Beating the Winter BLAHS as a Family
02/18/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene
The holidays are over, even Valentine’s Day has come and gone. And for most of us winter continues on, unless you are fortunate to live in warmer climates. Lucky You!
For those of us still searching for sunshine and hope of warmer weather, here’s 12 ideas to help pass the time as you wait. I know this time of year creativity and motivation can be scarce - I speak from personal experience! However, enjoying family time is a great way to create memories that will last forever.
- Game Night: Ah, yes. You’ve heard that suggestion before, right? And I’m sure your family has some old standards they love. But why not liven things up a bit? Search "Minute to Win It Ideas" for creative games that often use things you have around the house. These games will get everyone involved and giggling. In my recent search for games, I found one called the Flour Game. It looked like some silly fun. There is a reason games have lasted as a favorite. The right ones get everyone involved and having a good time.
- Movie Night: This is a Friday night standard at our house and it also requires pizza! We all converge in the family room, cuddled in blankets, and decide on a movie. This definitely teaches negotiation and diplomacy. Netflix, Movies on Demand, Amazon Prime Videos, and countless other sources offer all kinds of movie options. It takes a while to search out available and interesting movies. Then the fun begins as we all start voting and bartering for our movie pick. In the end, we must come to a general agreement because no one wants to watch a movie that half the audience is uninterested in. Add pizza or popcorn and maybe some treats, lower the lights, and enjoy the show.
- Outdoor Fun: Get your heart pumping and go out for a hike or sledding. Or maybe it’s a family event of shoveling snow – we’ve had a few of those. Fresh air and exercise can really help fight against cabin fever. When everyone is cold and tired, head inside for hot chocolate and cookies. Create a hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows, whipped cream, crushed peppermints, caramel sauce, and sprinkles.
- Jar Full of Blessings: This idea will take a bit of prior planning, but it is super simple and easy. Find a jar – any jar will do. Place it in a central location, for us that would be the kitchen. Ask family members to feed the jar once a day with a piece of paper on which they have written something good about another family member. It can be something they appreciate about that person, something thoughtful that was done for them, or why they love that member. Anything will do, but it must be kind! Once a week go through the jar as a family and share what’s written on the papers. Your spirits will be lifted and your hearts will be full of gratitude.
- Craft Night: This one may not work for everyone. I get it. I have one child that LOVES crafts, the more glitter, glue and puff balls the better. I have another one that feels crafts are a punishment and should be avoided at all costs. If this activity is that you find interesting, check out Pinterest for some fun ideas, gather the goodies, and get crafting!
- Start a New TV Series: We enjoy having a go-to TV series that we can watch as a family. Again, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others offer great family entertainment for the price of a monthly subscription. Don’t forget your local public library as a free resource! Depending on the age of your children you can find a series you’ll all enjoy. The Andy Griffith Show offers timeless enjoyment, The Twilight Zone is mind-bending fun, and lately we’ve been rediscovering the X Files and Seinfeld with our teenagers.
- Jigsaw Puzzles: This pastime is one of my all-time favorites! Jigsaw puzzles have been around forever and for good reason. Everyone can take part, puzzles are relatively inexpensive, they are challenging, and there is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment when you’re done. And then, you can store it away and do it again next year!
- Coloring Night: For ages we have loved to color. It’s calming and can be shared activity or done independently. The recent popularity of coloring books for adults proves that this hobby is timeless. Make copies of the same picture and see how each member of the family colors it in with their own style. Or just let everyone pick their favorite picture and unwind for a bit.
- Read Out Loud: This is a terrific way to spend time together and get those imaginations humming. Pick out a book that everyone will enjoy and then take turns reading or designate a reader. Let your mind follow along as the timeless characters embark on adventures. Some classic favorites: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Lion, The Witch and, the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, or The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Create Your Own Restaurant: If you went out to eat what would you order? Is this something you can make at home? Plan a meal, find the recipes, go grocery shopping, and prepare the meal as a family. You can have teams that are in charge of each part of the meal so no one is stuck doing all the hard work. If you have a budding artist in-house, perhaps they can create a menu. The entire family will work together and then enjoy a delicious dinner that they prepared.
- Feed the Birds: When everything is frozen and snow covers the ground, our feathered friends have a harder time finding food. If you have bird feeders already out, fill them with food and watch to see what types birds come to the feeder. Or go online and find out how to make your own feeders. Notice what time of day certain birds arrive. Experiment with different types of food to see which birds prefer the different foods.
- Start a Garden: Soon the weather will turn warmer, I promise! Why not get a head start on your garden right now? Find flowers or vegetables that you’d like to grow. Buy seeds and some potting soil and you can start them indoors. You can use an empty egg carton or you can purchase a seed starter kit, sow the seeds and then watch. Day by day, sprouts will emerge and grow. When the plants are ready and the weather is warm, you will have a ready-made garden you can plant outside!
What are some of your sure-fire ways to beat the winter doldrums? If you’re willing to share I’m more than happy to read!
Best wishes and stay warm!
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