Fun with the Winter Blues: 6 Indoor Activities for the Family

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It looks like winter has finally arrived, and with it, a whole lot of snow, ice and cold. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of outdoor activities to do in Hamilton (click here for permitted tobogganing hills around the city), but sometimes, a cozy afternoon with hot chocolate and indoor activities is the perfect way to spend a weekend with your family. It doesn’t take much to create an afternoon of entertainment, and almost all of the materials required can easily be found in your home. With a little imagination and time, you and your family can build cities, create your own bowling alley or cross a bridge over top flowing lava.

 Building World’s Big & Small

Depending on what you’ve got laying around the house, building worlds can happen at your kitchen table or in your living room. Popsicle sticks, paper towel rolls, or tissue boxes can easily replace store bought building blocks. These random materials can also provide children with the freedom to decorate, paint and draw without having to worry about ‘ruining’, what are otherwise, expensive wooden or plastic toy blocks.

If you and your kids want to think big, large boxes, couch pillows and a few blankets can turn your living room into a secret hideaway. With a few flashlights, some books or a laptop, you can have a cozy, warm afternoon reading or watching your favorite movies.

 Puzzles

There are two ways to get your children to use their cognitive, creative and problem-solving skills with puzzles. The first, and most obvious way is to stockpile puzzles for such a day. Today, there are a wide-range of puzzles that can be bought either online or in store. From popular cartoon characters to natural landscapes, puzzle makers have made it easy to keep children engaged.

If you and your child are in the creative spirit and want to expand on the puzzle activity, get some cardboard or a Bristol board and have your children draw or decorate it. With a ruler and pencil, draw out the shapes of a puzzle and cut them with an ‘x-acto’ knife or scissors.

Dance, Dance, Freeze!

After being cooped up all morning, there is a good chance that at some point, you and the kids will need to burn off some energy. An easy, fun and quick way to ‘shake your sillies out’, is to put on your favorite songs, turn up the volume and dance until the music stops.

To add a bit more challenge to the game, make sure that everyone holds their pose when the music stops, if a player can’t, they have to wait until the next song!

Hide and Seek/Treasure Hunt

This is simply a classic, time-honored tradition passed down from kid to kid, generation to generation. The only thing needed to play hide and seek is ten fingers and a good hiding spot. For the more experienced players, the whole house is a hiding spot: closets, behind couches, between blinds or even the bathtub! For novices, the living room is usually a good training ground.

Take hide and seek to another level by re-imagining your home as a far-away place full of treasure and mystery. If you have any old pirate costumes left over from Halloween, dig them up! If not, pull out that questionable puffy shirt and baggy jeans as impromptu explorer clothes.

Use the layout of your home to create a treasure map and depict house plants as forests, bathtubs as caves, and beds as high mountains. Your treasure can be anything: chocolate, old jewellery, or coins.

Thunder Alley Indoor Bowling

Do you have a hallway, some plastic bottles, painters’ tape and an indoor ball? Perfect, you’ve got a brand new, state-of-the-art bowling alley right down the middle of your home. As always, you can have your kids decorate the ‘bowling pins’ with paint, construction paper or cut-outs of their favorite characters with print-outs from the internet.

Hot Lava Obstacle Course

Place pillows and blankets across your floor, and use the same painters’ tape and hallway that helped create your bowling alley, to build an obstacle course throughout your home. Incorporate couches and beds, children toys and carpets to add more features to your course. The only objective: avoid the lava!

These are only a few indoor ideas that you and your family could explore on a cold winter afternoon. With some imagination, loose materials, and time, your home could become a far-away land, art studio or bowling alley. Give these ideas a try, or come up with some of your own, and be sure to share your experiences by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram!

Paul Russumanno