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Family Fun in the Freezing Cold
By: Permanent Substitute Arika White
Living in St. Louis provides our families with four beautiful seasons throughout the year. The ever-changing temperature allows children to engage in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. However, once the rush of the winter holidays is finished and February rolls around, the cold weather can seem never-ending. How can we plan family activities that keep children engaged with the threat of snow, freezing temperatures and dangerous conditions?
Here are a few family-friendly activities that can turn a frosty day stuck indoors into an opportunity for everyone to have fun and learn a thing or two.
- Plan a Meal Together — As a family, create a shopping list and price out items. This is a great opportunity to talk about budgeting and “smart shopping.” Weather permitting, take a trip to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Point out the difference between fresh foods and packaged foods and the nutritional values of each item. Now let the fun begin! Wash, chop and measure the ingredients. Children can even list out the steps and illustrate them to create a family cookbook. Once the meal is prepared, enjoy!
- Stimulate the Senses — For younger children, pour coco powder, shaving cream or colorful sand onto a tray or counter. Have the children use their fingers to practice their letters, names, spelling words for the week or create beautiful pictures. If using shaving cream, add powdered food coloring or washable paint to explore what happens when you mix different colors.
- Explore Direction — For children who love trains, cars and trucks, help them design a unique and intricate racetrack or road system to use with their favorite mode of transportation. Simply clear an area on the floor and provide masking tape to outline the roads. This project is simple, but it helps children create and explore direction. They can challenge siblings and friends by writing out a list of directions to a mystery location and seeing who is able to accurately follow them.
- Engineer a Fort — Encourage creative builders to map out and design a fun fort. Children can list the necessary supplies and construct a model before building. Once the blueprint is complete, the children can create the fort with siblings or friends.
- Inspire Creativity — Artistic children will love making their own paint. There are numerous simple, inexpensive and non-toxic paint recipes. Younger children may enjoy making the “salt and flour” paint recipe. This recipe calls for ½ cup flour, ½ cup salt and ½ cup water. You can even explore measurement with your child while creating. Once the ingredients are combined, add their favorite color of food coloring. Older children may enjoy creating more complex recipes, which can be found online.
There are endless indoor activities that can incorporate hands-on learning, creativity and fun. Avoid relying on technology to keep your children busy and engaged during inclement weather. According to a study conducted by the University of Rhode Island, the overuse of technology can limit a child’s gross motor development and lead to health, weight and attention issues. Use a chilly or rainy day to help your children explore play and learning beyond the use of technology.