“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.” It’s now the shortest month of the year, daylight is still limited after the kids get off the school bus and it is downright cold. Can I just hibernate until spring? The thought fascinates me but is impossible with young children. My kids have ants in their pants and are always asking, “What are we doing today?” They are in constant motion.
Here are my five go-to family activity suggestions that can be done free or on the cheap:
[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]1[/fusion_dropcap]CAMPOUT INSIDE – Make a blanket fort. Take blankets and drape over chairs/sofas and use pillows as fodder. It’s a great way to get the kids’ blood pumping as they run around the house looking for all the blankets and pillows. Then play board games and do jigsaw puzzles and make indoor s’mores with hot cocoa for added family fun.
[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]2[/fusion_dropcap]SPRING CLEAN IN FEBRUARY NOT APRIL – Why not use your inside time to clean out closets and play areas. (Oh look, you found an unfinished painting, knitting, and scrapbook project, too!) Ask the kids to pick items of clothing that are too small or toys that they don’t play with any more to donate or sell. You can incentivize them by allowing them to keep the money they’d get from the sale. The kids aren’t just sitting around playing video games, they have a say in what stays and what goes, and all the movement warms the air in the house.
[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]3[/fusion_dropcap]TRY A FREE CLASS – Many places offer an incentive class or week to try their services before you make a long-term commitment. The winter is a great time for the kids to try something new (but be prepared to sign up if they love it.) Try a yoga, gymnastics, martial arts, painting or drama class. My kids also enjoy the free make-and-take classes at our nearby craft stores and home-improvement centers.
[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]4[/fusion_dropcap]USE ALREADY PAID FOR MEMBERSHIPS AND GIFT CARDS – Many gym memberships have free childcare and organized athletic activities for the kids. Children’s museums provide hours of indoor entertainment while stretching their imaginations. Cash in gift cards to kid-friendly restaurants, amusement centers, movies, bowling, bounce houses or trampoline parks. Grab a friend for yourself and enjoy adult conversation while the kids are entertained.
[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]5[/fusion_dropcap]TAKE A STROLL – Bundle up the kids and grab some hot cocoa for a walk downtown or on the many paved trails around Fredericksburg. Fill your lungs with fresh air and feel the sun on your face while getting some much needed vitamin D on a day with a glimmer of sunshine and above freezing temps.
Whether you stay inside or brave the cold for a change of scenery, don’t feel you have to spend money to entertain the kids. Memories can be made without spending money and kids are really thankful to just spend time with you.