Following on from an incredibly mild December (by Scotland’s standards, anyway), it’s become a tad chilly of late. For some unknown reason, we’re always surprised by this. Whilst it’s tempting to stay huddled up indoors at every opportunity, we’re all in need of a good vitamin D boost and, probably, a little extra physical exercise after the holidays.
So let’s try to keep that New Year’s Resolution to “get healthier” going a little bit longer before we retire it to the back of our minds until next January!
We know it can be a real challenge to think of new and interesting things to do with the family in this type of weather, so we decided to put our heads together to share with you some of the fun activities we enjoy doing with our own families. Some indoors, some outdoors – each of which helps keep our minds and bodies active and entertained.
Winter tree silhouette painting
This is one of our absolute favourites that’s great for adults and kids. All you need is some blank paper, masking tape, and watercolour paint/pencils. Before you know it, you’ve got a fabulous series of unique artwork for the walls!
Take a walk outside and look up at the bare trees and various colours in the sky (early morning and evening are best when the sun is rising or setting). Take some photographs or simply gather a selection of branches to observe. Back indoors, gather your craft supplies and get set up on the floor or at the kitchen table.
Rip strips of masking tape – some longer and thicker strips for the true trunk and big branches, and thinner strips for the more spindly branches that taper off. Arrange them on the paper in the silhouette of a tree and press firmly before applying a vibrant array of blue, grey, purple, red and orange paint to mimic the sky. When the paint is dry, remove the masking tape strips… voila! You have an original masterpiece and some very proud children!
Nature trail and scavenger hunt
Ahead of your walk in the park (Rouken Glen, Darnley Country Park, and Greenbank House and Garden are all perfect spots) make a list of items and wildlife to look for, and perhaps print out pictures of everything you hope to discover – pine cones, berries, rocks, leaves, perennial flowers, particular trees and plants, birds, squirrels, snails, etc. This is a great sensory experience for the kids and it really tires them out!
Take a basket and start collecting as many items on the list as you can, with the exception of animals and bugs, of course! You can also add descriptors to your list as well – something green, something red, something smooth, something rough, etc. Alternatively, you can set up a scavenger hunt in your own garden with a trail of seeds for the kids to follow to find nature’s treasures – some of which you will may need to strategically place yourself!
Cookie baking sessions
A firm favourite with all of us. Not so much the cleaning up afterwards, but we thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to eat the tasty treats we’ve created! Get your aprons on, let the kids get their hands into the dough, and let the creativity flow when it comes to making biscuit shapes and decorating them with icing, food colouring, hundreds and thousands, and anything else you want to chuck on the top!
Used Christmas/birthday card crafts
Instead of placing all your Christmas cards in the recycling bin, why not make some good use of them by creating gift tags, tree decorations, a collage, or festive bunting for next year. Cut out your favourite images from the cards, or simply cut stars and tree shapes.
Who says it needs to be warm and sunny to eat al fresco? As long as it’s not pouring with rain, a winter picnic is so much fun when you’re all bundled up in your cosy jumpers, scarves, gloves and socks (we’re assuming you, too, got quite a few of these items at Christmas). Make some soul-warming soup, a round of sandwiches and a winter fruit salad, grab a big blanket, pick a pleasant spot in your garden or in the park – you’re good to go. Turn it into a fun story session by taking along your favourite books and each taking a turn to read to each other. A great motivation to get out into the fresh air and put some colour in your cheeks!
Tell us how you keep your children entertained and active during the cold season!