With most of the United States in a freeze, what can you and your family do that doesn’t require being outside? Well, lots actually. Here are our Top Ten things to do when the weather outside is frightful.
1. Visit a Museum. Just admit it– there is at least one museum in your city that you have never been to. Believe me, this is more common than you know. Even I, Dear Readers, had never been to Alcatraz in my native Bay Area until after my 30th birthday… and yes, it was freezing that day.
Is it the price of a ticket keeping you back? Or maybe you’re afraid of all that culture? Check your local listings for museums and then check the museum’s site directly. Most museums have a “locals” day once per month where admission is either free or discounted.
2. Make crafts. There are a million ideas for at-home craft projects, and All Get Out isn’t the place to get those. Instead, may we suggest that you find ideas at DLTK’s, Craftbits, or All Free Crafts.
3. Read a book together. Better yet, write a book together. Ask the kids if they want to be the author, or the illustrator and together come up with a story of your own.
4. Hit the gym. You might be surprised by how many gyms have child care these days. In fact, your kids might have more fun playing on toys and with other children than you will be sweating it away. Prices for child care are usually low too. We spotted childcare in a brand new state-of-the-art gymnasium in Washington DC for just $3 an hour.
5. Go shopping. Is there a store in your town where they encourage children to “test-out” some of their products? Google your local toy store to find out. We found a variety store in Atlanta where little ones are encouraged to play with a Thomas table. It’s a great way to do “market research” on what they might get for their next birthday or holiday.
6. Wreak havoc in the kitchen. Grab those cook books and play! Try creating a sandwich assembly line, or, of your tykes are ready to bake, try making pop-overs or muffins. Mom & Dad do the heavy lifting with any knives, and the oven, but kids love to measure, stir and especially break eggs (just watch for stray shells)! Our favorite kids recipe ideas can be found here.
7. Find an indoor jumping playground near you. Have you seen these? Basically, it’s a warehouse loaded with those giant “jumpy castles” for kids to burn off some energy in. You’re not likely to simply drive-by one of these establishments, since they’re most often found in industrial parks. Admission is usually about $5 per child (most times parents pay nothing) for as long as you wish to stay, and some stores will allow you to bring your own food too. Of course these places also sell snack, but they’re usually pre-packaged stuff like chips and juice. Some of the top names in the business are Monkey Joes, Bounce U, and Jump Zone.
8. Play “indoor sports”. Have you ever done this? Clear a large room of all breakables (don’t just put them in a corner- physically remove them). Leave the couch and any cushioned stuff, naturally. Grab that Nerf football and … go for it. Be mindful of lighting, and windows, but if you play gently enough, this can be very fun.
9. Go to the mall. Not to be confused with #5 on our list, and spending money is really only up to you. What we’re getting at is that many malls have indoor areas for kids to jump and play. Google your nearest mall to see what they have to offer.
10. Good old-fashion board games. C’mon- when was the last time you played one? Get it out, dust it off and teach a new generation some old tricks (and cultural classics).