Beat the Winter Blahs! 10 Ideas to Make Winter Fun

Beat the winter blahs

I live up north where there are two seasons:  blazing inferno and the frozen tundra.  Which is also known here as eternal winter.  There is rarely much in between.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing here in these parts.  If you have not experienced this phenomenon firsthand, consider yourself lucky!  For the rest of us, I’m here to let you know relief is on the way!

Another snowy day
Another snowy day…

Picture this… you are waking up to what feels like day 10,623 in a row of cold, dreary, blustery weather that has kept you stuck inside yet again.  Now for those of you have kids, also add in the bonus of kids going stir crazy.  And we all know that bored kids find ways to keep themselves occupied which usually involves being up to no good!  Recently, I was sitting in the kitchen staring out the window at the growing mound of snow blowing sideways in my backyard, and I started to brainstorm some totally out of the box ideas to bring back a little excitement to life!  This list can work with kids, a spouse or significant other, as a family, or even with your best friend.  Take a look through and save it for your next snowy day!

Trying to enjoy the snow
Trying to enjoy the snow

1.  Hide and Seek

If you’re stuck inside I always find hide and seek is a great way to liven things up!  My opposition is usually my three year old who makes things extra interesting; he always hides in the exact spot I just hid in and then is shocked when he cannot find me there again during the next go-round.  He also has a great habit as soon as he’s hidden of jumping out right away and yelling “here I am!!!”  Of course, you can make your version more exciting by adding multiple people, adding in extra stipulations (example: can’t hide in the same room twice, time limits, timing contests to see who can find everyone quickest, etc.), or even taking the game outside to a public place, or if you are extra brave take it outside into the snow!

2.  Scavenger Hunt

 

Who doesn’t love a great scavenger hunt???  I love this idea because it is so versatile; you can make it as complex and challenging as you like or keep it super simple.  You can keep it inside your house or take it to a public place, or all over town.  My brother actually proposed with a scavenger hunt all over New York City!  Of course a more complex scavenger hunt can require quite a bit of planning and leg work ahead of time so if you are going to do this one on a whim I suggest simplicity.  With my three year old it is ultra-basic… “find something green in the house… find something round…” etc.  This is also a great activity to do as a group (think teams) or to set up for your friend or significant other.  Get others involved, pick a theme, whatever you want to do to make it fun!

 3.  Craft Day

I love craft day because this is something you can do even by yourself!  Hop on Pinterest, maybe check out a couple of YouTube tutorials, head to the craft store and get going!  This one may be a little more challenging if you are truly snowed in unless you already have some supplies at home though.  If you are doing it with kids you can usually find some simple craft ideas online using everyday supplies you may already have around the house.  Just last week my son was sad he had to miss “school” (bible study) because he was sick so I headed over to the craft store instead and we had a great time making some fun crafts and he completely forgot about missing school!
Painting
Painting some pottery

4.  Movie Night

This is another activity that is super versatile; you can do it by yourself, with friends, as a family or with your kids.  In our house, we watch A LOT of movies.  So I had to ask myself, “how is doing something we do almost every day going to be exciting and ‘beat the winter blahs?’ ”  So I hyped it up, called it a “movie party” and voila, everyone was SO excited!  To make it extra special, we took a trip to the grocery store, picked out some snacks I would normally never let my son eat and picked out a new movie.  When we got home we took every pillow and blanket in the entire house, cleared out the family room and set up a giant pillow/blanket bed for the whole family to snuggle up and have our special movie party.  It was a hit, and my son asks for it all the time.  But to keep it ‘special’ we have to save it for rare occasions.

Brainstorm some ways to make it different for yourself.  When it’s just me and my husband maybe we will make some fancy snacks and drinks and get a new movie.  If you want to make it a bigger production you could invite lots of friends over and have an appetizer potluck.

5.  Dance Party

Ok, so a dance party is pretty self-explanatory.  In our house, music is always playing at mealtime (I highly recommend getting a great blue tooth speaker you can use with your phone) and many times in between.  We are big fans of Pandora and Amazon Music.  I especially love Amazon Music because the lyrics are provided if you want to go karaoke style too!  If you want to add a little spunk to your snow day, pick your favorite station and get dancing!  We like to turn up the surround sound on the TV and let loose.  It really is fun for everyone if you can just let yourself be silly and relax, and the bonus is that it can be a great workout too.  So invite all your friends over, clear some space, make a playlist if you’re feeling saucy and have fun!
Playing in the snow
Playing in the snow

6.  Play in the Snow/Play with Snow

 Truth be told, I am not a fan of the snow.  I don’t like being cold.  I don’t like the time it takes getting ready to play and getting put back together after playing.  And I certainly don’t like the mess it brings into my house afterwards.  But alas, I have a toddler and what I like to do rarely bears much weight these days.  And as a parent, you just want to see your kids be happy and have fun, so who I am to deprive my child of a traditional childhood experience???

I also realize there are those of you out there who love the snow!  So playing in/with the snow can be a great idea, no matter which category you fall into.

There is the traditional playing in the snow, you can also venture a little further to find some good sledding hills, or even head to a local ski resort for tubing or skiing.  I am also a big fan of my “lazy mom” hack I came up with a couple of years ago when my son was still a baby.  I wanted him to experience the snow but didn’t want him outside in the elements so I got some snow off of our deck and put it on his high chair tray and just like that we got to play with snow without much of the headache that comes along with it!  I’m sure with older kids this concept won’t really fly with them but while they are still young it is a great alternative!

Snow inside
Bringing the snow inside

7.  Carpet Picnic

One of my favorite things about summer is getting outside to enjoy some fresh air and a nice picnic.  And of course the picnic food!  This is something I definitely miss in the winter.  So this year I started implementing random carpet picnics for special occasions for our family.  It takes an ordinary meal and makes it a little more fun and can also give you some nice summer nostalgia.  Get creative with your menu, pick different themes, put down a blanket and relax and enjoy a nice meal!

8.  Cook

Get in the kitchen and try something new!  This can be a great family, group or individual activity.  Try out an old family recipe you’ve never cooked before, hop on Pinterest, or my personal favorite idea; grab some random ingredients and host your very own Chopped Challenge.  My son loves helping out in the kitchen whenever he can, and when you are just doing it for fun you don’t have to worry about a kitchen disaster ruining your meal.  The bonus for this activity is you can enjoy your finished product afterwards! (assuming it’s edible)

Preston baking
Chef Preston baking some cookies

9.  Visit with Far Away Family

Winter can be a down right depressing time of year (remember seasonal affective disorder???)  If you are far from loved ones it can be especially depressing.  Thanks to today’s modern technology, reconnecting is simply a computer screen away!  Instead of making the long trip to visit relatives, which many people don’t have the time and means to do whenever they like, set up a Skype date.  It is a great way to have a more personal connection than your traditional phone calls.  You can also use Skype to include others in on activities they can’t be with you for.  Bonus if you’re connection lives in a warmer climate, take a look at their sunshine to brighten your day!

 10.  Road trip!

My family loves car rides!  My three year old is a road warrior: he made it seventeen hours each way to Disney World without complaining.  My dog loves the opportunity to get out of the house when he is stuck inside all winter.  My husband is a great chauffeur and I love how relaxing a good car ride is.  Although truth be told, I am the worst road tripper in my family due to my excessive water drinking ;-).  Whenever we are bored, we just hop in the car and explore someplace new.  It can be fun to pick up a coffee, drive around and enjoy nature, check out some dream houses, and enjoy the warm sunshine.  Most days we just stay in town, but another great option is to pick a nearby city and make a day of it.  Research what there is to do, pick a good restaurant, maybe reconnect with an out of town friend, and enjoy your mini vacation for the day.

And there you have it.  I may not be able to bring summer back for you or melt your snow, but hopefully I have given you a few ideas to get yourself and your family out of your winter rut!  Let me know which ideas work for you and any others you would like to share!

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