10 ideas to beat the winter blues

Just like every other family, we are currently stuck with the winter blues. We are all longing for those long, warm summer days filled with the beach, ice cream, hikes, drive in movies , etc. I feel like every year we get stuck in a rut and completely run out of ideas to make family time  fun.  Here are some fun go-to ideas to help break up those dreary winter days.

1. Board game night

This one really doesn’t need much explanation. Board games are such an easy way to make a night feel special. We love to play kids apples to apples, sorry, jenga, guess who, and uno (I know this isn’t technically a board game but work with me here!)

If you really want to amp up the fun, try inviting some family friends over and playing speak out or pie face. I guarantee lots of giggles!

2. Dinner and kids movie

The hubs and I will sometimes surprise the kids with a family date night. We all go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and then a movie afterwards. We buy seasonal popcorn buckets so the popcorn is free and we try to go on tuesdays because our big theater has tickets for only $5 on that night. The kids love this special surprise and it is fun for adults too. Who doesn’t love dinner and a movie?

3.Sledding and hot chocolate

We are fortunate enough to have lots of great sledding dunes near us. When the snow gets deep enough, we love to get everyone bundled up, pack a thermos of hot chocolate, and grab our sleds. We only stay for an hour or two (frozen baby hands = frozen baby tears). The kids love to climb various hills and take turns sledding alone, with each other, and with either parent.

Little Miss loved her hot chocolate

The hot chocolate keeps everyone happy and a little bit warmer.

4. Hide and go clap

My oldest son is actually the one that taught us this game and it is sooooo fun! I can’t believe my childhood did not involve playing this every night. It is basically like hide and seek but amped up a bit. The seeker needs to be completely blindfolded. We usually end up concocting some strange blind fold and performing many tests to make sure the seeker can’t actually see.  The seeker counts to 20 and everyone hides on one level of the house. The seeker then says first clap and everyone must clap.  They walk towards the sound of the claps and try to find everyone. The seeker gets  3 claps total. If they don’t find the last person within 2 minutes of the third clap, they lose. It is so funny to watch the seeker stumble around searching. I have actually laughed and given my location away wayyy too many times to remember. This is one of those games your kids will always remember playing. It is so much fun!

5. Nerf gun war

Who doesn’t love a nerf war?! My two year old daughter even runs around with tiny nerf guns and swords to participate. We recently built a nerf armory in my oldest son’s room.

We divide into teams and gather our needed equipment at the armory.  We like to use the tri fold science boards to hide behind and make sure to grab some shields too. We go to opposite ends of the house, set up, yell ready and then the battle begins! Everyone has so much fun! I think the hubs may like it even more than the kids.

6. Build a fort

Look at these happy cozy munchkins!

Our fort building has really evolved over the years. We have made so many forts and I feel like now we have it down to a science. My four year old son got a homemade fort making kit for Christmas and that is all we use now. It came with two sheets, lots of large blue clips and lots of clothespins. Everything except the sheets can be found at the dollar tree!

 

We clip one end of the sheet to our curtain rod and the other end to two chairs spaced out. We then clip the other sheet to the back of our tent we just made and bam! The skeleton of the fort has just been made. No fort is complete without a mound of blankets and nearly every pillow in the  house,  so send the youngsters out on a hunt for these items while you are assembling the structure. We love to buy special snacks, pop some popcorn, and watch Netflix in our forts.

7. Camping in the living room

The hubs and I really wanted to blow the kids away one particular freezing winter weekend, so we decided to camp in the living room. The kids were actually all playing nicely in the basement so this was a perfect opportunity for set up! Our tent is huge, but it’s one of those quick 2 minute assembly snap tents so it didn’t take too long. We really wanted it to feel like camping so we grabbed the sleeping bags as well. We made popcorn, s’mores, and hot dogs. We loved watching planet earth in the tent together and we read stories and just goofed off. The looks on the kids faces when we called them to the living room was priceless. I think that weekend really made a lasting impression on them.

8. Pj movie day

We have gone about pj movie day in two different ways. The first way is  obvious: we stayed at home in pajamas all day and watched movies. We love to watch movie series so Harry Potter, Despicable Me, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, or just plain 90’s movie always seem to be on our idea list. Pj movie day is an absolute classic and even though you aren’t doing a lot, you are spending time together and that’s what means the most.

The second way we went about pj movie day, was wearing our pajamas to our theater and watching 2-3 movies there. We definitely made sure to go on a cheaper day and made sure there were multiple movies we wanted to see. We brought our popcorn bucket and invited some aunts and uncles and cousins to join us. Each kid brought a blanket and we had some snacks for everyone. We all met for lunch in between movies. This was so much fun and so different. The kids thought it was hilarious to go to the theater in pajamas. Parents: you can always wear black sweatpants or yoga pants but join in the fun!

9. Winter walk

For some reason, I was terrified to let my oldest play in the snow when he was younger. He would get so restless and I finally realized one day that playing in the snow doesn’t need to be an hours long ordeal. It’s good for kids to get outside and get some fresh, winter air! Sometimes a quick 30 minutes is all they need. We have gone for a few quick 30min-1 hour walks this year and it was so refreshing! Winter walks are so beautiful. The trees covered in  heavy snow and the entire ground blanketed in sparkling white is truly something  to behold.

While you are enjoying all of the beautiful views, the kids have probably discovered that snow is fun to throw and roll in. No entertainment needed!

10. Visit a museum

Whether it’s a local museum, bigger city museum, or children’s museum, museums always seem to be an extra fun place to take kids. If you aren’t wanting to make an entire day of visiting a museum, go to a free or cheap local one. They aren’t too large but they still have lots of things to see and do. It’s great for the kids to learn about their town and local environment.

The boys and their cousin at our local free museum

Bigger museums are more of an all day thing, but when its blistering cold outside what better place  could you be? Children’s  Museums are always a hit. I love how interactive they are.

Spring is soon approaching and with that comes lots more outdoor fun. For now it’s time to get creative and try some new fun family activities. I hope these ideas help to chase away your family’s winter blues!

What does your family like to do during the winter months?

 

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