Well, it’s STILL winter in New England and we’re STILL living the COVID life. It’s cold, and cabin fever is rearing its wild head in the form of wailing children, tears, and temper tantrums. Sure, spring is around the corner, but the rainy days ahead mean more time indoors! But worry no more with this shortlist of activities to distract the kiddos from the dog days of winter (and spring, and COVID life in general).
This is my new favorite for the kids! The boxes offer new and exciting activities to look forward to each month, making the cold winter days a bit more forgiving. They are also great for getting one-on-one bonding time with each child around something they love. We currently have five subscriptions going on (we have five kids). Each one was chosen to match the interest of one of my children, making it more exciting to receive and dive into. We currently subscribe to Raddish Kids, a cooking kit; Think Outside, an outdoor survival guide box; Literati, a book club subscription; Lovevery, a Montessori-inspired play kit filled with developmentally age-appropriate toys; and Let’s Make Art, a kid’s creative art project box. All my kids look forward to the next arrival of their personal boxes!
This impulse purchase was a pleasant surprise! For our homeschooling, we were studying dinosaurs and I came across a realistic digging activity called Dig It Up! for ages 8+. It is awesome! The bones of a model-sized T-Rex were buried in plaster, and my son had to use tools similar to what a paleontologist would use to dig them out. After he found them all, he assembled them into a model T-Rex skeleton. My son worked straight for three hours. It was another two or three hours until it was completed. He has since asked for other sets like it! A big winner.
Color sorting with envelopes
For the toddlers, tape different colored construction paper to the outside of six envelopes and then attach them to the wall at varying heights. Cut a bunch of small squares out of the six colors. Have your toddler take the squares and match them to the correct envelopes, open the envelopes, and tuck the squares into the envelopes. This was great for my active 3-year-old who is working on her fine motor skills, focus and attention, and color matching. There are many ways this can be adapted to meet the learning needs of various ages and topics.
These are perfect for the toddler age. They are triangle-shaped climbing structures with an attachable board that can act as a ladder, climber, or slide. They can be more elaborate or very basic. We gifted a local handcrafted one from Speckled Newt out of Norwood for my daughter’s first birthday. All five kids thought it was awesome. The weight limit is 95 pounds, which allows my 8-year-old to perch at the top when he is seeking a different sensory vibe.
This is a free and fun interactive site that promotes movement, kid-friendly entertainment, and active learning opportunities. My kids love dancing and learning fun routines to popular songs. So do I!
My kids also enjoy watching videos on BrainPop (not free) about subjects they are interested in. My son has been caught watching videos on ancient civilizations, historic battles, and American History. I like to give them the goal of earning a badge to keep them engaged and motivated for longer!
These YouTube videos are a big favorite in our home. My oldest two will sit and draw for hours. They are great for elementary-age kids and even older kids just starting out. They have a fun punky vibe and a variety of videos to learn how to draw pretty much anything kids love to draw!
During my teacher days, the rule of thumb was if the wind chill or temperature fell below 20 degrees or it was raining hard enough to get uncomfortably wet, the kids stayed in. Pretty much everything else was outside weather. The truth is, kids need the outdoors, and that need does not change in winter or poor weather. Make outside time part of the daily family rhythm. This winter we have gone on hikes, visited the beach, played in the snow, and visited the playground. We bundle up and spend as much time as we can handle in the fresh air. On the days where outside time is prioritized, my children present more calm, regulated, and agreeable.
Winter in New England can be tough even without social distancing. Hopefully, some of these activities during COVID times will offer just the right amount of relief for the family when needed!