The rush and excitement of the holidays are over and the dropping temperatures have most likely forced your family to spend a good portion of their time indoors. And we all know that bad attitudes can be contagious in cramped quarters. The good news is that there are plenty of great things to do indoors. Try a few of these ideas to keep the family entertained inside when the weather's not so good outside.
Arts & crafts — Now is the perfect time to pull out the arts and crafts supplies you've been hoarding all year. And even if you don't have a kit prepared, you would be amazed what you can make with items lying around the house. Gather things like crayons, markers, paints, empty paper towel tubes, buttons, feathers, old magazines and colored paper. The only limit is your imagination. Kids love making things with their own hands, so this is a great activity for them. The family can work together on a project, or each person can make his or her own to display in the "family art gallery."
Watch a new series — Start up the Netflix or Hulu subscription and choose a new age-appropriate movie or series and dive right in. If you don't have a streaming subscription, try the free on demand listings offered by your cable provider. The movies may be older, but I am certain you will find a few great titles, perhaps even ones you've never seen.
Play games — Thanks to technology, board games and card games seem like lost genres when it comes to the gaming world. But they are an absolute blast to play at any age. Have the family participate in games like Sorry, Connect 4, The Game of Life and Monopoly. This is a great way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.
Bake — It's baking season! Winter is the perfect time to practice your baking skills. Breads, cookies, casseroles and cakes are just a few of the yummy goods you can try your hand at. Bake something absolutely delicious, and let the kids help stir, measure and crack eggs. As an added bonus, most baked goods are freezer-friendly, which means you can make them now and enjoy them later.
Create an obstacle course — If you are stuck inside with the kids and are looking for something fun to do, this is it! Have the family (and a few friends) use their imaginations to create an indoor obstacle course. Creating the course is only half the fun; once it's complete, everyone gets to run the obstacle course, too. The course can be as large or as small as your home will allow. Be creative and see what you can find around your home to use.
Indoor gardening — Bring a bit of the outdoors indoors and create a hearty garden with plants such as aloe vera, Gerber daisies, lavender and mint. These types of plants are known to thrive indoors, providing you with a beautiful aromatic fragrance and aiding in improving the air quality throughout your home. Gardening is known to be a stress-relieving activity, which makes it perfect for winter since many seem to experience an increase in stress and depression during the winter months.
Indoor camping — Camping is usually out of the question during the cold winter months, but indoor camping is an awesome alternative. Pile pillows up and stretch blankets out over your pile to make the ultimate comfy fort. Your fort can be as big or as small as your space will allow. Add some child-safe flashlights or lanterns and a few giggly kids (and adults) and let the good times roll.
Redecorate — Use your creativity (and your boredom) to transform your home into your own private paradise. Enlist the family to help. Redecorating using color, patterns and borders is a great way to stimulate the mind and improve the overall appearance of your home. It can be as easy as applying a fresh coat of paint to outdated rooms or upcycling a few pieces of furniture using inexpensive materials.
Plan a vacation — Dreaming of warmer weather and family outings? Why not plan a family vacation? It doesn't have to be an extravagant vacation. Maybe it's a two-day weekend getaway or even a day outing. Whatever it is, take some time to get it reserved and put it on the calendar. Having something to look forward to may go a long way toward combating the winter blues.
Whatever it is that you do, stay safe, stay warm and enjoy the quality time that you have with each other.
Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.