Winter weather can sometimes turn into snow, sleet, rain or bitter chill. Depending on where you live, this can lead to a fun day of sledding outside in the freshly fallen snow, or staying indoors where the climate is warm and dry. Rather than turning to electronics, the internet, video games, and television, how about some good old fashioned winter crafts and activities to keep the kids engaged and busy?
Check out these ideas that will gather the kids around the dinner table to spend time together in a creative way.
1. Paint Rocks
Send the kids outside for a few minutes to scout for a few smooth rocks that they could Paint on. If you don’t have any, then bundle up and head out on a quick scouting hike. Keep your eyes open for some smooth surfaces that paintings would look nice on. If you live near a beach, opt for shells!
Bring them inside and wash them off. Dry items completely before starting to paint.
Gather a few tubes of acrylic paint, find an old plastic tray or tub, and squirt a few puddles of paint for them to use. Make sure everyone wears aprons to protect clothing.
You could focus on one particular theme such as “the seasons,” “flowers,” “bugs,” or “all things outer space.”
If the ground is covered in snow, let the rocks sit on the windowsill until winter has passed. But if you’re in the southern climates, then head outside and place them around your favorite tree. Or perhaps have the kids lay them in the flower pots or beds. They will always remind you of that sweet day spent inside on a cold winter day.
2. Make Beeswax Candles
The long-practiced craft of making beeswax candles is so calming. The scent put off by this natural wax is said to ionize the air, and it is also beautiful when burning.
Making candles may sound intimidating, but don’t let it be. This could be a project that is extended over a few weekends, where you embrace the entire process of candle making.
How to make candles
- Purchase wax, wicks, a mold, and a pouring pitcher pot.
- Fill a large soup pot halfway up with water. Put the wax in the pitcher pot and place the pot inside the coup pot. Once the water begins to boil, the wax will begin to melt too.
- Have your children set up the mold or the tea light holders and place the wicks inside. Using caution, pour the wax candles once the wax is melted. If your kids are teenagers, they can do this themselves. If they are ten years or younger, it may be best do this this for them.
- Save electricity and turn off the lights the same night you make them! Light up the night with your candles instead.
- You can spend this time doing some reading aloud with your younger ones, or simply just talking with your teens.
3. Paint at the Table
Gather some watercolor paper, or a few small canvases, and sit around the table together to paint. Perhaps you can put together a still life arrangement using items from your winter garden like leaves or barren twigs with berries.
Have everyone draw or paint from their perspective what they see. Even young children can participate! This uses no electricity, and keeps them off their iPads.
4. Bake Family Recipes
Is there an old family recipe you’ve never made with your children? For me, it would be oodles of recipes from my grandmother that I have never made with my daughters.
Take a day indoors by hanging out in the kitchen.
Start baking in the mid morning, and enjoy a warm cake, pudding, muffin, or other treat by the time afternoon tea (post lunch) rolls around. You can make an event of it by making hot tea and hosting a full-blown tea party.
5. Hold a Game Tournament
What’s your families favorite game to play? Uno? Go Fish? Seven Card Draw? Dominoes? Round up the crew and draw some guidelines to form a tournament.
Perhaps the best of 5 games gets to pick what’s cooked for dinner! Or perhaps the winner doesn’t have to put away the dishes that night.
6. Make Modeling Clay
This is a great project for kids aged 2 to 85!
How to Make Homemade Modeling Clay
- Gather up 4 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of salt, and 2 cups of water. For colored dough you can add food coloring to the mix once it is kneaded.
- Combine flour and salt, and add the water little by little. You don’t want to over water it, otherwise you’ll end up with a sloppy mess. Knead it and mix it constantly. Put a little vegetable oil on your hands before taking the dough out of the bowl.
- To make different colors of dough, divide the dough up, put a few drops of food coloring into each and knead thoroughly. This is best done on parchment paper so you don’t stain your counters or wooden butcher block. Keep kneading until you’ve achieved the saturation of color you want.
- You can keep the dough wrapped in plastic wrap and in a tupperware container in the fridge to keep it fresh.
7. Camp Indoors
When’s the last time you pitched the tent? Why not bring it inside for the little ones?
Set it up in the living room or game room and watch your kids suddenly transform it into a magical castle, a store, or simply some “new place” where their imaginations soar without the use of electricity.
The older kids might also enjoy laying in there and reading a book. Sometimes we just need a new scene, and a tent can provide it easily.
Turn off the lights and let the little ones spend the night in there. They can read their bedtime stories by flashlight. It’s a memory you’ll have forever!