Man, it's been cold lately! I can't sugar coat it- we've been having a tough time. My kids were incubated and born in the sunshine. They are incredibly miserable every time it gets cold, yet on the other hand, hate wearing sweaters, jackets and the like. The little one calls all clothing "shorts" and that's exactly what they would wear every single day if given the opportunity. So as the temperature has been dropping, we've had to make a new game plan for surviving the winter.
1- Indoor games and novel activities- We have been blessed to have been gifted numerous educational toys over the past several years: puzzles, matching, sorting, and simple board games have all made the rotation. A relic from the days I had a baby in the house and was worried about a choking hazard, we keep toys with small pieces on a higher shelf so that an adult has to bring them down. The bonus benefit is that we avoid the chaos (not to mention tripping hazard) of a million pieces all over the floor. In terms of keeping the activities novel: we cook and bake together, do little art projects using various materials, and I have them "help" with different chores around the house so that we're constantly doing something "new".
2- Go outside during the warmest part of the day- I'm a big believer in fresh air, and even a short break outside the home helps calm our cabin fever, but sometimes their little faces get so red, so quickly that we just can't have long excursions like we're used to. We try to go outside during the warmest, or at least sunniest, time of the day. Sometimes that means we only go out after nap time, for twenty minutes, but something is certainly better than nothing! Also, snowpants! We get them on every day so that there's no deliberation about it and they generally feel cozy enough to play at least a little.
3- Bath time as sensory play before (or after) dinner- My little guys are always getting messy! If it's not dirt from the park, then it's from their dinner yogurt drawings or some other explorations. Being in the water is a relaxing time for them, so even if we have been mostly indoors we run the bath. In time, we've come up with a slew of activities to make their water experimentation time unique: recycled plastic containers for pouring, foam cut outs for sticking to the walls, water paints/crayons, and of course traditional bath toys.
4- Museums, grocery shopping and play dates- When it's been a little less freezing (if you know what I mean), we do head out for longer treks. We have been visiting our local science museum very, very frequently. We obviously need to do some grocery shopping from time to time, and when everyone is healthy, we try to plan play dates. Unlike the summer time, when big adventures happen daily, a smattering of these keeps us going in between mostly at home days.
5- Screen time- It makes me cringe a little that I have to include this, since before we were hit with this thing called "winter" screen time rarely happened at our house. As it stands, sometimes Mama just needs a break from the non-stop activities.
In combination with reading, independent play, and our usual self care routines, these activities have helped us pass the days in a mostly enjoyable manner, and dare I say, practically enjoy the winter!