10 Frugal Ways to Enjoy a Frigid Winter
Source: Emily Patterson
While for some people winter invokes fuzzy images of lazy, cozy days curled up by a fire, for parents it can be a struggle to keep your children occupied during the long and cold winter months. Keeping your children's mind and imagination active during the winter months is important. However, it is just as important to plan for physically stimulating activities for your children to enjoy.
Additionally, winter friendly activities do not have to be expensive as, let's face it, in these economic times it is rare the family that can afford a skiing trip to Aspen or a warm winter getaway with the whole family.
Below are ten inexpensive ideas or activities that families can participate in together to fight the winter doldrums.
1. Blow bubbles and watch them freeze.
This is a fun science experiment you can perform with your children that only works when the temperature outside is below freezing. Buy or make a bubble blowing solution and then bundle up to go outside and start blowing bubbles. When you blow a bubble, immediately catch it on the end of the bubble wand. Depending on how cold it is outside, ice crystals will form and the bubble will freeze and shatter. You can use this activity to explain how water, a liquid, freezes to a solid when the temperature gets cold enough.
Sledding is a popular activity for children and adults alike. Sleds are inexpensive and sledding can be an active and fun way to spend an afternoon. To make it extra special, pack hot cocoa in a thermos and chocolate for an outdoor treat.
3. Go for a hike.
If you live near a wooded area, a winter hike is the perfect time to explore aspects of nature that are not as readily explored during the summer weather. For example, when there is snow on the ground, it is much easier to see animal tracks. Why not take your children on a winter hike and use the opportunity to teach them about the various tracks left by local wildlife.
4. Go for a walk and take pictures.
If you have a burgeoning shutterbug among your children, winter is the perfect opportunity to expand his or her photography skills. Barren trees and snow swept landscapes make for beautiful photographs.
5. Build a snow fort and/or a snowman.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, or you are lucky enough to have a snowstorm that dumps at least a few inches of snow into your yard then get the family together to build a snowman or a snow fort. In order to build a snowman or a snow fort, you need to make sure that the snow you have to work with is heavy and wet. Dry powdery snow will not pack properly and will make building the fort or snowman a frustrating experience.
6. Examine snowflakes.
Another activity to foster the appreciation of science and nature is to examine and learn about snowflakes. With just a magnifying glass and a dark cloth, you can collect snowflakes when it is snowing and examine their crystal forms with your children. Be sure to cover your, or your child's, face when examining the snowflakes so your breath doesn't melt the delicate ice crystals.
7. Indoor dance party.
If the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities but you are still looking for ways to make sure your young children get enough exercise, clear out a space, put on some fun dance music and have a dance party with your children. If you really want to get them moving, switch your light up and down quickly to simulate a strobe-light. They will love it.
8. Make winter ornaments.
You don't need Christmas as an excuse to decorate your house. Cut out shapes of snowflakes, snowmen, acorns, pine trees, small woodland animals and birds (or find them at your local craft store). Color in the shapes or decorate them with glitter, beads, and feathers. Then, hang them on ribbons in your windows or doorframes.
9. Make a pinecone birdfeeder.
Find a large open pinecone and follow these simple instructions. Not only is this project easy and fun to make, but if you hang it outside a window of your home, watching the birds come to visit will entertain your kids for hours.
10. Make festive cards.
The winter doldrums can get everyone down. Spend an afternoon making cards to cheer friends and relatives.
This list is just the beginning of fun and educational winter activities that can be both intellectually and physical stimulating for your child.
Naturally, every child is his or her own person, and at a different educational and developmental place in his or her life, so it is important to plan activities taking this into consideration. With a bit of planning and forethought, you and your family can have a stimulating, entertaining and educational winter together.