As we settle into the New Year and power through the rest of the winter season, it’s important to encourage your children to stay active and get their creativity going. Because of the cold Michigan winters, outdoor activities may be restricted. Here are a few indoor activity ideas that you can enjoy alongside your child-
To enhance gross motor skills, you can lay pillows in a line and have your child try to walk and balance on the pillows–be sure to do this on a carpeted floor to prevent falls/slips. To make it even more fun, use couch cushions as “crash pads” and set them near the balance beams, that way your child can fall or ”crash” onto something cozy.
Building a Fort
Indoor play forts can be a super creative activity for kids. There are endless household items you’re able to use to help your child build their fort–chairs, pillows, blankets, couches, ottomans, sleeping bags, etc. After the fort is built, your child/children can come up with any scenario such as pretending the fort is a castle, house, restaurant, and beyond.
Bouncing off of the balance beam idea, you and your child can create an obstacle course by planning routes for each player and setting up different stations such as tossing balls into buckets, jumping over pillows or crawling under tables. To add some extra competition, you can have another family member time the contestants to see who can complete the course the fastest.
Dedicating one night a week to playing games with your family can be a great way to bond together and help your child build different skills such as reasoning, planning, and problem-solving. It’s important to take into account the ages and ability levels of those playing, so be mindful when choosing a game to play with your family. For younger children, we suggest games like Guess Who?, Chutes and Ladders, and Sequence for Kids. For older or more advanced children, we suggest games like Clue and Monopoly. There are also many video game options that provide players with an active, group-based experience to help your family continue to move their bodies.
The competitive nature of playing games can result in a range of emotions, so be sure to discuss some strategies that you and your family members can utilize to help manage any anger, frustration or sadness that can come from losing a game. By doing so, you are helping your child build emotional awareness as well as develop ways to manage their own emotions.
Encouraging cooking/baking in children is a great way to support a child’s independence. Keep in mind to start off with an easy-to-follow, simple recipe with visuals (i.e. photos of a bowl, spoon, box of cereal, and jug of milk put in order so your child can follow the steps of preparing a bowl of cereal). Baking a treat with your child is another fun way to spend time indoors together. Your child can help by mixing batter, adding ingredients to a bowl, and decorating the treat after it’s done baking. This could also be a good time to practice counting and measuring!
Winters can feel long, but taking some time to be creative and think of indoor activities to do with your family can help improve the mood of your whole household. We hope this list is helpful and you’re able to participate in and enjoy some of the listed activities!