When winter weather is getting you down, consider these fun activities to keep your spirits up. As you will see from the pictures, these activities bring genuine engagement, concentration and great joy!
1. Make a snowman inside! If you can bundle the kids up and get some fresh air, while making a snowman outside, that’s always best. But if it’s 10 degrees below zero, then making an indoor snowman can be a great alternative. We like to use pony beads for eyes and buttons, and pipe cleaners for arms and legs. We have a small hat that is used each time we make indoor snowmen, but you could easily use any doll hat. Lastly, we always make the snowman on a shoe mat that has edges to catch melting snow drops. My son still enjoys this activity as a 4-year-old, and he started enjoying it when he was 2-years-old.
2. Make Play Dough
My absolute favorite play dough recipe is “Recipe #1” from We Love Being Moms. It is a recipe I’ve made about a dozen times and every time the play dough lasts about 6 months before showing an ounce of dryness. It’s also fun to have the kids involved in this project because they can help measure and stir the ingredients before it cooks. Then I have them help me with food coloring in various portions of the play dough batch, so we end up with 2-3 great colors. Plastic gloves are a must for mixing the food coloring into the dough. The chance to mix color into warm dough helps warm up the kids and gives them great ownership of the play dough.
3. Involve Your Child in Cleaning or Cooking!
I am always amazed by how much children LOVE to be helpful. Maria Montessori based the entire practical life avenue of materials on children’s innate desire to be part of the practical living in their homes and classrooms. They want to be helpful and have a strong drive to master their movements. Rudolph Driekers explains that children desire to feel a sense of significance and belonging. The best way to feed a sense of real significance and belonging is to feel useful and helpful in the family. Children who never contribute can become entitled and feel a lack of purpose. When a child has a meaningful contribution to the family, you will likely see his chest puff out with pride. My son has loved to help in the kitchen with a water spray mopper since he was about 2 years old. He can easily hold the mop, due to its light weight, and it’s fun for him to see the water/cleaning solution spray out when he pushes a button.
When it comes to cooking, my son has enjoyed helping since he was 1 1/2 years old. Above, he is peeling potatoes at age 4. Who doesn’t want to help dad? This is a wonderful way for him to help make dinner and participate in meaningful activities with the family. Other great ways to involve kids in cooking can be found at JustaStayAtHomeMom. Enjoy!