05302017
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5 ways to have fun with your kids when you’re stuck inside

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Jamie Cook scouts out the best kid-friendly activities in Utah year-round. Here, she shares some cures for cabin fever.

Jamie Cook scouts out the best kid-friendly activities in Utah year-round. Here, she shares some cures for cabin fever.

Sure, winter is magical. The snow, the Christmas music, the holiday treats and twinkling lights. What’s not so magical is when you’re stuck inside with a houseful of stir-crazy kids and you’re all on the verge of a catastrophic meltdown.

Sound familiar? I decided to take this wintertime quandary to my friend Jamie Cook, a Utah mom of four and blogger/Instagrammer at Wander and Scout. I admire Jamie for how she always finds creative ways to have fun with her family no matter where they are or what the weather is.

“There is nothing I love more than adventuring and exploring outdoors with my kids. I’m always happiest when I’m tromping through the mountains, collecting leaves and admiring wildflowers with my four babies,” Jamie says. “Unfortunately, seasons change, and for a good part of the year we’re stuck inside wondering what to do.”

Here are a few inside activities that help Jamie beat the stuck-inside winter blues:

1. Culture night

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Jamie loves introducing her kids to new cultures through simplified “culture nights.”

This sounds more exhaustive than it is! I’ll help the kids choose a country and then we’ll pick up some books at the library about that country. We’ll do a little research and make a few dishes of (loosely) traditional cuisine. If we’re feeling really ambitious, we’ll even visit a local Asian or Latin market to pick up ingredients. We’ll set the table with the theme and bring out our map and talk about the traditions and culture of that particular country. We keep it really simple but my kids have loved learning more about China, Zimbabwe, and Brazil, and Sri Lanka to name a few!

2. Butcher paper

Never underestimate the power of a roll of butcher paper! We’ll unroll it and tape giant stretches of it to the hardwood floor. The kids let their creativity run wild creating maps, scenes, train tracks, roads and whatever else they can dream up. It’s guaranteed to buy me at least an hour of quiet (ish) time.

3. Imaginary bake shop

On what felt like the 99th snow day with cancelled school while living in Boston, my then 6 year old and 4 year old came up with the genius idea to have a bake sale. Only this bake sale didn’t actually involve any food or baking messes. We made a giant poster with drawings of every treat and baked good imaginable, and assigned prices to each treat. The kids ran the bake sale and I was their customer for a good chunk of the morning.

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Jamie’s girls love hosting homemade spa days with their friends.

4. Spa Day

Last winter, in an attempt to find something (anything!) to do that didn’t involve turning on the TV, my girls (6 and 4) decided we should do a spa day. We sliced up some cucumbers for their eyes, soaked their feet and painted nails. It was the easiest activity with no prep.

5. Host a playdate/party

One of the things about winter that gets me down is that it can be isolating. People tend to hibernate and the days can feel lonely. January can feel like the loneliest month of all with not much to look forward to after the holidays are over. So, we bumped up our Valentine’s celebration to the end of January last year and invited all our preschool cousins over for games and sugar cookie decorating. It was great to have something fun on the calendar to look forward to.

Read more about what Jamie does to keep the fun in motherhood at her blog or Instagram account.

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