I am a nature lover. One of my all-time favorite books is this one right here. I would much prefer to spend my time outdoors than inside. Still, sometimes and for whatever reason, it’s hard to get those kids out there.
Last winter was brutal. A poorly-timed home renovation rendered much of our yard unsafe for play. On top of that, my children spent the entire winter battling every virus that crossed our path. Add to that the snow! Last year was our snowiest winter ever here in NH. We had so much snow that it was near to impossible to walk in, even with snow shoes! All of these things made for a conglomeration of crabbiness that lasted from November until almost April.
This winter, I’m determined to make up for lost time. If possible, we will be outdoors daily just as we have been every winter except for the winter of 2014-15. But, if this winter ends up being a repeat of last winter, I am prepared.
Today I’m sharing 10 Ways to Wear Kids Out When the Weather Isn’t Cooperating and then I’d love to hear your strategies for keeping sane during the winter months!
1. Have a dance party!
My kids and I have this thing we do, and I adore it. Almost every afternoon, just before dinner, we pop on some Kenny Chesney and dance in our kitchen. This family tradition, which is known as Kenny Hour, was born out of desperation. My oldest was an extremely colicky baby who rarely slept and could not be put down, and my husband worked very long hours. When the witching hour rolled around each day, I was always at my breaking point. Often times, I cried right along with him. Eventually, as a coping strategy, I turned to music. I would turn up the volume to drown out the cries and dance my cares away. Initially, this routine did little to calm my son, but it calmed something inside of me. With time, however, my son did calm when I’d turn Kenny on. This routine continued through two more children and now, at ages 7, 6, and 4-years-old, my children love to dance around our kitchen with me before dinner. When we are faced with lousy weather, or kid illnesses, or crabby moods, we will often dance it out!
It may sound obvious, but a great way to wear your children out in crummy weather is to get them moving. My kids accompanied me to CrossFit for over three years and they learned several fun activities that they enjoy to this day. And, the best part? All you need is music and a little floor space to do these! The first activity is performed to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck (No, I’m not kidding. Bear with me, I promise!). The goal is to do jumping jacks throughout the song unless you hear the word thunder at which point you do a burpee. This is guaranteed to wear them out and have them in giggles!
The second CrossFit workout that my children love is to Moby’s Flower. Whenever your kids hear the words “bring Sally down…” they squat and hold it until they hear the words “bring Sally up” and you continue throughout the song.
My children also love to do yoga, and I love that they are learning healthy habits including fitness, strength, and the ability to calm oneself.
3. Create an indoor obstacle course!
Who doesn’t love a good obstacle course? I know my children love to take turns running through obstacle courses of their own creation, trying to see if they can beat their best time. On rainy days, we will set up indoor obstacle courses and it never fails to result in laughter and energy expended!
4. Play an active game!
I love board games. I love them so much that they are a huge part of our homeschool curriculum. There are oodles of active board games on the market today and these types of games are perfect to play on days when you can’t get outside. Some of our favorites include:
- Hullabaloo (or you could make your own Inside Out themed version of this game!)
- Scavenger Hunts
- Hide and Seek
- Indoor Snowball Fight
- Indoor basketball
5. Clean as a team!
Before I had children, my house was pretty clean. Nowadays, it’s barely clean-ish. It’s impossible to keep up with the mess created by three children, one husband, and a large furry dog! In order to maintain some level of clean-ish, I enlist my little friends. We all pitch in and the work gets done faster.
Cruddy weather days provide a perfect opportunity to catch up on a little cleaning. In our house, we do something called a cleaning burst. For a set period of time, say 15 or 20 minutes, we each tackle a cleaning task or clean a certain room. When the timer goes off, we’re done! My kids love to try to one-up each other and so they are little speed-cleaners. It’s a great way to burn off some energy while crossing something off of the to-do list!
6. Bounce your cares away!
My son’s occupational therapist advised us to purchase a small trampoline to help with his sensory processing disorder. I was hesitant at first because it seemed counter-intuitive to me, but our trampoline is an amazing tool! It not only calms my sensory seeker down, but it’s a fun and fantastic way to burn off extra energy. Great for grown-ups, too!
7. Put on a performance!
Why not put on a performance for all to see? My kids love to dig into our dress up pile and put their imaginations to work. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Make your own concert
- Create your own play
- Act out your favorite story or movie
- Put on a puppet show
- Try a magic show
8. Work your brain with art!
A great way to keep kids engaged and using those little noggins for creativity is to provide opportunities for artistic expression. Earlier this fall, our family added doodling to our daily routine. We grabbed some blank journals and dubbed them “Doodle Diaries” and tried to create at least one entry per day. The results have been simply amazing. Our Doodle Diaries result in an almost instantaneous calm, pleasant conversation, and oodles of creativity.
9. Build something amazing!
Why not create, build, or invent something amazing? Keep little hands and minds busy with these ideas:
- Build a fort
- Create something fantastic out of an old cardboard box
- Invent something with a homemade tinker kit!
10. Grin and bear it!
When all else fails, why not just listen to Richard Louv and get out there? Sure, the weather conditions may not be ideal, but research has shown that time spent in nature has a positive impact on the health, happiness, and overall well-being of children and adults. There are a gazillion ways to have fun in nature during the winter months, so what are you waiting for?
Tell me: How do you wear your children out when the weather isn’t cooperating?
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We have one of those pull-up bars that pressure mounts to the doorpost. My son spends tons of time on that, pulling up, swinging, and hanging upside down.
Good suggestions in your post. Happy New Year!
Love you ideas!! We do a Lot of forts and crafts. I want to have them out on a play for me now!
This is great! We love playing twister or active Wii games together.
A pull-up bar is a fantastic idea! We have one in our basement that my husband and I use. The kids can’t reach yet, but great idea!
Forts on snowy days are THE BEST!