The holidays are behind you and the freestyling summer months barely a speck in your memory. [sigh] Looking down the long road of winter might seem daunting—long days spent inside means the natives get restless. You need an action plan! We’ve been thinking it over and came up with a few creative, active and educational ideas that will keep your family moving and shaking until the crocuses pop up their pointy heads. (It’s also possible you could be busy through Memorial Day. You’re welcome.) Make a Winter 2015 Photo Book
Tell the story of this winter. Take the family out for a 30-minute walk with the camera and have everyone take pics of things they find inspiring. Animals, trees, cityscapes, yourselves. Shoot what you see, and make it fun! Have a snowball fight, make snow angels (or sand angels if you’re near the beach) and don’t forget to get a shot of the whole family. Once you have the pics you want, create a custom photo album online. You can even add text to tell the story of your day—or make it a fictional tale if you’re feeling super creative. We love the photo books at shutterfly.com, picaboo.com and snapfish.com.
Host a Living Room Picnic
It might be chilly outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break out the picnic basket and some cozy blankets for an indoor picnic. Move the furniture aside, thrown down a couple blankets and invite the neighbors over. Opt for easy-to-eat, healthy snacks like veggies and hummus, whole grain bread and peanut butter, and Mom Made Apple Munchies. Make sure everyone knows the dress code (pajamas, naturally). Bonus idea: When you’re done eating, use the blankets to make forts!
Plan a Spring Garden
There’s nothing quite as magical as placing seedlings in the ground and watching them grow into food you will eat in the coming months. It’s also a great lesson for kids to understand where food comes from and how delicious it can be plucked straight from the vine or ground. Brainstorm what you want to plant and order seeds online or get them from your local home store. You can start germinating indoors soon after. Put the kids in charge of checking in and watering sprouts. For a step-by-step guide on all the things you need to know when planning and prepping a garden, check out this great article at garden.org.
Learn a New Language
Hola! Ciao! Zdravstvuyte! Whether you decide to tackle Spanish, Italian or Russian, winter is a great time for starting new and concentrated projects. Learning a language is something the whole family can do together, and it’s a great way to expand your horizons and understand another culture. While you’re practicing basic conversation and conjugation, be sure to also research the traditions of your chosen country—especially the cuisine! For free online language learning, try Duolingo.com and Livemocha.com. For those interested in an investment, check out Rosetta Stone.
Perform a Secret Act of Service
This is our favorite. An anonymous act of service is an exciting way to make someone’s day, week or even year—especially in the middle of the winter season. When you get your kids involved, it’s also a fun lesson in paying it forward. Some ideas to get the creative juices flowing: Leave a gift basket of goodies on your neighbor’s doorstep when they’re at work, shovel the snow from a friend’s driveway before they wake up in the morning, or leave a kind note in a friend’s mailbox telling her how awesome she is. Dream up the ideas with your kids and let them lead the charge.
We love hearing about what you’ve been up to and other ideas you have. Like us on Facebook and share your pictures and stories!