The winter months can feel long and wearying, especially for those of us who live in colder climates. It can be difficult for children to be indoors day after day. As boredom sets in, we parents are often expected to provide ideas and entertainment. While we may feel that we have to come up with something different and amazing, simple and easy activities can be just as effective. We can combat winter boredom with some creativity and fun.
Your approach matters
The way we approach any activity influences the way our children see it as well. When we present something with a positive attitude, our kids will catch on to that. A cheerful attitude will get us far more mileage than a grumpy “go play.” Our good attitudes will encourage cooperation from our kids.
A willing attitude goes a long way as well. Often, we parents really don’t want a mess to deal with. But if we are willing to make a little mess, our kids will have more options for things to do. For example, I really do not enjoy Play-Doh. I don’t like the smell, the feel, or all the tiny crumbs left at the end of Play-Doh time. However, each time I say, “Yes!” to Play-Doh, my kids play with it happily for over an hour. Then I have them sweep up the mess the best they can. Whatever mess I have to clean up really is minimal, even though it’s enormous in my mind. So I’ve learned to be OK with the mess. It’s really not that bad.
So let’s be positive and willing to have a little mess as we seek to combat winter boredom.
Help your kids be interested
No matter what we’re offering for an activity, sometimes our kids don’t want it simply because we’re telling them to do it. Again, our positive attitudes could influence this response, but there are other ways we can handle it.
One of the best ways to get kids interested in an activity is to just leave it out. If we want our kids to read certain books, we can leave them out on the coffee table without saying a word. In the same way, we can set out some paper, some watercolor paints, a brush, and a cup of water. Don’t say a word about it. It’s very likely that when your little one sees the painting supplies, you will hear, “Can I do this?”
Another way we can engage our kids is to participate ourselves. Of course, this is not always possible, but if you end up with time to paint, or to do any other activity alongside your children, go for it! Or you could start the activity on your own, and you would attract participation from your kids.
Ideas for simple fun
Again, there’s no requirement to come up with something new and amazing to combat winter boredom. There are some good old standbys that are great for creativity and fun. If you look at the Creativity section in the Signing Time Dictionary, you’ll see a great list of ideas! We also have a large section in our Resources for ideas for crafts. We call them Hand-y crafts, because they are!
Drawing and Painting
We looked at this a little already, but art supplies of any kind are almost always a hit. Set out some paper and pretty colors, and let your kids go to town. And you can use the signs for draw, paint, colors, paper, pen, and pencil. Check out our coloring pages, also in our Resource section.
Take this a step further by drawing or painting cards to send to relatives, neighbors, friends, people in the hospital, or military personnel.
Cutting and Gluing
Cutting is an important motor skill to develop, and little ones like to get their hands on the scissors. You can print out shapes for them to cut, or you could let them cut in any way they’d like. Of course, if your child is very young, scissoring activities will need more supervision.
You can also add gluing to cutting. Kids can layer the shapes they cut to make a pretty design, or use small pieces to make a mosaic type of picture. They can use different shapes to make a totally new picture on a larger sheet of paper. Challenge your kids to use their cut shapes and pieces to make something new.
You can blow up one balloon, and your kids might bounce it around for the rest of the day. Add to the fun with multiple balloons. Or you could pick up some helium-filled balloons and provide a fun surprise for your kids. They love balloons, and they won’t even know that you’re trying to keep them occupied. What a way to combat winter boredom.
Music and Dancing
Kids love music, both listening to it and making it. If your kids have some toy instruments, let them “play” along with the music that you’re playing. They could also use random household items to make music. You may need a far away room or an extra dose of patience or even some ear plugs if you let your kids bang on the pots and pans, but they will have a ton of fun.
My Signing Time offers programming that is full of fun and educational music for kids. Whatever music you play, enjoy it along with your kids. Often, kids will jump up and start dancing when music is playing. And as always, they’ll have even more fun if you have a chance to dance along with them.
Kids can build with blocks, Legos, Play-do, race tracks, train tracks, science kits, and so much more! Whatever building items you have at your house, let your kids use their imaginations and build something new. We have several building sets at our house, and my kids sometimes forget all about them. Just the other day, I reminded my son that he could build something with his Legos. He said, “Oh, yeah! I totally forgot about my Legos.” He then stayed busy for two hours!
While these are all very basic activities, we can often forget about their effectiveness, simplicity, and fun. They can still be useful in helping our kids fill their winter days.