When the pandemic struck, many of us found ways to adapt to a new normal. We embraced the outdoors, socializing with friends in the park, taking our families hiking or holding physically distanced BBQs in the backyard. But as the winter months close in, lots of us are feeling anxious about how we’re going to keep kids active and entertained. It’s time to get creative with indoor and outdoor activities—and here are a few of our favorite ideas:
Go on a virtual field trip
While traveling is difficult right now, there are plenty of wonderful places you can visit from the comfort of your home on a virtual tour. Check out the Egyptian Antiquities exhibit at the Louvre, or the Koala Cam at the San Diego Zoo. Here’s a list of more virtual tours from Good Housekeeping.
Build a snow family
Up the ante this year, and instead of building a single snowman, build a family portrait in snow. See how accurate you can get with faces, hair, accessories and clothes. If you don’t have winter wear to spare, dress the snow family in summer garb. You can include grandparents, best friends and pets too! To make things extra adorable, snap a picture of everyone next to their snow doppelgänger.
Construct a blanket fort
A tried and true activity for a chilly day; round up your spare blankets and pillows to create a cozy oasis in your home. If you want to go to the next level, add stuffed animals, twinkle lights, books and even a breakfast tray for eating snacks. Here’s a simple how-to for blanket fort inspiration.
Host an outdoor scavenger hunt
Create a list of items for your kids to find in your yard, at the park or any other outdoor setting. Be specific with items like pine cones, stones, icicles or feathers. You can add sensations for them to check off too, like “touch tree bark,” “see a dog,” or “hear birds chirping.” This activity gets kids exploring the outdoors, and using their senses.
Make greeting cards
Get creative and have kids draw and write greeting cards for family or friends. If you have friends with children who live across the world, now is a great time to make a new pen pal. For card inspiration, check out the HowtoToon with Joe Wos for a daily follow-along cartooning lesson.
Throw an indoor beach party
So your trip south this year has been canceled… no problem! Turn the heat up, pull out your summer clothes and have a beach party. Decorate with tropical flowers, play summer jams and sip some sweet slushy drinks. It’s a great way to “escape” for an afternoon!
Learn a new language
Encourage your kids to learn a language that’s important to your family, or sparks interest in a place they’d like to travel. Learning even a few words in a new language can be a fun activity. Apps like Gus on the Go for younger kids and Duolingo for teens gamify language learning, making it interactive and fun.
Welcome birds in the backyard
Winter is an excellent time to keep an eye out for urban wildlife. Looking for tracks or feather marks on the snow can be a great way to see which critters are visiting your yard. Get a simple bird identification book from the library, or download an app like the Audubon Bird Guide. Then make your own bird feeders to hang on a tree or balcony, and encourage kids to track or draw the visitors they see.
With a little bit of planning ahead, this winter can still be an active, educational and exciting time for your kids. Now is the time to get prepared for chillier days ahead: put together a new bin of craft supplies, replace any winter gear that your kids may have outgrown and invest in some gadgets to help you stay connected with far-away loved ones. The cold comes with its challenges, but it doesn’t need to stop you and your family from having a fun, memorable winter season.
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