When the snow first starts falling, it’s a great feeling. Your house is cozy inside, school is cancelled—three cheers for a snow day! The kids are excited and you can’t help but feel some excitement, too. However, after a few days of being snowed in, we can all start to get a bit stir crazy, especially with our littles cooped up at home with us. Here are eight creative ways to beat those winter blues when you feel like you’re stuck indoors!
Want a meal that is healing and nourishing, while also providing some learning opportunities for your little one? Making a pot of soup is a fun way to create a simple meal and have your kiddos help. My 2.5 year old daughter, Addy, likes to put on her purple apron and stand on a chair next to the counter with me to help when I cook. Set the vegetables you plan to use in your soup out on the counter and talk to your child about what kind they are and how many there are.
This is a great opportunity for teaching basic counting, as well. Your little one can get their hands wet in the sink and help rinse the vegetables. Addy is good at taking the stickers off of peppers and handing them to me. Young children should not take part in tasks like cutting food and boiling water for safety reasons. But helping add spices, put chopped veggies into an empty pot, or organizing ingredients can all be done easily and to your child’s delight!
Just feel like lounging on the couch or in bed? No problem! Relaxing is good and winter weather encourages us to take a break and rest our bodies and minds. A fun game to play while in a resting position is “I Spy.” This can be played with children of almost any age. For example, get comfy under a blanket and say to your child, “I spy with my little eye . . . something red on the TV wall.” When your little one guesses the correct answer, it’s their turn to choose an object and give you a clue. If you want to up the competition or have a reward for the winner, play until someone gets stumped. The other person is the winner. Reward the winner (or all players!) with a sweet treat such as cookies and a cup of hot chocolate.
Researchers say that 20 minutes of exercise a day can be life changing and can vastly improve your health. Even if you can’t get outside due to blizzard-like conditions, ice, or biting cold—you can still move your body and get your blood flowing inside the house. My family and I like to turn on the television and go to YouTube. We take turns picking out songs and music videos on YouTube (ranging from Baby Shark to Beyonce to Coldplay!) and we dance together. It’s a silly, fun way to get loose, break a sweat, and get some cardio exercise in. You can even set a timer on your phone to ensure you get the full 20 minutes in. This is a really fun way to beat the winter blues!
Flowers have a powerful way of brightening up even the gloomiest of days. If you have the means to buy some cut flowers at your local grocery store, that is ideal. But this activity can be done even without fresh flowers. Take a look out your window and see if you have any evergreen trees or bushes, grasses, wintry branches, fall leaves or other natural elements that might make for a pretty arrangement. Fill mason jars, vases, or simple drinking cups with water from the sink.
Lay the natural pieces out on some newspaper or a towel. Work with your little one to cut and place different pieces into the vases. When you’re finished, walk around the house and choose the best place for your new arrangements. Maybe a front hall table or a nightstand? If you have a toddler, you may want to choose a higher spot such a fireplace mantle or tall book shelf. If you have extra floral arrangements, consider gifting one to a next door neighbor and brighten their day, too!
Putting pen to paper is a great way to engage in a creative project on a snow day. Ask your child to think of a friend (or family member) you want to send a letter or drawing to. With my 1-year-old, we simply did finger painting on colored construction paper. My 2.5 year old drew with crayons and markers. Depending on what developmental stage your child is at, they can draw, write their name, or write a simple note consisting of a couple of words on a piece of paper.
If they are old enough to write sentences, they can describe what they have been doing during the snow day or for the past few days. Feel free to get creative with your materials, using bright colors of paper or gluing pieces of tissue paper, feathers, or ribbon to the letter. Once it’s dried and complete, fold up the letter and place it in an envelope. Have your kiddo help with sealing it shut, putting a stamp on, and even writing out the recipient’s address.
Sometimes when you’re stuck indoors, all that’s needed is a change in energy to get everyone’s moods on the upswing. Whether you want to increase the energy level in your home, relax after a long day, or cheer up the kids, simply light a candle, for example, with a vanilla or citrus fragrance. Vanilla aromatherapy has been shown to reduce stress and promote restful sleep, while citrus is a proven mood-booster. I’m a fan of soy and beeswax candles, in general, because they are healthier to breathe. I also love to light fruity, tropical scents if we want to imagine we are on a beach vacation somewhere far, far away from the cold and snow!
One of the easiest ways to beat the winter blues is to shift your mindset. Being snowed in can be a great opportunity to slow down and practice mindfulness with your kiddo, no matter how old they are. Try a few simple yoga poses and practice bringing an awareness to your breath. This is a simple mindfulness exercise that reduces stress and promotes well-being. Another mindfulness activity is sitting with your child and talking about what they observe with their five senses. For example, asking your little one “What do you smell?” or “What textures do you feel with your hands?” Then let them answer, and dialogue together about what they observed.
These days, it’s so easy to simply text our friends when we wish to communicate, but have you tried calling or using FaceTime or Skype to connect, recently? Sometimes a slow day at home is the perfect time to pick up the phone and connect in a deeper, more meaningful way with a family member. We like to use snow days to call our parents, so that our kids can have an extended FaceTime/Skype experience with their grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa can get a window into the kids’ day, and it brightens their day as much as ours to see each other’s smiling faces and hear one another’s voice. Not only do you get to improve your mood, but you can help them beat the winter blues too. Win win!
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