The weather is now often cold, miserable and dark. Gone are the days of sandcastles, picnics and paddling pools. As most parents will tell you, having young children and keeping them entertained is hard. When it’s wet and getting dark out earlier it becomes a real battle.
But there are some things you can do to keep your kids happy and entertained, whatever the weather may be outside.
Go for a winter wonderland walk
Take your children for a walk around your neighbourhood to look at the Christmas decorations and lights on display on people’s homes. Ask your little ones to point out their favourites, then, when you get home ask them to draw their favourite Christmas decorations they’ve seen from memory.
Build a fort or playhouse
Get your children to build a fort out of cushions, pillows and blankets. Use chairs to support the blankets. Make sure they’re safe and supervise or help with any high reaching. You can also make it look magical with child-safe fairy lights.
Lay a picnic blanket on the floor of your living or dining room and hold an indoor picnic. You can even place some potted plants around the room to stick with the outdoors theme. Encourage your children to help prepare the food like making sandwiches, putting nibbles in a bowl, laying out napkins and so forth.
Set up a table in your home as a shop counter. Get your children to think of a name for their shop and then ask them to make a sign for their shop. Use crayons, pens or children’s paints for a hands-on and creative activity. Ask your children to set up a display of the things they want to ‘sell’ in their shop on the table. The children can take turns with one being a customer and one being a sales assistant. Perhaps use an old apron for the sales assistant’s uniform for a dress-up experience.
Get out packets of dry food, sachets and boxes, their toys, books or clothes depending on what their shop is. If they have a play till, great, if not they could make one from old boxes. Give them play money or real pennies (but please supervise if there are very young children involved to avoid choking). By using money in the game you can teach some basic arithmetic.
Children love to get messy and get involved. Help your children make homemade pizzas, fairy cakes, muffins or biscuits. Encourage them with the mixing and decorating. Always keep them supervised and away from hot surfaces, fire and sharp things. But most of all, make sure you all have fun.