Winter activities with children

Winter activities with children

Written by Tania Giorgetta

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You’re snuggled up underneath your doona, there is a warm glow appearing around the curtains as the sun slowly raises its head to start the day. You can hear the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and you close your eyes and snuggle deeper down into your warm cocoon. Just as you feel yourself drifting off to sleep once more you feel a tight pinch on your big toe. You slowly open one eye and peer down to the bottom of the bed. Two mischievous, smiling faces beam back at you, their hopeful smiles and bright eyes signalling that it is morning. (Or at least some time in the AM hours.) “Hi mum!” the big one calls out and the little one pinches your toe again. “What are we doing today?” they ask excitedly, their bed hair sticking out at 45 degree angles from their heads. The little one gives you a toothy grin as they both bound up onto the bed like excited puppies.

Sound familiar? Welcome to the winter weekends. The days when cries of “I’m bored!” echo in the air.

We’ve put together a list of things to do with kids on those dreary, rainy days when your brain is frozen and your creativity is off in Hawaii drinking Pina Coladas. Those days when you just can’t stand hearing one more “What are we doing today?”

Hopefully there are some ideas here to help you get through the ‘indoors’ months.

At home:

1) Cooking. We did some research on mums and dads and one of the resounding common answers for things to do on rainy days with kids was cooking. Now you don’t need to get all Masterchef about it, baking simple things like scones, muffins, sausage rolls, omelettes, pancakes, banana bread, biscuits, cakes; things that they can knead, stir, crack eggs into and lick the bowls are popular. Also things like veggie sticks and fruit kebabs are healthy and fun but only if your child is old enough not to stab themselves, you or the cat in the process. Remember when cooking with kids it is all about the journey. They will definitely make more mess than is necessary and you may have to remake the parts that they did. This is ok.

“You are such a great help darling” Mum lied.
“You are such a great help darling” Mum lied.

2) Art and Craft. Paint with water books are a safe option. If you are brave you will get out the paints. If you are wanting to nurture their creative souls but also save your sofa you will get out the pencils and crayons. If you are crazy and a bit fabulous you will get out the glitter. Now don’t get me wrong, I love glitter, kids love glitter, it’s a win-win situation. The loser in this scenario will be the house. You will be cleaning up glitter for months. Remember glitter is like the cold-sore of the craft box. It never goes away!

3) Games. Depending on the age of your children, board games are a fantastic way to while away a rainy day. You can get out the monopoly board and try to beat your kids to Mayfair. Or how about Scrabble for an interesting look into your child’s vocabulary. If your children are younger: Lego, play dough, jigsaw puzzles and games like pick-up sticks are fun. You could try to make your own pick-up sticks with some skewers, colour the ends with different textas to denote the ‘value’ of each stick. Be warned though, little fingers are good at getting into tight gaps!

Daisy was confused by the concept of “free parking…”
Daisy, from Perth, is confused by the concept of “free parking…”

4) Encourage them to get creative. If you have older children they could do a whole days activity like putting on a play or writing a book. A play is especially good if you have multiple kids or if they have their friends, neighbours, cousins over. The play can involve scripting, costumes, set design, rehearsals and finally performance. If the kids are shy they can make puppets to enact their story. Writing a book is a good idea if there is only one or two children; they can plan it out, write the book, publish it; (type/rewrite out the good copy), illustrate the book and finally present it. Lots of skills to be learnt with both these ideas. They will probably need supervision though. If your children are too young for these ideas they could make a fort or cubby house, or set up a tent in the lounge room. Let them make a mess, let them use the pillows, cushions and blankets you have in the house, let them sleep the night in the lounge. Have adventures and make memories.

5) Explore the winter wonderland. If your children are younger and it’s not raining too hard why not don gumboots, raincoats, umbrellas and hats and get out amongst it. You could go on a surprise walk noticing all the cool things that come out when it rains; the snails and insects and different bugs and birds. Jumping in puddles encouraged of course!

The puddles were just begging for small gumboots!
The puddles were just begging for small gumboots!

6) Indoor cinema. Have a movie day. Drag mattresses and doonas out into the lounge room. Pop some popcorn, turn off the lights and watch a few movies. Your children will be excited for the treat in the dark and you may get to nap through Frozen, The Smurfs or Ninja Turtles. Again, win-win. The kids can have apple juice while you have some “grape juice.” Anything to get you through that Disney singing right!

7) Bath time. Long hot baths with lots of toys is a good way to spend some time on a winter’s day. Plus you won’t have to bath them later so you are turning a chore into a fun activity. This one is especially good coupled with the winter wonderland walk in point 5.

8) Bed time. Who says bed is just for night? Let them snuggle up in bed with a book on a rainy day. There is something delicious and forbidden about reading in bed during the daylight hours. They may even drift off into a nap after all their amazing activities.

Perth in winter with children

9) Play centres are the most popular answer parents give when asked about getting out and about in winter. Indoor play centres are popping up all over the city and they are a safe, fun way to spend a few hours. You will have to pay an entrance fee but they are generally not too expensive. There are many play centres in and around Perth. Some include:

10) Scitech. Yes Scitech is still there!  The baby chickens are still there!  (probably not the same ones though)  It’s a fun place to take your children and they can learn while playing and doing experiments.  All out of the rain and without making a mess in your house.  There is something at Scitech for all ages including the adults.   After all the fun and excitement of their science filled day why not head to the Planetarium in the same building to watch an imax movie about the planets and the galaxies or one of the other special movies that are played there and change often.  Click here for links to their sites.   Scitech.   Planetarium.

11) AQWA. Why not take your children along to experience life in a giant aquarium.  The huge dome shaped underwater world is home to many different sea creatures.  People move underneath on a large circular travelator as fish, sea creatures and even sharks swim around above your head. There is something magical about catching a glimpse into this otherwise forbidden world.  When you have finished inside the aquarium there is a touch pool where you can hold starfish, sea cucumbers and even pat a baby shark!
Click here for a link to AQWA

12) Indoor Swimming Pools. It may seem funny to be swimming in winter but most of the indoor swimming pools are heated and include slides and spas and other fun activities.  It feels quite exciting to be swimming while it is cold outside, plus the kids are using up all their pent up energy so will hopefully sleep soundly that night. Adults can amuse themselves at the coffee shops and lunch bars if your children are old enough to look after themselves in the water.

13) Catch the train into the city and get some culture.   Kids love trains, catching a train into the city can be a whole day experience especially if you couple it with a trip to the museum, art gallery or one of the theatres or cinemas in and around town.  The cultural centre is home to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, The State Library, The Museum of Western Australia and several theatre spaces.   You can also do some shopping and grab lunch at one of the many places to eat in Northbridge or the city.  Get your kids into some arts and culture early on in life.  They will reap the rewards forever.

14)  Winterland in Perth or the Winter Garden in Fremantle.   Ice skating, snowmen, games, activities, music, food, slides.  The cultural centre in Perth and the Esplanade in Fremantle have both been transformed into Winter Wonderlands for the school holidays.  Links below for more information:
Winter Garden Fremantle
Winterland Perth

We hope you have found something in these lists that will help when you hear those dreaded words…. “I’m bored…” this winter.

Can you add anything to our list? 

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