Winter is here in Canada. And I am not a fan. It brings on the unavoidable cabin fever for all of us in the house. But in -20 degrees celsius, there’s no way we’re taking the kids outside, no matter how much snow’s on the ground. So, to ease the cabin fever, avoid excessive screen time and save the lives of many a cartoon character, we like to take the kids out of the house for an indoor activity. It keeps them spending all that restless energy, keeps them warm, but more importantly, keeps us from wringing their necks. Here are a few of our favourites:
The Mall – You might think I’m bat-shit crazy for bringing my kid to a public shopping venue, (Lady, you are insane!) but hear me out. This was key to my survival with a toddler during the winter. Take your toddler a little ahead of opening time. In our area, this is when the “mall-walkers” get their exercise, so why not your tantrum machine too? No big crowds, lots of space, and lots of walking. Stop at the toy store for a short play. Grab a snack or a smoothie, and for God’s sakes ride that escalator! Best ride ever, people!
The Library – Call up your local library and ask about story times or toddler reading programs. If they aren’t free, they’ll be very inexpensive. Take some time out with the germ generators and look at some picture books, sing songs and interact with other kids in a nice cozy environment. Sign out a few books and take them home to enjoy. No screen time, lots of social interaction and moms and dads who are trying to combat the cabin fever too.
Open Swim – We actually have an above-ground pool in our backyard, so we make it a point to make sure the kids are in swim lessons during the winter months to keep up their skills. But an open swim is a fantastic way to keep the munchkins moving and spending that pent-up energy. Now I know, you’d rather wear a brown paper bag than a bathing suit in the winter, but trust me the payoff is totally worth it. You might even get a nap time out of it!
Humane Society – Call up your local humane society and see if you can bring the kids in to play with a few of their kitty cats. In our region, the humane society actually has a store front in one of the local malls, which just makes it that much easier. Go and play for a while, bring a laser pointer and watch both the cat and your kid go crazy!
YMCA – Most of these have a gym day of sorts that you and the fam can get in on. We went one day to find an indoor hopscotch board, hula hoops, balls, obstacle courses and rolling dollies. The kids had a blast, especially with D pushing them across the gym on the dollies. I got a ride too!
Indoor Play Land – The tried-and-true, foolproof way to get your kids out of the house and spending that energy is rockin’ an indoor play land. Sure it’s loud, but the kids are doing more than just running; they’re climbing and sliding, pulling and pushing. The more kinds of movement the better, if you ask me. There’s usually a spot for the little ones too, so spend some quality time with the baby, while the older ones let loose their inner monkey.
These are just a few of my go-to outings in the winter, but I’m sure there are so many more that I haven’t tried. Feel free to add to the Mommy Arsenal in the comments below! But, if you’re just not up for the production that is getting the kids out the door in the first place, (’cause we all know this is the real challenge), check out these home activities, great for a sick day or any day.