Winter is here, and it’s time to hunker down inside. However, given the events of 2020, you might have already enjoyed enough family togetherness for your tastes. How can you keep things fresh?
If you need ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Here are eight outside-the-box activities for you and your family to enjoy this winter.
1. Build a Snow Castle
If you’ve watched “Frozen” — perhaps a million times — you know the song, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” However, as cute as coal buttons are, why not go more original and make a snow castle?
If the process sounds intimidating, remember — some folk build igloos as residences, not play forts. You can use molds to create towers or use your imagination, à la Sansa Stark recreating a snowy Winterfell in “Game of Thrones.”
If it gets cold enough to freeze and stay frozen where you live, go ahead and make a tunnel through your structure. Make sure you supervise younger children while they play in case of an accidental avalanche.
2. Make the Great Escape
Escape rooms were all the rage before COVID-19, but you can recreate the experience while teaching your children a potentially life-changing skill. Everyone in your household should be on the same page regarding emergencies and how to handle them. You don’t want to discover that your 6-year-old fears using their second-story window ladder while flames tear through your home.
Rehearse your escape plan with your loved ones. Identify a meeting location and discuss what to do if a fire or flood strikes while you are at work or the kids are at school. Use the opportunity to review safety rules, like never leaving a room with the space heater running.
3. Host Astronomy 101 Night
When was the last time you and your family gazed up at the stars and marveled at your place in the universe? Why not plan a full evening of astronomy learning? Let the kids sleep in the following day and consider it part of your homeschool curriculum.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a telescope or much cash. Many libraries offer these materials to loan at modest fees — sometimes free — and often provide curbside pickup if COVID-19 keeps you out of enclosed public spaces.
4. Go on a Picnic in the Park
Yes, it’s winter — what better time to picnic in the park? You won’t have to worry about pesky ants in your food or no-see-ums invading your nostrils. Rejoice!
You’ll need to bundle up to stay warm. If you have heated seat cushions or patio chairs to keep your tush toasty, bring them along. Otherwise, take plenty of blankets and a picnic basket.
You’ll probably find public parks and playgrounds more deserted this time of year, which is ideal for adhering to social distancing guidelines. Take along some balls or Frisbees and make a day of it.
5. Play Tourist in Your Hometown
Chances are, you have some quirky little museums and other sites of historical interest near you that you never visited. Why not embrace the slower season to add more local passport stamps to your collection?
Research frequently visited tourist attractions near you. With travel remaining slow, many venues will thank you for your patronage — plus, you can explore all the exhibits without straining to see over other people’s heads.
6. Invent a New Board Game
If you heard the Charles Darrow version of “Monopoly’s” invention, what you learned was probably incorrect. In reality, the game was the brainchild of a left-wing feminist named Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie, who wanted to teach capitalism’s evils. Anyone who has ever tried to save for a home when their landlord kept selling or raising rents knows the struggle — the impoverished rarely enjoy a linear rise from rags to riches like the movies portray. The original title was “The Landlord’s Game.”
Whether or not you agree with Magie’s ideology, you can still draw inspiration to invent a new game with your family. Have fun making up new rules and honing your board to perfection. Who knows? Perhaps future holiday seasons will see your invention up on store shelves.
7. Perfect Your Musical Act
Remember the Jackson 5, the Bee Gees — or, more recently, the Jonas Brothers? These groups all share one thing in common — they kept their musical talent in the family.
Why don’t you and your family start a band? If you spent part of quarantine learning how to play the ukulele or guitar, you already have a start. The youngest family members can nevertheless add more cowbell to your tunes.
8. Open Your Heart
The 2020 holiday season was a somber one for many families. Millions headed into this festive time of year while facing the possibility of eviction minus action from Congress to halt the looming crisis.
If you don’t have much in the way of cash to give, why not volunteer? Food banks need more help than ever keeping up with demand. If you are mobile, you and your kids can help distribute items to individuals who run an elevated risk of infection, but may otherwise go hungry.
Try These 8 Outside-the-Box Activities With Your Family This Winter
If you had cabin fever before the cold season even began, you’re not alone. However, you can still have fun when you try these eight outside-the-box activities with your family this year.