Parents & Kids Enjoying Winter Together – A Customised Guide
Snow, Sub-zero winter for 6 moths a year. Not all family members love that. According to Environmental Canada, snow fall can occur from October to April. Temperatures can range from 10degrees to -35degrees. Darkness is a companion. Many individuals become inflicted by lower motivation and energy, rallying family members to get together may require more creativity. Yet, there are numerous activities you can do with your family to have fun and bond together. Here I suggest activities for all types of interests in the family. Gardner developed the multiple intelligence model to help build awareness of the different ways children learn based on their natural interests and learning style. I used this 8 multiple intelligences model to develop family fun activities which are relevant to your family members. My hope is to help you avoid that whine, “That’s boring, I don’t want to do that”. (Feel free to scroll through to your children).
Family Fun with your Physically Active Children
- Build a model together. Visit your local hobby or craft shops for model kits – pieces for cars, places, buildings, etc. Or, you can carve out a car or plane with soft wood. Adding a new peice every year becomes a proud collection to display. Later, it may become an heirloom to display and pass on to your kids when they grow up.
- Visit the indoor rock-climbing facility for some active fun together. (In South Edmonton: Vertically Inclined Rock Gym)
- Visit an indoor amusement park (here in Edmonton we have Galaxyland). Alternatively you may visit a neighbourhood indoor play centre (e.g. Play Gym in Summerside, Ellerslie), book time at the local recreational centre gymnasium for an hour family hoops. Some community recreational centres (e.g., Terwillegar) have drop in/ playrooms too.
Coming soon : Oudoor winter family fun
Family Fun With Your Social Children
- Have them help host a family (or family & best friend) themed party for the holidays. It could be Boxing Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, the last Saturday night of the holidays, whatever time works for you.
- Play family party games: Charades, Taboo, Cranium, & Pictionary, are just some of my favourites. I am sure you kids have ideas for other trendy party games so be sure to ask for their input. Maybe select a family member to chair family game night on a rotational schedule.
- Take your child out on a one-one date. It could be to the local coffee shop for hot chocolate or checking out the latest released movie at the cinema.
Fun With Your Talkative/Expressive Child
- Take your children out for a night-time drive to look at the holiday lights and displays. Engage in and enjoy the conversations that emerge (or that you, well,… initiate).
- Read aloud a classic or contemporary book. Read a chapter or 2 together aloud at night before bedtime. (Trust me, even the disengaged teenager, warms up to listening to a good story, but keep your expectations low, s/he is not gonna “show” it). Some of my favourites are: Anne of Green Gables, Little Woman, Chronicles of Narnia, Oliver Twist, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and The Christmas Carol. Ask your local librarian for suggestions. I recommend if you want to borrow the book from the library to place it on hold. (The last 2 years my family has been reading from the Chronicles of Narnia, I always have to place on early hold on the book at the library. Preview the book first before introducing it to the family. One year I brought in Treasure Island but the old-sailor-english was impossible for us to follow, even though it was a good story. That’s the teacher in me)
Family Fun With Your Analytic, Systematic Child
- Visit your local hobby shop or bookstore and purchase a logic puzzle book for the season. You can solve puzzles together. If you are competitive (which is okay to be) you may purchase multiple copies of the same book and race to see who solves the puzzle first.
- Recruit your logical/analytical child to help support your social child in planning any family gathering parties.
- Play strategic games together. Some great traditional board game are Chess, Mancala, Monopoly, and Chineese Checkers. Many of these are available as apps. Two cool websites to check for online smart games are coolmath-games.com and sheppardsoftware.com. Two other apps you may check out are Unblockme and Elevate.
Coming soon related: Family time apps
Family Fun With Your Musical Child
- Create a CD of your favourite holiday or Christmas songs. Host a Holiday Karaoke party.
- Attend a Christmas pageant or play at a local church or school. If you have teenagers you might consider visiting a show in a distant, unfamiliar neighbourhood. Try this to avoid losing your family time to your teenagers’ friends.
- Re-compose a favourite holiday song as a rap, country or a reggae tune. This is especially fun if you incorporate musical instruments. (An electrical keyboard often comes pre-programed with beats representing various styles of music – NO musical talent required – I don’t have any myself ).
Family Fun With Your Artistic Child
- Make your own ornaments together. It may be as simple as cutting out shapes from foam sheets and stringing it with pipe-cleaners (from dollarstore). Craft stores also offer a range of wood-cut outs, papermache or ceramic ornaments to personalise.
- Create a snow-globe together. Each person places an item in the globe which represents a special memory they had with the family this year. This memorabilia can be made of modelling clay.
- Create a holiday scrapbook or blog. Take pictures of special events and experiences over the season. You can create a few scrapbook pages with printed pictures, or you can create a family digital album. Dedicate a time every year to look over previous holiday memories.
Family Fun with Reflective/Service Oriented Child
- Volunteer with a shelter or food bank to help pack hampers for families.
- Celebrate Positivity & Kindness – encourage conversations where family members share a story about something inspirational or encouraging to them. It could be a quote, a story of someone else act of kindness, or an experience they had helping someone recently. Sit around in a circle and pass around a symbol which gives the holder sole speaking rights.
- Family Ladder time – Ladders are symbolic of climbing towards reaching a desired item or goal. Winter is a great time to reflect on how our lives have unfolded in the last year and visualise about what you would like to become in the new year. Host a family meeting and invite each of your children and teenagers, and adults, to set goals for their personal development. Write each down on a 3X5 index card and post them on a foam-core board. In family therapy, I invite families to draw a ladder with 4 rungs representing every 90 days. In a family counselling session families review their goal cards and tell in honest accountability where they are in their journey (what challenges they’ve had, changes made, success stories). After each person shares they move themselves to the next rung. (Sharing a short version of one of my play therapy activities with you).
Fun with your Nature Loving Child
- Go for a nature walk, collecting your own greenery for homemade wreaths of garlands
- Go for a walk around your neighbourhood in the full-moon. Look up on almanac when the next full moon will be. Bring along a mug of hot chocolate.
- Collect the sand castle molds and shovels and go out in the snow and build snow castles.
- Sit by a park lake and watch the animals. Squirrels can be very entertaining, at least,… for a while. Or, if you have really young kids hunting for cloud pictures is always. Or, play a game of 10 questions with young teens. The whole idea is to be outside enjoying nature together. Do whatever you love to do together.
Our children have naturally different interests, as wise parents we will try to consider their individuality in planning family time with them. If you have more than 4 children you might need to have multiple activities in a family time, or have family times more frequently. It is impossible to please everybody all of the time but do try to please everyone at least once in awhile. It will go a long way to helping build a sense of belonging, reduce conflict, and protect your family from needing interventions from counselling professionals like myself.
For more family fun ideas read some of our other posts
Share your ideas, what do you do with your family in the winter months? Do you have a child with special needs, how would you adapt any of these to fit your family?
Help for Families Canada offers an one of a kind parenting program. We are passionate about helping families come together and enjoy each other more. Msg us if we could help you.