Wintertime can be tough on a family. When young kids are stuck inside because the weather is cold, snowy or just plain dreary and wet, they’ll most likely end up with a case of cabin fever. You know it when you hear it — whining, bickering and letting loose the most dreaded sound of all: “I’m bored!” Fear not! I’m here to give you 5 Ways to Play Inside with your Kids this Winter.
Though you may have a million chores on your to-do list, it’s not enough just to plop your kids down with a new toy or game and leave them to play on their own. Interactive social play improves kids’ cognitive functioning, and a recent study shows that 75 percent of parents are actively engaging in indoor play with their children.
What are you waiting for? Here are five fun ideas to take indoor playtime with your kids to the next level this winter.
Let’s Play Pretend!
The beauty of playing with your kids is that you don’t actually need anything but an open mind to do it — they’re sure to come up with creative ways to turn stuffed animals into friends and foes and furniture into islands of adventure.
Pretend play has a big positive impact on cognitive development, so follow your kids’ lead. If they want to be princes and princesses while you are the ogre, relish the role! If your kids need a little help getting started, a basic kit like a play kitchen or doctor’s bag might be enough to get the ball rolling.
Dance Party, U.S.A.
Sometimes you just need to work out the kinks after several days of bad weather keeps everyone indoors. Move the furniture back against the walls, turn on the favorite tunes and let everyone boogie to their heart’s content. This is a great way to get exercise when it is cold out, and you can have fun creating new dance moves together.
Old-Fashioned Game Night
There’s a reason board games still fly off the shelves at toy stores — they’re a blast! There’s a great board game for even the youngest kids, and sitting down to play together can teach important social skills like good sportsmanship and rule following. Games based on chance like “Sorry” or “Uno” are good at helping high-strung kids accept bad luck, while “Monopoly” and “Life” can let older kids hone their math skills.
This is a quiet game that gets your family working together creatively. Sit in a circle and have someone start to tell a story — it’s usually easiest to have an adult begin the first time out. Set a timer for about 30 seconds. When the timer interrupts the storyteller, he or she must stop talking, even if it’s mid-sentence. The story passes to the player on the right, who picks up where the story left off. Play continues until the story has come to a satisfactory ending.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Kids love to see themselves on screen, so put that iPad to better use by making a movie starring your kids! Have them everyone work together to decide on a basic story to act out, and let them dress up in costumes and practice a few times. Though an adult should probably do the filming, older kids might enjoy learning to edit or at least helping to choose the title sequence or soundtrack music. Make some popcorn to enjoy during the debut!
No matter what you decide to do to make this winter a little more fun, the most important thing is that your family plays together rather than in separate corners. What will you play together first?
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