Oh, the sweet summertime! It’s the season where you can send your kids outdoors to run through the sprinkler, play in the creek, or simply draw with chalk on the sidewalk. There seem to be ample things to do when it’s warm outside, and as such, parenting just feels a little easier. Then, the winter time hits. Not only is this season well-known for its cold and flu bugs and other ickies, there’s also the issue of it being so chilly outside that the only logical thing to do is stay indoors. As such, it can be easy to feel cooped up. Kids winter activities can be hard to find when it’s cold outside, but here are a few that get you out of the house while still staying inside.
Today, let’s take a look at five places you can go as a family to get out of the house, break up the at-home routine and inject a little fun in your winter days together.
Kids Winter Activity Ideas
1. The Library
This one tops our list because it’s both educational and fun. Find your local branch and tap into everything it has to offer. Most have robust children’s programs, as well as ones for teens and even adults. From weekday morning storytimes to reading challenges and rewards, you might be surprised at how much is available at your disposal for absolutely no charge. Find your age-appropriate section and let your kids explore new titles or introduce them to your old favorites. If they can write their names, most libraries will allow your children to sign up for their very own library card while they’re there!
2. The Mall
Sure, you might be asked a time or 10 whether or not you can buy that special toy in the window, but the local mall is a great place to spend a chilly or rainy winter day. It’s climate controlled with enough space to run around, and there are built-in lunch options at the ready thanks to the food court. To make sure you don’t walk away with more than you intended to, start the trip with a budget in mind, or resolve to not spending any money at all, and simply window shop the day away. You can even create a list of things to look out for (like a cane, a bouncy ball, and a cookie cake) and go on a scavenger hunt around the shops together!
3. The Pet Store
Has your toddler been begging for a goldfish lately? Does your oldest keep asking when you’re going to get a dog? Try taking the family to the local pet store or aquarium to allow them a hands-on look at what goes into taking care of an animal. Not only will they love getting to pet and love on some of the critters, you can also turn the trip into an educational lesson. Talk about the kinds of food each pet would need, as well as accessories and other gear. Along the same lines, a visit to the nearby animal shelter is also a great idea. Depending on the branch, your children may be able to help feed or even play with the animals while they’re there!
4. The Museum
Here, you aren’t limited to your typical children’s museums, though those are certainly a great option as well. During the wintertime, however, they can be breeding grounds for kid-friendly bacteria, so sometimes, it’s best to vary the routine a little and try somewhere new. If your city has one, try taking the family to the local art museum or cultural center. They might not be able to understand every exhibit, but you can explain what they’re seeing in layman’s terms as much as possible. Of course, if they get antsy or want to run around, you may want to head back to your children’s museum, where there are plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and play.
Are you all missing the summertime feeling of playing in the dirt and growing something with your hands? If so, check out your local conservatory! Most have kid-friendly programs that allow all ages to get a firsthand glimpse at how they grow plants and flowers even in the coldest winter environments. You’ll get to feel like you’re playing outdoors, all while staying warm and learning a thing or two while you’re at it. If you can’t locate your nearest conservatory, a greenhouse is a similar concept. Call and see if any local nurseries allow visitors to tour the greenhouse and treat your whole family to a taste of summer.
Soon enough, temperatures will be rising and we’ll be heading outdoors again. In the meantime, check out these places and get out of the house for a little while. Your kids will thank you, and you’ll keep your sanity intact.
Courtney Myers has been a professional writer for about 10 years. She has worked in proposal development, grant writing, and content creation for a variety of industry niches. She’s been published in USA Today, Today.com, Red Tricycle, and more!
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