Baby, it’s freezing outside. When temperatures hold firmly at C-O-L-D, what can you do with restless kids? Here are 11 simple ways to kick up the fun indoors and out, keeping kids happy and parents sane!
Make Maple Candy
How sweet it is! Heat maple syrup and a bit of vanilla extract in a pan on the stove then pour onto a plate of clean, fresh snow. Curl up with the classic Little House in the Big Woods while you enjoy this old-fashioned treat.
Make paintings in the snow with food coloring and spray bottles. Fill plastic bottles — old washed-out Windex bottles work well — with water and drops of food coloring, one color per bottle, and graffiti the snow.
Make a Snow Globe
Little ones will love making homemade snow globes. Just hot or super glue a small toy like a snowman to the inside of a baby food jar lid then fill the jar with water, adding about a teaspoon of glycerin and glitter for fake snow. Glue lid shut and shake!
Challenge your neighbors to a snowman-building contest. Fastest or most creative wins — or everyone gets a prize!
Pick a Bouquet of Icicles
Round up icicles to use as a bouquet, wand or scepter for your favorite ice queen or kings and dash around the neighborhood on a magic carpet ride (sled).
Character Dinner (or Breakfast)
Here ye. Here ye. Come to the table dressed as your favorite storybook, movie or cartoon character. Pump up the fun by acting in character for the meal. Even serve food your special guests might eat, like carrots for Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit, gummy worms for Nemo or fancy tea for Cinderella. After dinner snuggle up with the featured movie or book.
Play Musical Mix-Up
Put disguises and costumes in a bag or box and sit in a circle passing it around to music. When the music stops, the person holding the bag closes his or her eyes, reaches inside and pulls out an item like an oversized pair of sunglasses, clown nose, or long formal gloves. They put on the item and pass the bag along as the music starts up again for another round of fun dress up. When everyone is costumed-up, continue the fun with freeze dance. Everyone dances to the music and when it stops, the last person to freeze exchanges a costume item.
Make Something Fishy
Cut the bottom off a two-liter bottle. Staple the end to create a fin, and use the top as a fishy mouth. Add a wiggle eye and paint your fish tropical colors.
Turn off all the lights and challenge the kids to a game of flashlight hide-and-seek.
Squirt shaving cream in a plastic bowl and add color with Color Fizzers True Color Tablets (which won’t stain like food coloring). Let the kids use paintbrushes to paint themselves clean.
Create an Indoor Kingdom
Build a castle out of old refrigerator boxes — appliance stores are always happy to donate. Three refrigerator boxes and a dryer box will build the perfect kingdom. Just fold for transporting then reassemble at home. Cut doors and windows with a box cutter — you can even add some castle trim and turrets if you are super handy. Paint with a thick house paint. Let dry and have fun all winter long in your secret realm.
Media personality and parenting expert Donna Bozzo, aka The Lady With The Alligator Purse, has appeared on TV shows and stations across the country including Today, ABC7 Chicago, Great Day Saint Louis, Veria Living TV, NBC5 Chicago, WGN-TV, You & Me, Good Day Chicago, Daytime, Good Morning Arizona, CBS2 Chicago, and The Morning Blend. Look for her upcoming book “What The Fun?!” (Penguin/Random House) out in May.
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