5 Winter Activities for Kids

PenguinsWhen the first winter snow appears, it’s magical; by the eighth heavy snowfall of the season, you and your kids may start wishing for spring. Holiday fun can alleviate some of the boredom, but what happens after the tree’s taken down and the gifts are unwrapped? These fun indoor and outdoor winter activities are a great solution for the post-holiday blues.

1. Build a Snow Village

One of the simplest winter activities is still one of the best. Non-toxic, easy to mold and abundant, snow makes a wonderful building material for kids. Instead of sticking to snowmen that are fun to make but don’t do much once they’re complete, encourage kids to create their own snow villages. Let them use their imaginations to create fantasy snow castles, bustling snow spaceports, superhero hide-outs or anything else they can dream of making.

2. Bake Cookies Together

There’s no better time for baking than on chilly winter evenings, and kids love to help. Older children can do most of the assembling themselves with a little assistance from you. For younger kids, you’re the chief baker, and they’re your helpers who crack the eggs and level off the flour. Baking is only part of the fun; decorating the cookies you bake together is even more exciting. If you aren’t experienced in the kitchen, invest in a cookbook or a cookie kit.

3. Read a Good Book or Two

Winter weather can be unpredictable, and when the kids are stuck inside on a gloomy day, having an extensive library can be a life-saver. Young children often like to hear a familiar story told and re-told, but for older kids, new books hold more appeal. Keep a few books tucked in your closet for rainy days and pull them out when your kids complain about having nothing to do. For kids who get fidgety when they have nothing to do with their hands, look for activity books that include a model to assemble or an archaeological artifact to unearth.

4. Redecorate and Rearrange

Children love to have a space to call their own, and letting them participate in a room re-do can make a winter weekend fly. Going to the hardware store to pick out paint for walls and trim is an adventure in itself, and once the painting begins, the transformation becomes even more exciting. If you’ve recently painted and aren’t ready for a full room makeover, try rearranging the furniture, shelves and art. You can give a room a new look and more functionality without adding a thing to the space.

5. Get Crafty

Crafts are a wonderful way of keeping little hands and minds busy. Indoor crafts with winter themes such as cut-paper snowflakes or cotton-ball snowmen are perennial favorites, but take advantage of clear winter days with some outdoor craft projects. Kids can make beautiful ice candles with little more than cracked ice, an old milk container and melted wax. Working on bird feeders and birdseed sculptures teaches children how to care for nature while keeping them engaged in something fun.

Before you know it, the kids will be back in school and barreling toward summer, so make the most of winter while it’s here!

Image Credit: fun.familyeducation.com

3 Ways to Choose a Book for Your Child

You want your child to enjoy reading, and you want to pick out just the right books. How do you do this? There are many ways to pick out books for children that help you be successful in your choices. Here are three ways to choose a book for your child.

Match your child’s daily life and interests.
Choosing books about everyday activities helps children learn how the world works, or at least how it should work. Books about waking up and going to bed, going to school, playing, having meals with family, or even having a fight with little sister can be more than entertaining as they teach kids what to expect in everyday life and how to resolve problems.

Choose books that match your child’s interests. Toddlers may like books about kittens and puppies, while older children may be attracted to more active storylines, such as one centered around a kids’ basketball game. Does your child like sports, music, or dance? What about an interest in science and how things work? Look for books that focus on these activities. Appealing to young readers’ interests and hobbies through books helps to entice them to read.

children-books

Image Credit: Flickr

 

Let kids pick out their own books.
You might consider encouraging your children to pick out their own books. This might be especially important with toddlers. Three and four year olds may recognize a few words, but what matters more are the pictures in a book. That’s what keeps young readers focused. Parents can read to them as they stare at the pictures. Put your toddler in front of a shelf of books, and see what he or she grabs. The same principle applies to older kids. Let your grade school child browse through books in a bookstore. When kids are ready for chapter books or even more advanced books, then this exercise will help you see that.

child-book

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Read book reviews.
Look for book reviews of children’s books. You can often find reviews and suggestions in children’s magazines. These can be found in print magazines as well as online. Search online for “children’s book reviews” to see what you come up with. Vary the search as needed. You should even be able to find age-appropriate suggestions by using this method. A book store online–such as Lakeside.com —may also provide book reviews so that you can look over the book before you commit to buy it.

Local libraries are another source to review potential book titles for kids. Just ask the librarian if they have book reviews for children’s books. At the very least, the library might have a list of recommended reading for certain age groups. The library could be a very helpful resource in pointing you to just the right books for your child.

Save on children’s books online.
When finding books for children, visiting a book store online is a great way to go. You can preview a number of titles before spending a dime. Finding just the right books for your child in order to develop a love for reading is important. What other ways have you found that help in finding books for your child?

Emma Watson is a professional blogger, college English teacher. She is passionate about Book, technology, fashion, beauty, and everything about online shopping. You can find Emma on Google+