The cold and flu season is upon us, and, with a global pandemic, parents might be keeping their kids home from school more than usual. If you live in an area where it snows, schools might be canceled if there’s a big storm. Staying inside in the winter months can be cozy, but it can drag on for the kids. Thankfully, there are options beyond video games and tablets for hours on end! So, what can you do indoors in the winter? Let’s take a look!
Technology isn’t all bad, and if your kids are sick (or it’s freezing outside) cuddling up with some hot cocoa and a movie is a great game plan. A little bit of time spent on an app isn’t bad either, especially if the apps your kids have access to help them learn and develop their talents! The Discover Plan with Troomi provides some great options through our KidSmart Apps!
While it’s OK to have some days where we just relax in front of a screen, it’s important to have some other ideas! It can be easy to fall back on technology to entertain us, but there are lots of options without it. Let’s go over some ideas for different situations, such as snow days, sick days, and your kid’s age range, and whether or not you’re home from work with them.
Happy, Healthy, and Stuck at Home
What do students do on a snow day? If snow has canceled school, but you can’t get the day off work, here are some things your kids can do by themselves!
- Play outside. Kids old enough to be home alone are also capable of taking care of themselves to a certain degree. They can safely play outside or build a snowman with the neighborhood kids!
- Read. Some kids have a natural love of reading. You can encourage them to try some fun reading ideas, like setting up a fort in the living room and staying in their pjs!
- Board games. Board games have gotten a bad wrap as being bored games, but the classics might be new to your kids! Pull out Clue and let the kids play Sherlock.
- Skits. And speaking of playing Sherlock, if you’re raising a little ham, ask them to come up with a skit during the day and be ready to perform it after dinner!
If you’re home with all the kids on a snow day, it can be overwhelming. We could all use some fun and stress free snow day activities! These ideas can take more adult supervision, so these will keep you entertained and spending some time with the family. Snow day activities for kids don’t have to be all inclusive either, so pick what works for your family that day.
- Baking. Get the kids involved in the kitchen and make some cookies or a cake for dessert.
- Get crafty. Doing some arts and crafts with things you already have lying around the house can get their creative juices flowing! Try some seasonal crafts like these!
- Chore Party. When you’re home from work, you’ll start noticing all the stuff that you wanted to clean last weekend. Get the kids to help by making it fun! Play some music, set timers to see who can get done the fastest, or even add fun rules like hopping on one foot every time someone says they’re done.
- Stations. Just need to keep the kids fed and happy while you get some Mom time? Set up stations around the house with timers. Station 1 is reading or playing in their rooms until the timer goes off and they move to Station 2 which is TV time downstairs, then Station 3 playing with friends outside, Station 4 is homework at the kitchen table, etc.
Snow Day Activities for Toddlers
When the weather turns wet and cold outside, some parents hesitate to send their kids out to play. But did you know encouraging your little ones to bundle up and face the cold can be good for them? It can teach kids to not let an obstacle stop them and that they can use their resources (coat and mittens) to still get something done (have fun outdoors).
If it’s just too cold and your littles need to be inside all day, help them release their energy in a more contained and safe area. Try taking the cushions off the couch or stacking their bedding on the living room floor and letting them pretend it’s a pile of leaves to jump into. My aunt used to get in her exercise by including her toddler and telling her she was doing tricks. Pretty soon her little girl was demonstrating her new “tricks” of burpees and lunges to the whole family! Get in your cardio and tucker out your toddler before nap time by teaching them some of your favorite workout moves.
What activities does the snow provide?
If there’s enough snow to cancel school, there’s probably enough to build a snowman, too. If the road conditions clear up later in the day, going sledding at a park can be a fun way to get out of the house. But even in your own yard, playing in the snow can be fun! Snow angels and snowball fights are classic, but here are a few new ones:
- Snow Cream. Yes, ice cream made from snow is a real thing, and I want to try some right now. As long as it’s freshly fallen, it’s safe to eat.
- Frozen furniture. One year a friend and I sculpted mounds of snow into little sofas and side tables. It was a blast and we played house on them until they finally melted.
- Snowy beaches. Give your kiddos a shovel and bucket just like on the beach and let them dig in the snow the same way they would in the sand! Build a snow castle and fill it with snow furniture.
When your kids aren’t feeling well, running outside to build a snowman is likely not a great idea, so what can your kid do (aside from eating chicken noodle soup and napping)?
- Movies. This is one time it may be OK to let your kid have a Harry Potter-thon, but you can also put on a documentary or a biopic of someone they find interesting in history.
- Art. I remember making DIY decorations when I was home sick. Have them color some Jack-O-Lanterns if it’s Halloweentime, turkeys for Thanksgiving, or some Santa Claus faces to put in their window for Christmas.
- Self care. You can help your child learn to take care of themselves when their bodies need rest. Have them take a bath or shower and then put on lotion and their favorite pair of socks.
Here at Troomi, we’re optimistic. A challenge, like an unexpected day home from school, doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. Your kids have so much potential to be creative, keep learning and growing, and show more responsibility when they have to be home from school. We hope these ideas are helpful (and that you don’t have to use them too often)!