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If you’re like me and my kids, you’ve probably had enough of cutting snowflakes out of paper and colouring in holiday pictures. But since winter can be long, cold, and boring with lots of days spent indoors, getting creative with crafts and winter activities can pay off with happy, busy kids. And we all know that this translates into happy moms.
Winter activities to do with the kids
We have all seen and admired pretty glass snow globes with all those lovely flakes falling down inside the dome. But most parents have also cringed any time the kids pick one up because snow globes are very delicate. If the snow globe breaks, the mess can be endless. So help your kids make their own (less breakable) snow globes at home. Clean out an empty baby food jar or a spice jar with a lid that is fairly small in size.
Remember to cover your work surface before you start filling the jar so that you don’t end up with a sticky, messy table as well! Then pour the jar almost half full with corn syrup and then fill the jar the rest of the way until about ¾ full with water. Stir the mixture with a spoon until the corn syrup is mostly dissolved and pour in glitter in various shapes and colours. Don’t worry, you can’t use it too much! Then use some hot glue – this is up to you, mom since hot glue can be a burn danger – to tighten the lid on the jar and let it dry. Once the lid is secure, shake away!
Winter Word Puzzle
For older kids who can read, create your own word puzzle at puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com. These puzzles are great because you can enter your own words to put in the puzzle, which means that you can make the puzzle as easy or as hard as you want. Use a winter theme using words and descriptions of winter and then print it out. You can make as many puzzles as you want and you can even teach older kids how to enter in their own words and make their own.
If you live somewhere cold, icicles may not be all that magical because they’re hanging right outside your windows. But if you live somewhere warm or simply want to make some icicles that aren’t all cold and pointy, you can make your own. Cut squares of cellophane into 10-inch by 3-inch pieces and then teach your kids to roll them, starting at the bottom right-hand corner. Keep rolling and then tape the top shut when the whole cellophane square has been rolled up. You can use a hole punch to make a hole at the top and then loop string through the hole and hang them up. No freezing or dangerous ice is needed!
Sometimes you just have to get the kids out of the house, cold weather or not. When this is the case and there’s a good layer of snow outside, bundle everyone up and head outdoors. Skip making the usual snowman and ask the kids to make different animals instead. They can work together or have a little competition to come up with the most creative animal. Try a bear, dog, or even a reindeer. (Hint: You can use fallen tree branches for antlers.)
The Olympics are always a big deal in my house and the kids love watching just about any sporting event, as long as it is officially an Olympics event. This inspired me to start my own Winter Olympics, with a little Summer Olympics sprinkled in as well, when the kids are restless and bored.
Tape paper plates to their shoes and let them skate on a hard floor, or just let them wear their socks if the plates aren’t slippery enough. We also do an indoor obstacle course with couch pillows, blocks, and boxes (hey, it’s not an Olympic sport, but it should be!) and do races. Older kids can pretend to do gymnastics or ski. Let them get active and creative and don’t forget to make your own medals!
Search for Animal Tracks
One treat that comes with snowy weather is the visibility of animal tracks through the snow. Animals ranging from rabbits and squirrels to deer leave tracks that can be easily spotted and followed.
Take your kids out on a nature hike in an area where a number of different animals inhabit. Keep an eye out for different tracks, and take photos of the tracks when you find them. Try to identify them at the scene, if you can—numerous guidebooks can assist you in this—or else confirm the type of track at home on the Internet. You can even create an animal track scrapbook to keep track of all the different tracks you locate over time.
Whether your kids play football at an organized or recreational level, playing football in the snow can create memories that will last a lifetime. This is especially true if the snow is soft and the winds are not howling. The snow on the ground creates a “carpet” for the young players. The falls are not hard, and the act of jumping to catch a football and then falling on the soft snow can be sheer joy.
Create art in the snow using food colouring, squirt bottles, birdseed, vegetables, and fruit. Start by filling up water bottles with different coloured water and cutting fruits and vegetables into various shapes and sizes. Take your supplies outside and create a picture in the snow. Make a self-portrait by lying in the snow to create a print of your body. Decorate your shape with fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Use the water to add colour and detail to your picture’s clothing and hair.
Above all, get creative and pick crafts and winter activities that appeal to your kids and the things they like. If all else fails, ask the kids to come up with some ideas as well – they may surprise you!