Ten Winter Activities for the Family

Courtesy of Invest in Kids snowflake

On a frosty winter day, it can be really enticing to wrap your body in your favourite blanket and your hands around a hot, steaming cup of something that warms you from the inside out. That may be the ideal. But the reality might be that your little one is clamoring for your attention, looking to you to break up the monotony of a characteristically gloomy, wintry day. Here are some fun ideas for the whole family from the parenting and child development experts at Invest in Kids.

  1. Explore festive recipes from various cultures.  If you usually drink hot chocolate, try West Indian cocoa tea for a new experience.  Bake different cookies such as rugelach, benne cakes or biscochitos.   Trying new foods lets you talk about where recipes come from and what different foods add to family celebrations.
  2. Read Jan Brett’s The Mitten. It has a repetitive story line that will make it easy for your child to role play the book independently and read it to you.  Providing props that encourage her to dramatize the book is an excellent way to build her language and reading skills.
  3. Bundle up and play outside!  Go sledding, build an igloo or lie down and make snow angels.  If you make a snow person, decorate it with treats that birds and small animals will enjoy.  Is there a park or nature trail nearby?  Go for a walk and look in wonder at how beautiful the snow looks as it blankets the ground.
  4. Take some time to discover different ways to catch snowflakes.  Can you catch them on your tongue or in your hands?  Older children may enjoy freezing a piece of black construction paper and catching snowflakes on it.  The dark paper makes it easier to look closely at each different snowflake.
  5. Enjoy simple arts and crafts activities together.  Try making paper chains, decorating doilies with glue and glitter, shaping playdough treats with rollers and cookie cutters, ice cube painting or collaging a greeting card for someone special.  Your child will develop important skills while playing creatively.
  6. Make time to attend special events going on in your community.  Enjoy the excitement of a parade. Attend a concert. Visit a historic home decorated for the holiday season.  Is a local recreation centre holding a craft or bake sale?  These are simple ways to connect with others and share in all your neighbourhood has to offer.
  7. Rent or borrow a few movies the family can enjoy together.   Share some favourites that you watched when you were a child. Taking time to make popcorn, snuggle up under a blanket (finally!) and relax will be a treat for everyone.
  8. Play simple games like Lotto, Bingo, Snakes and Ladders or I Spy.  Your child will love spending time with you, and enjoy your special attention.  Sometimes the best gift is quality time spent together.
  9. Use your imagination and go skating indoors.  All you need is a clear carpeted area to move around in and two paper plates to step on.  Skating on paper plates is a fun way to enjoy moving to music and pretending to slide and twirl on an ice rink.
  10. Create story characters from magazine pictures and make up and tell stories together. Pictures of people and animals can easily be mounted on cardboard and laminated to become play props that will help your child to build important language skills.

Comfort: Whether you read, cook, dress up or watch a video together, the special time you share shows your child how much you value her and enjoy her company.

Play:  Dramatic play, creative movement and action rhymes provide fun ways for your child to express his understanding of the world in ways that are imaginative and fun.

Teach:  Hands-on experiences with ice, snow and cooking ingredients will encourage your child to ask questions, make observations and learn about her world.

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