The short days and cold weather accompanying the winter months can be a serious cheer and energy drainer — especially when you’re stuck at home with kids bursting with energy. Thankfully, you can beat the long winter glum by shaking up your routine. Check out these eight secrets to making winter happier for the whole household.
Keep your family entertained in the winter — or any season — by hosting a nightly predinner performance. Assign each family member a night to put on a magic act, a puppet show or anything that involves props, other performers and an audience. Kids can also memorize short poems, nursery rhymes or songs to entertain the family. Adults can recite classic poems or act out their own version of their favourite movie scenes. Use your imagination!
2. Cooking Class
If you’re stuck in the house for weeks at a time, cooking is a great way to introduce your family to faraway places through a new cuisine or dish. Whether it’s Thai, Italian or Jamaican, long winter months are ideal for trying out new recipes.
This is also a great time to teach your little chefs about cooking by letting them help you with the basics. Family favourites like muffins, cookies and pizza are all kid-friendly. You can even use recipes from a cookbook designed for your child’s age group. Just remember that kitchen messes are inevitable with all those little helping hands, so have Bounty paper towels on hand to quickly clean up spills and splatters. And just a few drops of Dawn Ultra Dish Soap is all it takes to clean those dirty dishes.
3. Dance Party
When you start to feel grumpy and the kids are restless, the fastest way to crack the tension is with an impromptu dance break. A warning to all easily embarrassed readers: This feels ridiculous at first. Power through the awkward feeling and put on your dancing shoes!
Take turns playing everyone’s favourite music for a family dance-a-thon, or create a special playlist to get everyone in a good mood. If your child is taking lessons in ballet or another dance style, you can use this time to practice the steps with them. You can also try learning the moves to your favourite music video.
4. Arts and Crafts
Using your hands to create something has been shown to enhance mental health and boost happiness. So give your brain a break and get crafty! Experiment with the art supplies you already have in your house. Make and test out paper planes, colour bookmarks, or craft necklaces out of coloured pasta shapes and Oral-B dental floss. From creating sock puppets to fun, DIY tic-tac-toe games, your possibilities are endless.
5. Game Day
Charades and hide-and-seek are fun ways to spend a day indoors, not to mention great opportunities for the family to bond and children to develop important social skills like following rules and taking turns. A DIY scavenger hunt can be loads of fun if you get creative with your hiding spots and treasure. Board games and card games can also provide hours of strategic thinking and creative problem-solving!
Bonus tip: Go a step further and make game day a screen-free event. This means no television, video games, computers, tablets or phones. Give your brain and eyes a break while you spend quality time with the family — it can go a long way in boosting minds and spirits.
6. Science Experiments
There are plenty of fun and educational science experiments to try that only require a few household items. Make a papier-mâché volcano and let it erupt with a mix of baking soda and vinegar. Write secret messages in invisible ink or try your hand at making homemade slime. If your experiments get a little (or a lot) messy, don’t sweat it — Mr. Clean multi-surface cleaner can get your countertops (or floors … or bathtub … or whatever area was the host of a science experiment gone wrong!) sparkling clean in no time.
7. Movie Club
Winter is the perfect time for cosying up on the couch with a good movie. Choose a historical theme, a specific director or a filmmaking style as your theme. Watch classic black-and-white films, get into documentaries or try anime cartoons with the kids.
8. Green Thumb
A little green in every room helps you banish the winter blues. Caring for houseplants can give you joy during long winter months. Hostas, calla lilies and succulents can all bring life into your space and cheer to your day, no matter how many inches of snow are on the ground. Plus, your kids can help care for them (make watering more fun by using a squirt gun) and watch them grow.
Do you have any secrets to staying happy and entertained during the winter months? Let us know in the comments below!