Winter can be a tough time to entertain your kids. When the weather is frigid, you are probably stuck inside with lots of energy! But don't let the cold temps get you own.
Here are a few creative ways to keep your kids entertained inside - all tried-and-true by local parents.
This is always a fun way to spend an afternoon - grab chairs, pillows and blankets and create a large fort in the living room. This can also become the perfect spot for an indoor picnic and storytime.
(Jen, mom of 4-year-old and 2-year-old boys)
You are never too young to start trying science projects at home. Kids love to try things themselves, and there are a lot of wonderful experiments that are great for all ages.
A few ideas from Jen, a high-school science teacher with two young sons:
Volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar: Build a base of a volcano using a cup and foil on a paper plate. Allow your child to add baking soda and food coloring to the volcano. Then count down to the eruption and dump in the vinegar for the "explosion."
Magic Milk Paint: Fill a pan with milk and place drops of food coloring on top of the milk. Then tap a q-tip coated in dish soap on the milk. The explosion is fun for kids and it's a great way to reinforce color identification.
Density Layer Cake: This experiment layers liquids based on their density. After gathering the ingredients and adding colors to the liquids, your child can pour them together and watch as they stay separated.
Borax Crystal Snowflakes: This involves a bit more adult involvement and boiling water, but the snowflakes make lovely decorations for your home during the winter months.
(Sarah, mom of 2-year-old and 1-year-old boys)
Get the wiggles out with a quick dance party! Turn up the music and pratice all your moves together.
If you worry about the mess after finger painting, this project's for you. In a plastic Ziplock bag, add a few squirts of different paint colors. Your kids can use their fingers to spell their names or make pictures in the paint through the bag.
Best of all - no clean-up needed!
(Stephanie, mom of 4-year-old and 1-year-old boys)
Create an obstacle course throughout your home for your kids. They can practice climbing over chairs, crawling under tables and squeezing through tight spaces.
Splashing in the water isn't limited to summer days. Set up your child with a few bowls and cups at the kitchen sink.
Hide a treasure somewhere in your home and then create a treasure map for your child to find it. This is also a great time to break out your pirate vocabulary. "Yo-ho-ho."
(Brittany, mom of twin 2-year-old girls)
Glue a popsicle stick to a paper plate to use as a handle. Then, blow up a baloon and bounce between the "raquets." Count together and see how long you can keep the balloon from touching the floor.
Use plastic cups to set up your own bowling alley down the hallway. Have your kids help you practice keeping score and knocking over the pins.
(Kari, mom of 3-year-old boy)
Take out all those board and card games in your house and declare today a GAME DAY!
Encourage your kids to help you write a storybook of their own. You can write the words for them if they are young or older kids can practice writing on their own.
Even small children have imaginative ideas that would make great books. After writing out the story in a blank notebook or on sheets of paper, give your kids art supplies to illustrate.
(Bonus: These books make wonderful gifts for parents and grandparents.)
Pull out a roll of painter's tape and make a line throughout the house - down hallways, through rooms and back to the start. Encourage your kids to "walk the balance beam." Time them as they make their way around.
Kids love to receive letters in the mail. Start a pen-pal system with friends or family members. Give your kids a chance to write letters or draw pictures to the person. (Cousins, friends, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are usually game.)
Make play dough
Kids love to help make this playdough from three ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Plus, this version is actually legitimately edible - so you also have your next snack prepared.
Painting in the tub
Try your next finger-painting adventure in the bathtub. Kids can have all the messy fun they want, and you can clean-up the project with a soapy and sudsy bath.
Don't let the winter get you in a rut!
Try one of these fun ideas with your kids to help them burn off their extra energy without leaving the house!
And share your favorite ideas in the comments!