I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world, but in Seattle it is definitely winter. At this point, trips outside are limited to running to the mailbox, cleaning up after the dogs, and racing from the car to our next location. Last year at this time I had a newborn. I was perfectly content to hunker down inside, relax by the fire, and watch my little wee one coo on a plushy blanket.
This year? Now I have a wild toddler bouncing off the walls, desperate for new outlets for all that energy and creativity he’s discovering more and more every day. Every city and family has different resources, but here are a few of our favorite ways to get through the long winter days…
1. Storytimes — We go to a lot of local storytimes at bookstores and libraries. Many of these also have train tables and play areas, so our storytime adventures double as a chance to play in a new environment. Cullen loves getting out and being around lots of new people and faces!
2. Arts and crafts — I’m just starting to finally get Cullen to show a little interest in arts. He still eats any crayon he can find, but he’s really into stickers. Pulling out some paper and art supplies gives him a break from the usual toy building, throwing, and climbing he is otherwise doing.
3. Healthy snacks — Who doesn’t feel like stuffing their face on a gloomy day, right? Turn a long afternoon into a fun baking or cooking project. Whip up smoothies together, or try making homemade granola bars. You’ll kill a big block of time, and have a sweet reward waiting at the end of it!
4. Go out anyway — Some of my best memories of childhood involve putting on what felt like a thousand layers of clothing, and heading out into the artic tundra of snow in our backyard. Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside all the time. Just make sure you are adequately bundled up and don’t stay out too long. A little fresh air can really brighten up the day!
5. Movie marathon — When all else fails, break out the remote. We’re not huge TV watchers, but in the evenings if my husband isn’t home yet and I need to get dinner on the table, I’ll sometimes turn on a favorite show or movie. Just tune into your kid’s favorite program on the Xbox 360 + Kinect, and let them enjoy a rare afternoon matinee. Or if you’re itching to get active, use the Xbox 360 to put on a fitness program and let your toddler jump and stretch beside you!