Winter Blues: Simple Activities for Kids and Mom


two boys playing on the floor in a cardboard box. Winter Reset. Des Moines Mom

I have stayed home with my kids for five years and every January and February, I wonder why I’m so grumpy and impatient with my family. Every year, I get the winter blues. 

Then I realize the excitement of holidays are over, the frigid temperatures have set in, winter is nowhere near done, and I feel trapped within the house. The combination of my three littles with endless energy, nowhere to release it, and a stir-crazy mom leads to wild behaviors from us all.

Once I realize why we’re all going crazy (this takes longer than I’d like to admit), I find ways to stay active and sane within the house.

Cure the Winter Blues

Whether you have a large house or small apartment, there are ways to use up some of that endless childhood energy. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be active play but instead introducing activities or toys that are new to them. Kids are extremely creative and with a little guidance, they will find fun, new ways to play in their space.

We don’t do these activities all day. Instead, they act as a “reset” button for us all. When kids start acting out, seem restless, or mom is getting too impatient, I try to use one of these to reset our minds and bodies. I start a new activity and soon the kids are busy building, playing, or creating. 

6 Ideas for Indoor Fun

Try one of these ideas to kick the winter blues:

1. Create a space for outside toys

For those with an unfinished basement, we put some of our outside toys in this space. From small scooters, (soft) balls and bats, and a small basketball hoop, our kids were excited to see some of their “summer” toys again. My son even said, “this is my favorite room!” Clearly it doesn’t take much to impress kids if the dirty, unfinished basement is his favorite space.

2. Use Blankets

If you have blankets and chairs, create a fort. Or make a big pile and let them jump into them.

3. Play Simon Says

This classic game has come in handy for me so many times. Whether we’re at doctor visits, waiting in line, or at home, the kids love to follow directions and see if they can outsmart me. Little do they know, I am outsmarting them by getting them to jump, kick, run around the house, and anything else I can think of to get that energy out and distract them.

4. Create

You do not need a pinterest- worthy project. Grab a box (remember those Amazon Prime deliveries?), markers, and let them create. Paint dots are also one of my favorites because the kids like having something different than markers and crayons, but they don’t make a mess like real paint.

5. Workout together

My kids love to learn workout moves like pushups, burpees, and jumping jacks. They don’t last long, so get up and do some with them. You’ll both feel better.

6. Read together

Let everyone choose one book, snuggle together, and read. This simple activity is typically enough to reset us all, and we usually end up reading even more books.

What I have found is the activities do not have to be fancy or elaborate. My kids just enjoy being active, learning new skills, being challenged, and getting positive attention from me. Next time you are feeling trapped or your kids are driving you crazy, try hitting the reset button with a simple activity.

What are your favorite ways to stay active with your kids in the winter?

Looking for more ideas? Check out 50+ Things to Do When You’re Stuck Inside


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