Category Archives: Seasons

On Ideas for Winter Fun

Those of us in the northern hemisphere find ourselves right in the middle of winter. In case the winter is getting to any members of our community, we thought perhaps this might be a good time to offer some ideas for winter family fun. Several years ago we gathered some ideas to that end, and shared them here: https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/on-winter-fun-and-learning/. If you have not yet read that and gleaned from the fun activities therein, you may want to check it out!

Because we are constantly seeking additional resources for those in our community, several additional winter-fun related ideas have come to our attention, and will share them below. May they inspire your family to have a fun time (or many of them) together, regardless of the weather!

What fun things does your family do together during the winter?

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Families with young children may enjoy creating these yarn-sewn snowflake-printed plates (first link). The second link suggests a way for families with older children to create a similar (but more complex) project on plain paper plates. https://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-plate-snowflake-yarn-art.html

https://thecraftingchicks.com/snowflake-paper-plate-kids-craft/

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Families with toddlers will find a variety of winter craft and activity ideas here:

https://www.craftsonsea.co.uk/winter-activities-for-toddlers/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes

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Families will find seven fun winter-related activities (links for directions included) in this blog post. Author Mireille Mishriky also includes suggestions of related Bible stories if you want to tie in a family scripture discussion. https://www.mireillemishriky.com/indoor-family-activities-to-beat-the-winter-blues-with-biblical-references/

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Recycle a few paper or styrofoam cups to make “snowmen” faces, then grab some sock balls (or fake snowballs) to play this indoor game! https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/snowman-slam-game-for-kids.html

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Find fourteen different winter craft ideas here. We especially liked the sparkly snow paint recipe, and the egg carton penguins are adorable. “Snow” much fun!

http://www.flairflickers.com/14-jingling-winter-crafts-for-kids-to-bring-flurries-and-fun-at-home/

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If your winter is snowless, but you’d enjoy the fun of playing in snow, consider these ways to make “snow” to play with indoors:
Here’s a recipe with shaving cream and baking soda: https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2015/02/foaming-snow-recipe.html

This one is made with hair conditioner and baking soda: http://mommasfunworld.blogspot.com/2013/01/fake-sensory-snow-that-feels-real.html

And here’s one made with cornstarch and lotion: https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/11/snow-dough-recipe-for-play.html

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If you have a lot of fresh snow, you may want to make this “snow candy” by boiling down maple syrup and pouring it on a pan of fresh snow! https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2018/01/snow-candy-for-kids.html (For a literary extension, you may want to do this after reading about it in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “Little House in the Big Woods”.)

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Paint some of the snow outside of your house with the help of a few varied koolaid packets, some water, and a handful of squirt bottles as described here: https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/02/kool-aid-snow-paint.html

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Recycled cups, parts of balloons, and a few cotton balls become super fun “snowball shooters” here: https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/snow-shooters.html

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Here are a host of family-fun ideas that can be done outside in the snow. Our favorites include “pin the smile on the snowman” (using chocolate cookie “coal” for the smile pieces); hunting for brightly-colored ice cubes (frozen ahead of time and hidden around the yard); and using beach toys for tubing. Find these ideas and more here: https://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/snow-activities-kids/

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On Overcoming the Winter Blues

The beginning of February marks the middle of winter for the northern hemisphere. For many people, winter can a dreary and depressing time. Why is this the case? Are children also thus affected by winter, or is the sense of gloom limited to adults? Can anything be done to help those of us who feel discouraged during the winter months?

We did a little research into the above questions, and learned a few things which we will share with you. We learned that there are multiple reasons why winter can drag down our emotions, especially because of the reduced light and/or sunshine that people living in wintery climates experience. The combination of less daylight and colder outdoor temperatures also discourages people from getting fresh air and exercise (two other possible remedies for combating gloom). We learned that children are affected by these struggles in a similar way as adults are affected. We found many suggestions of things to do to combat the so-called “winter blues” including the idea of getting out of the house within 2 hours of waking up, and exercising (outside, if possible). (Author’s note: my teen son invited me to try this out, so this morning we got up a few minutes earlier than usual, threw on our coats, and briskly walked around the block before beginning our regular morning routine. It was an invigorating and sweet way to begin this dreary, gloomy winter day! We will do it again.)

Below you will find links to a few favorite articles we encountered in our research which address  the above questions. We hope that the next time you experience mid-winter (whether right now or in a few months, depending on where in the world you live), you will find some of this information and these ideas helpful. Together, let us take steps to combat the gloomy feeling that winter can so easily invite in our own life and in the lives of our children!

“If there were no tribulation, there would be no rest; if there were no winter, there would be no summer.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

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Here is a resource that offers a quick overview of the difference between the Winter Blues and  Seasonal Affective Disorder. Included in the graphic illustrations: who is susceptible to these seasonal changes in their well-being, where these struggles are the strongest, and ideas for how to help overcome them.  http://visual.ly/how-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder-and-winter-blues

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Here are 8 great scientifically-backed ways to beat the Winter Blues: http://time.com/3692785/beat-winter-blues/

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Find 30 simple ways to beat the Winter Blues in this collection of tweets: http://www.citizenwatch.com/en-us/blog/30-ways-to-beat-the-winter-blues/

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This article helps its readers to identify whether or not their child is suffering from Winter Blues and then offers a variety of really fun outdoor and indoor activities to help your child to combat them: http://blog.connectionsacademy.com/fight-winter-blues-and-sad-with-fun-activities-for-the-family/

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This blog post offers 10 practical things to do to make your winter less “meh”: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/life/10-ways-beat-winter-blues/
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This blog post was written to be used during the month of January. Although January is already over, this post is still useful because it contains so many fun and outside-the-box/outside-the-self ideas: http://momlifetoday.com/2011/01/ideas-to-beat-cabin-fever-and-the-winter-blues/ (And we can tuck away the day-specific celebrations for NEXT January!)

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Here’s a list of 16 indoor and outdoor activities for having fun with kids in the winter: http://bcparent.ca/2016/12/28/16-activities-to-beat-the-winter-blues/

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This article offers more ideas of ways to help kids beat the Winter Blues: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-usky-/beat-the-winter-blues-with-these-8-family-friendly-activities_b_6764100.html

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We need light! “The amount of daylight we get each day has a dramatic effect on our mood too. Without this daylight our body produces substances that make us feel lethargic and lacking in energy.” ~ http://woodlandclassroom.com/got-the-winter-blues-nature-has-the-answer/

Read about how to handle the lack of light in a winter atmosphere here: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090211_healthtip_winterblues/

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This article offers creative ideas for indoor activities to do with children during the winter: https://www.momooze.com/indoor-activities-winter/