Taking a couple of hours off from phones, gadgets, tablets and computers is a great way to reconnect family members and clear the tech buzz out for a bit. Keeping kids engaged is important for inspiring their creativity and nurturing their growth. Going offline also helps strengthen family ties! Here are some terrific ideas:
Pull out your favorite board games, card games or puzzles and make it into a competition! Give points for each game won/puzzle completed (ex: +3pts for first place, +2pts for second place, +1pt for third place). Have a tournament of board games or race to be the first one to complete a puzzle.
Indoor Scavenger hunts are easy and fun to do. Start by creating a list of objects you have around your house and give your child a certain amount of time to find them. Want to give them a challenge? Move objects from where they typically are. For extra bonus points, your child needs to put the items back where they belong once they are found.
It’s Holiday Bingo Time!
Make a bingo card and fill it with things to be found outside.Hop in the car or walk around your neighborhood at night.Have family members find the items and cross them off their cards. (ex: find a christmas tree, reindeer, green lights, etc). First one to check off three in a row, says BINGO.
Fun in the Kitchen!
Edible snowmen: Melt white chocolate and dip oreos in the melted chocolate to make the body. While the chocolate is still melted, then decorate however you want. Put in the fridge for chocolate to harden before eating.
Candy making: Have you tried making fudge? It’s easy and tasty--
plus it makes a terrific gift! Recipe here!
Popcorn balls: A great recipe for this classic is here!
Birdfeeders: Collect pinecones, roll them in peanut butter and then birdseed. Tie a piece of yarn to the end of the pinecone and hang it outside. Watch the bird flock to this winter treat...
Be A Winter Artist!
Fill a spray bottle with cold water and add in a few drops of food coloring. Make sure to add in cold water, since hot water will melt the snow if snow painting. Create as many different colors as you would like using different spray bottles. Then, make a painting in the snow by spraying the water mixture.
Don't have snow? Not to worry! Grab sidewalk chalk and draw in your driveway, on the sidewalk or even the street (check for cars first!).
This fun, fast paced game is sure to get everyone moving and thinking! Fill strips of paper with names of sports, activities, movies or phrases. Fold the strips and put them into a bowl. Break into two teams. The first player chooses a slip from the bowl and tries to act out what is shown on the paper using hand signs and body motions, but no spoken words. Players from that team try to guess what is being acted out. Want a challenge? Set a timer for the amount of time allowed to guess. If the team can’t guess the word on the slip, the other team gets a chance to steal!
Play with Cream!
Put some pumps of shaving cream into a gallon size bag. Optional: Add glitter, sprinkles and/or paint to the bag. Let out all air from the gallon bag and seal. Secure the top and bottom of the bag to a piece of paper using masking tape. Drag your finger on the outside of the bag to draw letters, numbers or pictures in the shaving cream. This is a great sensory activity too! Here is an example video of a bag you could make!
Make a Winter Wonderland Drawing!
Let your imagination go free or simply draw winter scenes. Use black construction paper and white colored pencils, chalk or crayons.
Find some ice skating rink and show off your figure 8’s. No ice to be found? Then, get two paper plates per person. Stand on top of the plates on a wooden or tile floor or area rug and “skate” around. End ice skating with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Instead of vegging out in front of electronics, engage your family by trying these tech-free activities instead. They are sure to get you thinking, creating and having fun. Whether you want to cozy up inside or venture outside, wintertime is a great time to use your imagination and unplug!
Madeline Tatto is a fourth grade school teacher in Connecticut. She is an expert on kids, crafts and family fun activities.