Guest post by Carrie Spencer, Spencers Adventures
When your kids are full of energy and the weather cooperates, going outdoors is the best way to burn it off. But when snow, rain, cold, or COVID-19 is keeping them indoors, you’ll have to come up with indoor activities that are just as effective. When planning indoor activities to help your kids make it through the winter months, consider some of these active and interactive ideas to help your whole family stave off boredom.
Get moving during transitions.
If your kids are used to closing their school laptops and running outside, the early sunsets and freezing temperatures might lead to sluggish afternoons. As an alternative, they can simply dash to the TV to do one of these high-energy exercise videos. Being active is a great way to end a workday and transition to home life, so parents should join them too.
The entire family can follow along with qualified yoga teachers who share free videos on YouTube, or your kids can learn to dance in your living room through an online class. You can even get your kids excited by making a dance-party playlist together.
Create an art gallery.
Your mini-Matisses will love the winter lull if you use that time to help them explore art. Look at different artists and genres online together and help your kids choose something to emulate. Keep them engaged with art through practice.
You can then set up an art gallery in your living room, hallway, or spare bedroom, and host opening night receptions for their new works of art. Ask them questions about art, both in general and about their own pieces. Talking about visual art is an easy and effective path to enhancing critical thinking.
Take advantage of gaming.
Studies at Stanford show that VR (virtual reality) technology has the ability to help kids develop empathy and reduce implicit racial bias. While it is important to closely monitor the time your kids spend gaming, VR games are some of the best ways to get kids active while playing. There are many fun and educational games available for kids of all ages, including Roblox, Starfall, and BrainPOP.
For parents working from home, keep in mind that some games do strain your internet speed, so be sure your home connection is able to handle everyone’s wants and needs. Also make sure that your tablet is up to the task. If your tablet is a few years old and having problems downloading and running games, check in with your wireless provider to see if they offer trade-in deals for new models.
Host story night.
Humans have told stories around campfires for countless centuries. Ask your kids to write — stories, poetry, memoirs, book or movie reviews, and anything else they are inspired to create. You can then host a reading in your dining room, complete with cups of hot cocoa, or sit in front of the fireplace swapping tales.
While the world may slow down a bit during the winter, your family can take advantage of the downtime to build deeper bonds with each other. The most important thing to remember is to plan activities that are interesting, exciting, and educational.