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Beating the Winter Blues

pcmlogocolor.jpgBy Vanessa Relli-Moreau
Education Department
Providence Children’s Museum

Winter in Rhode Island can be long. As the season gears up, kids have lots of festivities, activities and opportunities to play. They build gingerbread houses, make ornaments and enjoy holiday celebrations. Kids are almost overwhelmed with opportunities for holiday fun. All of this entertainment leads up to their winter break when they likely have lots of excitement and new toys to play with.

Then January arrives. Kids tire of their toys and remember how they used to play outside, especially with their friends. The holiday glow fades and they begin to hibernate and say, “we’re bored!” Now is the time to come up with creative new ways to play.

The best way to beat the winter blues is to encourage children to develop and follow their own ideas and imaginations. My daughters are six and three and over the years we have helped them come up with ways to spice up the long winter season:

– If your child is old enough, create an old-fashion treasure hunt. Have your child draw a series of pictures, the last leading to the treasure!Img 0066-1

– Line up the couch pillows to construct a path along the hallways of your house. Help your children leap from pillow to pillow to escape from the sharks and sea creatures below! Have the pillows lead to a blanket-covered table and crawl inside to enjoy snacks and stories together.

– Create winter collages using pictures from magazines, catalogs and holiday cards. Embellish with gems, glitter, sand or whatever you have on hand. Hang up the work in an “art gallery.”

– If there’s no snow, make your own snowball fight by crumbling recycled white paper into balls. It doesn’t hurt, you can create family teams and you burn a lot of energy trying to collect more ammunition!

– If there is snow, you can do more than sled and build snowmen. Get outside and build a snow fort together. Paint the fort amazing colors by adding food coloring to old spray bottles. Even use your summer sand toys to create towers and valleys.

January is also a perfect time to visit Providence Children’s Museum, where there are both serious and silly ways to ward off the winter doldrums. From the Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. to hands-on activities like Ocho’s Art Cart or Block Party, there’s always something interesting to discover. Use your imaginations and invent new ways to beat the winter blues together!

News and Notes from Providence Children’s Museum: Occasional posts about things to do with our kids – from places to go, things to make, ideas to think about, and ways to explore. Providence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI. 401-273-5437 (KIDS).

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  • To beat the winter blahs, we (the parents) like to call on a babysitter or neighbor to take care of the kids on a Sunday afternoon while we go out and try on ridiculous outfits at TJ Maxx or see a movie (“Atonement” was a great Sunday afternoon diversion!) The kids love having a teenager with endless energy (or at least two hours’ worth) for Candyland and we love getting out. It gives us some perspective.

    Thank you so much for the good ideas–you can never have too many!

  • Thanks for these creative ideas. Something we do for winter fun with our kids? Indoor family Olympics! We play darts, aim balloons into toy bins, draw fun pictures of one another and give prizes for all categories. We even transform our garage into a floor hockey tournament! (My daughter and I cheer on as my six-year-old son and husband compete.) We all end up giggling and enjoying ourselves.