By Megan Muscia, DO, FAAP
Its that time again in Chicago, winter is here! With winter comes a lot of time indoors, and that means finding creative ways to keep your kids entertained. Its easy to resort to using the television to entertain kids, but too much TV reinforces a sedentary lifestyle. Television is also not good for stimulating development, especially in small children. Use that time indoors to play with your kids, engage them and get them active even while they are inside.

Here are some indoor activities you can do and you don’t have to be super crafty to do them!

  1. Go Camping– put your tent up in your front room, break out the sleeping bags, make s’mores, tell scary stories. Just because you can’t camp outside doesn’t mean you can’t do it inside!
  2. Build a fort– make a house out of an old box- kids love to build forts, it inspires creative play and its just their size!
  3. Make cookies– or let them help you cook! Get your kids involved in planning meals teach them to cook. They will be proud an excited to eat what they have prepared.
  4. Indoor obstacle course– create your own obstacle course inside using furniture and toys- crawl over or under chairs, jump in and out of hula hoops, craw through a tunnel etc.
  5. Go on a holiday lights tour– Before the holiday season is over, get the family in the car, turn on the holiday tunes, and drive around looking for the best holiday decorations.
  6. Volunteer– There are lots of places always looking for extra volunteers- soup kitchens, food banks, etc. Or, think of a project you can do at home: send letters or care packages to the troops or patients in hospitals.
  7. Pretend grocery store– If you have a play kitchen, keep old cereal or cracker boxes and milk containers. Pretend you and your kids are going to the grocery store.
  8. Dress up– Find old dresses or costumes and dress up with your child.
  9. Build a snowman– So this is not indoor, but if you have a snow day, go enjoy it with your child. Build a snowman, go sledding. Enjoy the outdoors and then come back in and warm up with some hot chocolate.
  10. Have a beach day– put your bathing suits on and go swimming in the bathtub, blow up beach balls and throw them around.
  11. Scavenger hunt– create a series of clues/tasks for your kids to get to a prize at the end.
  12. Paint Pictures in the snow– put food coloring in squirt bottles and create snow art.
  13. Play board games– break out your favorite games and have a family game night.
  14. Throw a dance party– dress up, do a routine, get the music going and get everyone moving!
  15. “Minute to Win It”– create a series of timed challenges. Examples: stack as many pennies as you can using only one hand in 1 minute; using only a spoon and your mouth, transfer ping pong balls from one bowl to another etc.

If you are looking for more in-depth ideas and explanations for these activities just Google them or check out Pinterest! Enjoy your winter with your kids.