Family stuff to do at home in winter with small children?

Betsy - posted on 01/22/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )




My family is going stir crazy. We have a 3 year old and a 18 month old. In the summer time at night when my husband would get home from work we would play in the backyard or go for a walk, but in the winter we are just plain bored. We decided to cut out tv while the kids are awake so instead of my husband coming home and watching tv now he just gets on his laptop and does work stuff or surfs the internet. Not exactly what I had in mind for more family time. However, I am having a hard time coming up with anything really to do with them that my husband would also want to get involved in. When we could go outside he would swing them and play with them, but after working all day he doesn't really want to come home and play with kid toys inside all night and I don't really blame him. Is there anything more interesting that anyone has done with their little kids at night?


Stephanie - posted on 01/22/2010




We have a 3.5 year old and a 2 year old and having a routine really helps so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every night!! This is what we do on nights that we stay home (not church night / no activities out). When Dad gets home, he gives them his devoted attention for 15-30 minutes while I make dinner - it works wonders since they've missed him all day!! (If Dad needs time to himself now, the kids go to the table to color, play with pots/spoons, string cheerios, etc.) Then it's family dinner time. (Kids can snack or have dessert when their dinner time occasionally happens before family dinner time.) After dinner, we have 15-30 min of game time - great games include Memory, Candy Land, Lucky Ducks, play-doh, bean bag toss, bowling, legos, simple crafts...) Even if it feels strange at first, it's fun to be silly with them and will create many wonderful memories!! After that, mom and dad have "couch time" - 15 minutes where we talk (with no distractions) and the kids play around us. (As much as is possible, the kids should not be allowed to interrupt you. This is to teach them that mommy and daddy love each other and this is their special time.) After couch time is bath time while Dad has time to himself. Then it's reading and quiet play time until bed. Family story/prayer time is a great way to finish off the night and tuck them in together. (If the children go to bed at a relatively early hour 7:30-8:30 p.m., this will allow for mom and dad to have more time together or time to themselves as needed to focus on the many Other important areas of their lives!)

If you're looking for activities out, consider the Library, kids play area the local mall, and simply running the aisles of Wal-Mart looking at toys and messing around!

Hope you find some ideas that work for you!

[deleted account]

Hi! We have a 3 year old and 14 month I completly understand!! We are "outside people" too :) The winter is awful!! I know you said you cut out TV (we limit ours also) but we started to doing a Friday night pizza and a movie night as a family. Sometimes we even get a treat like popcorn for everybody :) We mark it on the calender with a picture of popcorn and they look forward to it!


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[deleted account]

I'm new to this site, but would like to throw in a few ideas :)

When my kids where small we would do all kind of "outdoor" things inside.

We played ball (using a soft ball that we would roll between us. great for the kids coordination too)

we would make pillow and blanket forts (sometimes even use soft small pom poms as "snowballs" and have fights)

Other than that there is the ususal...

drawing, painting, playing with play do (there are some great home made recipes out there that is totally safe for small kids even if they eat it)

And sometimes, taking the kids out in the dark can be a whole new experience fro them.

You could all craft little lanterns, and then walk an evening walk together in the darkness. I'm sure the kids would love it :)

Kristin - posted on 11/30/2013




My kids loved washing and drying their play dishes. Also, flour in a cooking dish with matchbox trucks is a great thing.

Kim - posted on 01/24/2010




There is nothing wrong with some TV. But I do try to shut it off after dinner so we can wind down and get ready for bed and story and my older kids' reading time. But there are a lot of things you can do. Playdoh; painting-water color, tempra, finger with just plain paper; water play or snow play, in a bucket; glueing-either glue sticks or regular glue for your older one, my kids always loved it, just tear up pieces of paper or leftover scraps from another project, or buy foam shapes; hide some objects-I used to cut out heart shapes or use plastic eggs from Easter; puzzle time; simple matching games(I only use a few pairs of cards for younger kids)-you can even make your own from stickers; my youngest used to love to just sit and roll a ball back and forth. I hope some of these help.

Kelly - posted on 01/24/2010




i have 5 children and i am a stay at home mommy my oldest who is 11 was diagnosed with adhd when she was four and bipolar when she was 6 and add on 4 more children and winter becomes hectic i leave my t.v. on the noggin channel best channel you can have when you got young ones we watch it all the time i would try to get some craft stuff age appropriate games even make up games use macoroni noodles and a string that will keep them busy there are lots of things to many to say

Adrianne - posted on 01/23/2010




One of my favorite things to do with the kids which are 5 and 2 is get a big box color the outside and make it a fort/castle This is so much fun takes hours and dad has to do the cutting of the box. Last time I just called the local sears and I got a washer and a dryer box. We connected them together. My 5 year old said it was her pet shop and sold stuffed animals out the window. The box can get in the way but when you are ready just recycle it.

Betsy - posted on 01/23/2010




Thanks, these ideas really help a lot. Movie night has went over well before as well as doing something special like making cookies etc. I think that I should make a routine and write it down so that I get used to always doing the same thing and so do the kids. I think it would also make my husband look forward to family time as well if we all kind of knew what was expected. Thank you!!

Jamie - posted on 01/22/2010




We set up a routine our 2 1/2 yr old loves to help so while I'm having down time in my room after supper my husband an little one are stacking the dish washer and sweeping the floor. Then we have movie night kids choice, craft night, cooking night (were your young one gets to stir and mix with dad's help) I usually have two meals planned for cooking night like two oven meals.

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