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Winter doldrum busters
January 10, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

It seems, at times, my children play outside more in the winter season than during the warmer months of summer. Those mountains of snow call out to be jumped from, climbed on, slid down, trekked over, tunneled through, and re-created into other snow objects.

We have done more sledding, snowmobiling, and just plain tromping through the snow this winter than we did all of last winter, and it is actually only the start of the winter season. A child did comment to me the other day that they can’t wait until spring.

Winter can be a long season, especially if the temperatures are hovering in single digits. Doldrums can set in, for children and adults alike. Don’t let the winter season keep you indoors. Enjoy the snow with your children.

Build a snow castle or sculpture. Using shovels, including beach shovels, pails, garbage cans, and pails, snow can easily be molded and sculpted. Add a finishing touch of color, by spraying on some colored water with a spray bottle (water and food coloring). Create snow murals with spray bottles filled with different colors of water.

With camera in hand, go for a family walk and take pictures of icicles, snow mounds, snow-covered trees, capturing winter in its glory. My son received a camera for Christmas, and his favorite pictures are close-ups of objects, such as icicles and Christmas cactus blooms. Develop the pictures and create a winter scrapbook with your children.

As the temperatures can get frigid, indoor activities are a must, as well. Use your imagination.

Children love putting on puppet shows. Performing a show within a puppet theater makes the experience even more delightful. Hang a tension rod in a doorway, cut a square from the center of a sheet, hang the sheet over the rod, and you have a movable, and easily-created stage.

Children can create puppets out of socks (old preferably), small brown or white lunch bags, gloves (draw faces on the finger tips or Velcro small action figures to the fingers), and whatever else children can imagine to use.

My youngest daughter loves to read books and then act the story out. Sometimes, especially during the winter, family movie nights are quite enjoyable. Popcorn, hot cocoa, or apple cider add to the family fun atmosphere.

FamilyEducation put out their list of the top 10 children’s books turned movies. Read the book with your children and then enjoy the movie together.

“Alice in Wonderland,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Harry Potter” series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who,” and “Coraline” made up the list.

Some of these movies are for older children, tweens, and teens, but many can be enjoyed by all. I just took my 13-year-old son and his friends to see “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and the consensus was a very good rating.

My two daughters, one 10 years old, and the other 6, thoroughly enjoyed the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books and the movie.

Engaging in a board game is always a good option. In fact, the past few days, our family has been playing the classic “Twister” game, which has provided our family with some great humor, as my husband is not the most flexible, agile person. This game provides fun, laughs, and some good old exercise. Just be careful to not pull a muscle or two.

Other classic games, such as “Scrabble,” “Monopoly,” “Life,” “Sorry,” “Candy Land,” and my family’s favorite, “Clue,” can provide quality family time. “Apples to Apples,” both the junior version and senior version, is a newer game that has become another Sebora family favorite.