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Keeping the Winter Blues Away

By Megan Corrent

December was such a magical time. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just enjoy the extra days off and the beautiful lights, most of us can appreciate that December is full of wonder and. At our home, our children are bouncing off the walls and are full of anticipation and excitement waiting for Santa Clause. Once we take down the tree, remove the lights, and clean up the last specks of glitter left behind by the mountain of gifts, January arrives bringing its freezing temperatures, poor air quality, and the realization that Santa won’t be visiting again for another 358 days. So the question then arises, how should we spend the month of January?

We do try and spend time outside playing and running around, but there are many days not suitable for outside play, so then what to do? There are, of course, the favorite go-tos: Discovery Gateway, the library, Living Planet Aquarium, the Natural History Museum, and even sometimes the McDonald’s playground, but some days are just spent at home. Having a two-year-old and four-year-old, there is no shortage of energy and curiosity that needs to be cultivated. Here are three other ways that we have found to entertain our children on those freezing January days spent at home:

  • Good, Old-Fashioned Coloring:
    • Our kids love to color, so we have bought large rolls of white paper so they never run out. We unroll the paper, provide a bucketful of washable markers (or paint), and let them go at it. Of course, there are the occasional colored walls, windows, and floors, but the washable markers and Mr Clean Magic Erasers allow for easy clean-up for caregivers and hours of fun for the kids.
  • Building with Marshmallows:
    • Really all you need for this fun activity is a bag of marshmallows (maybe two if your kids love to sneak a few) and toothpicks. Toothpick to marshmallow to toothpick to marshmallow is the great foundation to build a tower. See who can build the widest, the tallest, or the strongest! This is such a fun and mess-free way to start introducing the amazing world of engineering to curious minds.
  • Instant Snow:
    • You may be asking, “Why do we need to make fake snow? We live in Utah with the Best Snow on Earth.” Well, of course when we have a fresh snowstorm the need to make fake snow is kind of ridiculous, but for those freezing days with month-old, crispy, and dirty snow, making fluffy homemade snow is a super fun activity.
    • What you’ll need:
      • Large mixing bowl
      • Measuring cups
      • Baking soda
      • Hair conditioner
      • Spoon
      • Glitter (Optional))
      • Baking pan or large tray
    • Next Steps:
      • Measure and pour 1 cup of baking soda
      • Measure 3 tablespoons of hair conditioner and mix with the baking soda
      • Pour the mixture onto the baking pan or large tray and add 1 tablespoon of glitter (if this is when you say “nope,” feel free to skip the glitter) and mix with hands (little hands love this step)
      • Let the kids then make different shapes and sculpt for hours!

Finding activities for little and inquisitive minds can be a challenge, but sometimes even free-play is a great way to allow for creativity to blossom and fun to be had. We hope that you and your children enjoy these activities as much as ours do, and Happy New Year!