1. I was actually shocked to learn that one of our local museums offers one Saturday a month, where families can visit for free. It is such an amazing thing! I did some research, and I discovered that many museums and activity centers offer similar opportunities. Some offer free or discounted admission on specific days of the month. Some offer this all year round, and others just during the Summer. A few have a few days of the year, usually during the Summer and Holiday Season, where you can get in for free. I have even found some local amusement park type places, which has special days, where they are steep discounts. When looking into this post, I did some Google searches for random places, and found similar offers there. So, I would honest hit up Google and Facebook, search for the places that are local to you, and see what they offer. I am so excited, that our local museum lets us visit for free every first Saturday. Also, I am going to make a serious offer... If you have trouble finding anything in your area... Reach out to me. I will use my detective skills, and find stuff for you. I am not even joking! If I cannot find anything, I will call/write some of your local places, and suggest doing a similar program there, if possible!! Yes, I am serious.
2. Have you jumped on the Kindness Rock craze?! Yes?! No?! Well, in case you do not know... Someone decided to paint rocks with inspirational sayings, cute pics, and words of kindness. They hide them around town, and when people find them, they can keep them or hide them again. How it is supposed to work, is if you keep the rock you find, you paint a new rock and hide it, to replace the one you took out of rotation. It has spread all over the world. We have it here where we live, and we participate. We have not found many, granted we never seem to remember to look. However, we love to paint rocks. It is a fun way to pass the time. Then when we are out, we will just leave them around wherever we go. We tend to try to hide them outside of places, to avoid any security issues. We have been blessed to have some beautiful ones painted for us. They are special, and we will keep them, but we also try to paint special ones for others to find. I promise you, I will share some pictures of the rocks we paint on my Facebook page ASAP. I will also be posting some pictures of bowls we are painting also. More about that later.
So, listen... Painting is fun. It can also be expensive. One of the biggest expenses is the canvases. So, why not paint rocks?! You can find them outside on walks, and clean them, dry them, and paint them. You can write on the bottom, hide them, and have fun. I recommend looking up the name of the place you live and rocks... So for me.... Manteca Rocks... On Facebook.... Chances are, your town/area has at least one rock group. So you would write on the bottom of your rock, something like "Post to FB MyTownRocks Group (whatever the name of your group is) then hide or replace!" For our rocks they say "Post to Manteca Rocks on FB! Have a great day! JMB" or the ones that Gigi paints has her initials and Age 4. It is cheap and fun. You can paint/color them with just about anything. Just make sure you seal them with Mod Podge or another sealant. Then you can hide them. You could even just create a rock garden in your yard, or gift them to people who need a smile. We have a few businesses here, who have created rock gardens outside, and people have helped grow them into beautiful displays of local creativity! Kids paint, parents paint, grandparents paint! People create the most awesome rocks!
So, I highly recommend finding some rocks.... You can even do bricks and slate. You can get the at Lowe's or Home Depot or Osh or at garden centers. Rocks can be bought so cheaply, and even gathered up for free. Then just clean them, and you have hours of fun ahead of you. If you do this, or if you have done this, I would absolutely love for you to show me pictures. I would love to show them to Gigi as well. She LOVES looking at pictures of rocks. So, go to my Facebook page, and post away. In fact, I may even just do an entire post about rock painting, and if you guys share your pictures with me, and do mind me sharing them (with full credit given to you), then I will!!
Also, it goes without saying that you do not have to paint rocks. You can paint on canvas, or do water colors/finger paints on paper. Depending on your house rules, walls make for a great canvas, and can be changed out every so often. If we had our own home, complete with a playroom, we would totally have a wall in there for Gigi to paint as she wished. I am sure as her interests change, the wall would change. I have even seen it where people paint a wall with chalkboard paint, and then just decorate it with chalk regularly. Or you can hang a large sheet of wood paneling on the wall and paint it, and change it out whenever you want to change the design. Also, plain t-shirts and fabric paints are FUN!
Coloring is awesome! Drawing is awesome! Anything arts and crafts, are fun ways to pass days stuck inside!! Another option is to find a local pottery painting place. They are everywhere and so much fun!! Paint parties are fun, and I find that most places has at least one company that hosts them. They usually host them at local restaurants and party/event venues, and often have kid friendly options. You may even have the option of hosting one at your house, as a fun party option to pass a weekend with friends and family.
3. I want to mention something specifically, that we have done with Gigi, and she LOVES. It is fun, interesting, and easy. You will most likely need to do these with your kiddo, depending on their age. I am going to post a link to this product on Amazon. I do not receive any money if you click the link or buy it. I do not get paid to tell you about this product. It is just something I stumbled on, tried with Gigi, and we loved it. They have been life savers on days when I am not feeling well enough to go anywhere, and Gigi is craving some fun!! These are just fun science kits. Super creative. I think our absolute favorite one is the bouncy ball one. At this point, Gigi has asked me to buy her a ton more of the kits, so she can make the balls for her friends and family!
Scientific Explorer Kits.... We love them. We have made bouncy balls, made jiggly critters, made crystals... There are just so many things to do.
Dazzle Dino Crystals
Light Up Ice Putty
Mix N' Mold Putty
Hydro Super Sand
Mold N' Glow Mega Ball
Gelly Wiggle Bugs
Slime Science Mini Lab
Disgusting Science Kit
Like I said, there are so many options. We find that this company is affordable, fun, and a good quality. Some of them take more patience than others, but they are all fun. So, I highly recommend them. If you do try them, I hope you love them as much as we do!!
If you look on Amazon (and I have even seen them on Zulily), you will find so many options for science experiments and fun science projects. This is definitely one of our favorite, and easiest ways to have fun inside. I also love that Gigi can learn while she has fun. I have been looking more into other kits to try, and I have discovered they really have kits that cover all areas of Science, and kits that are for a wide range of ages. So, I am sure you will easily find kits that will work well for your family!!
4. I recently did a spur of the moment thing, and it has been an awesome thing. I moved a book shelf from my bedroom, into our living room. We call it Gigi's Library. Most of her books are on it. She still has a few on her book shelf in her room, but most are not in my living room. It has actually been a good change. Before, they were in my living room, but laying on random surfaces. Now, they have a home. Also, for some reason, Gigi having her own library excites her. So, I am planning on doing more with it. She has her desk next to the library, and a toy box between the two. We have limited space, but I want to create a more structured library zone. I want to incorporate her desk. I want to use her comfy (dog) bed as seating. Plus, she will have the desk chair. I want to create an actual reading time. I want to do it daily. We do it nearly every day now, but I just want it to be a bit more structured. She has a wall area above her desk. I want to hang a bulletin board there, and just really create her own zone. Maybe you already have a library zone in your home, and if you do, I would love to see pics. I am still looking for ideas! If you don't, I think it is worth looking into. I know that Gigi has always loved reading time, but now that she has this library, her love has intensified. Plus, it has helped me really buckle down and increase our structured reading time. I will post pics, once I have made actual progress.
I just bought a bulletin board, to use as my vision board, and I think it will be perfect for her library. So, I plan on buying another one, and creating actual bulletin board designs. I will change it every other week, or monthly. I want to decorate it, and incorporate things that have to do with what is going on. For example, for this month, I could have designed it for Black History Month. For the second design, I could have designed in for Valentine's Day. I think it will be fun, and I can find ways to include her in the decorating of the bullet in board.
This one is actually a two part idea. So, yes, I wanted to encourage an in home library, and reading time on bad weather days. I also wanted to tell you, if you don't already, look into your local library's monthly schedule. I am fairly positive you will find they have activities scheduled, that will be a perfect way to pass the time, on bad weather days, in the warm, safe comfort of your local library.
Our library has events for kids and adults. Many local clubs also hold their meetings there. We have some events that happen weekly, others that are monthly, and others that are less often (one time only, yearly, every few months, or even seasonal).
Many of the events are educational, and others are just completely for fun. I find that our library offers a wide range of awesome activities. We even have some mom groups, quilting groups, and art groups that have clubs there. It is just so much goodness in one building. So, yes, I highly recommend looking into what your library has to offer.
5. So, this one is a mix. It is of something currently available to me, and of something that was once available.
So, the YMCA... Do you have one? We do not have one in our town, but I did have a few around in Buffalo, New York, when I lived there. They have lots of options for activities. Most have a gym, and so working out is always an option. I found that the gyms are kid friendly, and if your kiddo does not want to do gym stuff, but you do, chances are they have options to keep your kiddo entertained, while you get your gym on.
They also have so many options. The one I went to in Buffalo offered everything from the gym, to tutoring, art classes, self defense classes, poetry club, and various other awesome things. The Y tends to be very affordable, and they have lots of no cost options, as well have scholarships for most of the activities they offer.
If you don't have a YMCA near you, you may have a Boys and Girls Club. They won't have things for you, but they offer so much for kids, much of the same things that the Y tends to have available. If you have neither of these, I recommend calling your City Hall or Mayor's Office. They should be able to give you the number for your town's Community Center/Senior Center/Recreation Department. They should offer things.
We are blessed here. Our Recreation Department, Senior Center, Chamber of Congress, and City Government offer us so many activities throughout the year. We have festivals and fun events. There is nearly always something going on at our Senior Center, Library, or Community centers. So, definitely look into this, if you haven't already. You may be shocked at just how much is available.
Also, if you want to do something physical, many gyms offer child care and/or classes geared towards kids. I know several of our gyms here offer Zumba, martial arts, self defense, and other exercise classes for kids. Some of the gyms offer it daily, and others offer it at special times/days. So, if you want to go this route, it won't hurt to call/visit your local gyms, and see what is offered. With many of the gyms, the child activities are included in member or are available for a small fee. Gigi loves dancing so much, that I am seriously considering getting her involved with Zumba. I think I will wait to see how her first soccer season goes, and go from there.
6. This one will obviously be dependent upon what your area has. Here we have a place called Big League Dreams. It is a sports venue, that offers indoor sports leagues. It is mostly for indoor soccer and baseball/softball. There are leagues for kids and adults. People love it. Outside people can watch the games. They have tournaments and it draws large crowds. It does cost money. If your have something similar where you are, it could be worth looking into, especially if you have a kid who loves sports. It offers the option to play sports all year long, since it has inside playing fields. (Some are outside fields, which isn't a problem here, since we never get snow, and rain is also rare) Googling indoor sports venue couldn't hurt. We also have some others around here, that offer things like rock climbing, volleyball, tennis, rugby, and various other sports. We even have a few indoor golf parks.
Also, if your town is anything like ours, you probably have indoor laser tag, paintball, trampoline, skydiving, and bowling nearby/in town. Whenever we are getting cabin fever, I always forget about these options, and then when I remember them, it is like a total hallelujah moment. They are fun, indoor options.
7. Two words: Board Games. I think this one is a big old duh. I just wanted to share a few of our favorite games. Again, I am going to post some links to games we have and love. I do not get anything if you click the links or buy the games. I have not been paid to suggest these. These are just games we love, and just in case you have maybe never heard of them, I wanted to show them to you. Who knows, I may just introduce you to your next favorite game. Also, please, if you love a particular game, that I have not listed, let me know about it! I am always looking for new games!!
Apples to Apples This one is so much fun and has various different options. Some of them are kid friendly and others are more gear towards adults.
Beat the Parents This one has other versions as well. The Disney version is super fun! They are all awesome. They even have a card game option. This one will give you hours of entertainment.
5 Second Rule Another one with multiple versions. Some are for kids and some are for adults. This is one of our most favorite ones. It is just so much fun!
Reverse Charades This is super fun!! It is the beloved game of charades with an interesting twist!!
Farkle If you love Yahtzee or dice games, you should love this fun dice game!!
4 Kids Card Games Tin This convenient bundle includes the games of Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy 8's, and War. We have so much fun with this!! We have nearly worn out the decks of cards, and we will need to replace them soon. So many hours of fun!
Skip-Bo Junior I absolutely love this kid friendly option of one of my favorite card games! I cannot wait for Gigi to grow into the adult version, so we can just enjoy this for years. I have loved this game since I was a kid, and God willing, I will one day play it will grand kids.
HedBanz I had no clue what this game was, but a few years ago, I needed more games for Embee's Christmas gifts, and I bought it. I am glad I did. It has proven to be a fun game.
Some other games we LOVE, and are favorites of mine: Life, Scrabble, Jenga, Operation, and Pick Up Sticks. I plan on introducing Gigi to Monopoly soon. I think it is a bit early, but she loves to play on teams, so I figure we can play with one of us as her teammate, and one of us as the opponent. It should be fun!
8. Movies/Netflix. So, I just recently decided to create a movie bucket list for our family. Obviously, Gigi won't have much input now, but eventually I suspect she will have lots of movies she wants to add. I just want to create a list of movies for us to watch together. I have some movies I should have watched as a child, that I still have not seen. Well, I figure it is even better to watch them as a family. So, create a bucket list. Movies you have never watched, but want to see, add in some that you have seen, but want to make sure your loved ones see them also. Then go through the wonderful movie journey together. Every snow storm can bring you closer to completion, though you will probably add more as time goes on.
I honestly feel that watching movies together, is a great way to pass the time. It is fun. Throw in the occasional trip to the local theater, and you will have so many fun memories made together.
9. You will probably think I am nuts for this one, but I am very serious. This one is not so much fun, as it is necessary. Though, I am sure you could find ways to make it fun. Chores. Cleaning. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, organizing, sanitizing, etc etc. I think it is important for kids to know how to clean properly. I think it is important for kids to understand the importance of cleanliness and organization. So, if you are stuck inside all day, why not make things clean. Plus, if you get it done on the day you are stuck inside, on the day when going outside or traveling is possible, leaving won't be an issue, because you have done the necessary chores. I know, if we are out doing something, and I have a chore waiting to be done at home, I tend to catch myself thinking about how I should be home doing chores, and it puts a damper on my fun. I am also secretly hoping, if we start Gigi doing chores young, once she is older, she won't be so against doing them. It would also be nice to have a teenager with a clean room. Miracles happen, right?
10. Cooking. I struggle with letting Gigi help in the kitchen. I worry she will get hurt, and I worry about sanitation. However, I am getting better at letting go of control, and letting her have fun. If it were up to her, she would probably help with every meal we eat. I am not there yet, but maybe one day. I was thinking recently, that if she still has this interest in cooking, once she is older, I may just let her prepare dinner once a week. Just let her plan and prepare the entire meal. I think it would be a nice tradition, plus, it will help her be prepared for when she is on her own.
She has helped in different ways. Sometimes she helps add ingredients to the pot/pan/Crock pot. Sometimes she helps with finishing touches. Sometimes she helps with stirring. Sometimes she helps decorate baked goods. It varies what she does, and so far, she loves all the things she has been able to help with. I think if you asked her, what her favorite thing is, she would absolutely say helping to bake and decorate cakes and cookie pizzas.
If ever you find yourself wanting to cook with your kid, but not knowing what to make, feel free to reach out to me. I have a huge collection of kid friendly recipes, and I would happily help you figure it out!!
So, there you have it. Ten things you can do inside, when the weather outside is frightful! What would you put on your list of inside activities for cold winter days?! I would love to hear your ideas!!
Do not forget to check out the other awesome posts, in this round up of Winter activities! I am going to get a cup of coffee and meet you there!!
Links to the other posts in this Winter Activities Round-up:
Karen of Baking In A Tornado