and I totally have a zoo membership, haha.

  6. These are such great ideas. Now that I'm feeling well enough to get out for longer stretches, I need to do some of these with both girls. Olivia has some energy that needs to be burned off.


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