In many parts of the country, families are staying in and reorganizing their days. Add in kids, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for stir-craziness. Keep your young ones occupied (and NOT frostbitten) with these fun, low-cost indoor activities.
Dance it out. Your kids are too young to remember dances like the Electric Slide and the Typewriter – throw on an old CD or fire up an oldies station on Pandora and impress them with your retro rug-cutting skills. Then, put on their favorite music and let them show you their stuff. At the very least, you can provide a little comic relief for their afternoon.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Make a list of hard-to-find items around the house and let the kids hunt them down while you time then. Hand out small trinkets as prizes for completing the list. Ideas for scavenger hunt items could be “something that smells like lemons,” “something fuzzy” and “something with today’s date on it.” Adjust the list’s length and difficulty for each competitor’s age.
Go out and jump. Most towns have an indoor facility with inflatable bounce houses and slides. Find out when its “open jump” hours are, and bring your kiddos in for some climate-controlled fun – while you relax with a book or your smartphone. (Extra savings tip: Daily-deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial often run discounts for places like these.) If you are not able to visit public facilities, then break a few rules at home. Have breaks that include things like “jump on the bed for 5 minutes,” “pretend you are a snake slithering down the hallway, “or run laps around the yard for one minute.” Anything that gets the kids moving will work.
Have a hot-chocolate party. Set out warm milk, chocolate syrup, marshmallows and other essentials and supervise your kids as they make their own steaming mugs of cocoa. To make things extra-delicious, include lots of extra “goodies” like white chocolate chips, whipped cream and peppermint sticks for stirring.
Allow TV time. Using the television or iPad to entertain a child all the time isn’t a good idea, but a few carefully scheduled programs or webcams aren’t bad at all. And you can use that down time to breathe. Living on the Cheap compiled a list of cute animal webcams that will entertain kids of all ages. You can also stream a few free movies or TV shows, or let the kids put together a Netflix party and invite their friends.
Pretend that it’s summer. Reverse the “winter in July” idea by having a beach-themed shindig right in your living room. Crank up the heat, dig out the kids’ bathing suits and sunglasses, and enjoy ice-cold lemonade or snow cones. If you’re brave, you can even take them “swimming” in the bathtub.
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