5 Mothers On Go-To Winter Activities For The Kids

I’m writing this on quite possibly the coldest day of the year. We have gone through so many puzzles and so many cups of coffee. I used to welcome winter weather as a reason to hibernate and rest but with little people with very different agendas, these days while short in sunshine can feel particularly long. I asked five women who I admire for their laid back and playful approach to parenting to share their sanity saving ideas on winter days with little ones.

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Svenja O., mother to two, New York, NY

Karma Kids Toddler Yoga on Saturday mornings is the best way to start a weekend. We’ll also visit Union square Play for open play and hang out for hours at Barnes & Nobles Union Square.

All the puzzles and drawing. We bought a HUGE pack of this thick paper you use to cover the floor for painting (home depot) so we draw landscapes for cars, life-size Tilly’s, etc. In general a trip to Home Depot or Michaels will usually yield some crafting materials - especially, pompoms (for sorting in muffin tray), 3d stickers, etc. For sticker activities, take a look @busytoddlers!

Olivia M., mother to three, Chicago, IL

As evidenced by my IG, I love baking and decorating sugar cookies with my boys. Because it’s a multi-step process that requires some breaks in the action (to chill the dough, bake, let cool, etc) it gives the boys down time to play too which means they don’t lose focus when we return to our activity. If we need to get out and it’s too cold to be outdoors there are a couple nice conservatories in Chicago that are fun to run around. And seeing all the greenery inside is a good morale boost in the winter!

Jaclyn M, mother to two, Boston, MA

With kids ages 1.5 years and 4.5 years old, I keep these activities in my back pocket for when the playing gets a bit aggressive! They each last about 20 minutes.

  • Window stickers, which I find in the dollar bin Target

  • Give them diaper wipes and let them "clean" 

  • More STICKERS 

  • Baking - we’ll make avocado, chocolate chip muffins 

  • Watering the plants in the house

I also move certain toys into different rooms in the house before the kids are up in the morning because I find that a change of scenery drastically changes the energy. For example: play houses are all in the basement, blocks, magna tiles and building toys are in the playroom upstairs, puzzles are in the living room, arts and crafts are in the dining room.

Jackie C., mother to one, Brooklyn, NY

We have been trying to do more family dance parties, where we do silly moves and dance around the house. It gets us moving and helps switch things up between regular toys and games. Our apartment is also pretty small so anything that gets us moving around and jumping around can shake things up, burn some energy and then make other activities feel 'newer' after.

We do puppet shows, really silly and unplanned ones, but get his animals out and just pretend they are doing things and we are doing things - like fishing, or having a day at the beach, Ryan gets into it sometimes and does his own, and I like that he is using his imagination and that we are creating different experiences and 'realities' in the same room which in my mind helps instill the idea that with imagination and perspective anything can feel new and be what you want it to be.

I mean, television. Netflix Kids and Amazon Prime have some really great and fun shows for kids that are actually visually interesting with stop motion graphics and things. We watch them together and call it family movie time, and even though I sort of feel guilty about it, it is nice because it quiets things down and we all snuggle up and take it easy.

And also just a quick walk around the block to get a bubble tea or muffin or something, run an errand and run down the streets like we are airplanes or dinosaurs. Something for fresh air and then that very quickly makes us want to go back home and start over playing in the house.

Playdates at other friends houses too, or museums - we want to do more of that.  

Daniella, mother to one, Brooklyn, NY

Oh Winter! We went from a screen free household to a Daniel Tiger addicted one. (I gotta say though, that Daniel has taught our little dude so much. Today he peed in the potty cause of an episode he just watched!!) I’m really hoping we can just go out and play at the park as usual moving forward. Bundle up and enjoy nature and fresh air. My kid does so much better when he’s OUT than when we’re cooped up which has been the case since we’ve all been under the weather. We were business as usual this weekend: play dates and restaurants with some early morning Daniel Tiger cuddles which felt great. 

We’ll take all the ideas! What do you have going on in your homes during cold season?