Indoor Activities to Keep your Kids During Winter
Lets face it, most South Africans love the sun – and who more so than our children. There is nothing better than playing outside in the garden, with our friends and family on a hot summer’s day. But with the winter temperatures still lingering, we tend to find that our kids are becoming increasingly bored hanging out indoors. And as parents, what can be worse than those 4pm blues when you’ve got hungry and restless kids in the house. We have put together a few quick and easy indoor activities that you can use to keep your children busy this winter. Go wild, use your imagination and most importantly, have fun!
Pillow fort & Movie Night
Recognised by most little ones as one of the all-time favourite indoor activities, fort building can provide hours of fun and laughter for your children. Whether it is building an army base or a princess castle, there is something magical about throwing together a bunch of pillows and blankets to a cosy faraway land. Not only does this provide an endless amount of fun, but it doubles up as a cosy nook for lunchtime snacks, afternoon naps or even bedtime movies.
How to do it:
Gather up all the blankets, pillows, scatter cushions and duvets you can find. Look for – or create – a stable structure from which your children can hang the blankets and position the pillows to create their own pillow fort. Whether positioned in between the arms of your couch, or beneath the dining room table, your kids can create their very own little hideaway spot.
‘No balls in the house’ -a phrase known all too well by kids getting up to no good indoors. So instead of balls, how about we use socks and create a bowling alley right in your own home? If you have a big family, you can divide up into teams. Get your kids to dress up in outfits, think of a team name and get crafty by making them create posters and banners for their team.
How to do it:
Line up some empty plastic bottles inside along a corridor or open space. Use old socks as balls and just like that you’ve got your very own indoor bowling alley. Make it harder by adding weight (like sand or water) inside the bottles.
Get Creative with Arts & Crafts
Sure, arts and crafts can become a messy event, but children of all ages love them. This is one of the most enjoyed indoor activities that simultaneously promotes and enhances your little one’s developmental skills such as motor and coordination skills, critical thinking and of course, creativity and expression. Whether you opt for drawing, painting, paper mâché or a mix of all of the above, these activities will allow your child to learn fundamental skills while having fun.
How to do it:
A good way to start is by thinking of a theme – a favourite movie, a book character or even an imaginary faraway land. Gather up glitters, glues, paints, carboard and any other arts and crafts stuff you can get your hands on. The Party Shop, CNA and other art shops near you will have crafty packages that you can choose from. Now is when the creativity comes in – face masks, birthday cards, fancy hats, wall hangings or homemade presents. The ideas are endless.
Boardgame Indoor Activities
Boardgames are a fun way to get the entire family involved in indoor activities on those chilly winter weekends. Both you and your children will reap the benefit from this special family time, while also encouraging your kids to learn to be competitive, motivated and determined. Engaging in boardgames assists your child in practising essential cognitive skills like decision making, problem solving and strategic thinking. Additionally, playing boardgames stimulates brain areas that are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes.
How to do it:
Every family has a cupboard stacked with old boardgames. Brush off the dust, get some hot chocolate going, grab some snacks and prepare for a day of fun. You can even get crafty and create your own board games. For example, you can use cardboard, colours and stickers to create your own snakes and ladders board.
Whether it is decorating biscuits or embellishing freshly baked cupcakes, baking is the perfect way to combine learning with fun while you are indoors. Baking gives your children a real sense of achievement. Working on a task that produces a product they can enjoy, and share with others gives them a confidence boost, while also giving them a real reason to lick the bowl! Fairy cakes, triple chocolate brownies, monster cookies or unicorn cupcakes – any type of baking utilises social and communication skills, math, reading and writing, and even science. Understanding the purpose and process of different ingredients while exercising fine motor skills is a great way to learn in a fun environment. Get stuck in and enjoy and even better – its healthier for our little ones than store bought produce.
How to Do it:
There are a multitude of cook books and online recipes that can guide you through simple, child-friendly recipes you can enjoy at home. To make it even more of a learning activity, you can also get your children to create their own cookbook, writing down all the instructions, taking measurements and recoding time.
It is important to think of indoor activities that will suit your children, and their personal interests. While some children will enjoy more crafty activities, others may prefer more high energy activities. So, to ensure your children are less likely to grow bored of the activities you create, maybe sit down with them and brainstorm ideas together.