Winter weather in the UK is never much good for families – the wind, rain and grey sky can make it difficult to spend much time outdoors, and indoor activities can sometimes cost more than you want to spend. But, there are actually a few things you can do to keep your kids entertained through the winter months – and, before you worry, this is without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Kit them out for the weather
First things first, you’ll need to sort your children’s wardrobes out. As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” and, provided they have good quality waterproofs and wellies, you’ll find that they can play outdoors all day long. Take them to park, go on soggy walks through the forest and even brave a blustery beach on a chilly afternoon – they’ll get the chance to run off all that energy and you might get a few minutes of peace and quiet at a time while you watch them charge off ahead.
Get a library card
Next, pay a visit to your local library. Signing up for a library card is a great idea: it’s significantly cheaper than visiting Waterstones throughout winter (in fact, library cards are free, as are many library services), and it’s possible that you might just help to kick-start your little one’s lifelong love of reading. Take your kids along to the group events (there are often book readings designed to entertain little ones) and encourage them to select books to take home to read together.
Hold dance parties
If the weather is truly awful, or you’ve all had enough of reading, it’s time to crank up the volume on your speakers. A dance party in the living room is fun, mood boosting and good exercise for everyone (yourself included) and requires nothing more than simply picking a few songs from a Spotify playlist. You could even just play songs directly from YouTube – there’s no need for fancy subscriptions or technology… just your best moves! Turn it into a game of musical statues if your little ones start to lose interest – the challenge and incentive of a prize for the winner will easily give you another twenty minutes of energy burning.
Write and illustrate a story book
This will keep them entertained for hours on end. Maybe even weeks, if you can get them to commit to it for that long. Simply take some A4 paper, fold in half and staple it down the seam to make a book. Task your child to come up with a character, write a short story and illustrate every page of it – including the front cover. This is perfect for primary school-aged children, and a good way of practising all kinds of literacy skills without them even realising.
Take them to the theatre
As you can see by now, there are lots of cheap things you can do to keep your kids entertained throughout the winter months. But, once in a while, it’s nice to treat them (and yourself) to a ticketed event, such as a West End show in London. The theatre is the perfect place for kids as it’s all about music, colour and drama, and with so many shows geared up for adults as well as children, you’ll have a great time seeing a theatre performance with them.
Visit nearby cities
The UK is full of interesting places to visit and, because it’s such a small island compared to many other countries around the world, you’re really never that far away from an interesting city. Spend some time exploring a new place – little ones will love the novelty of riding a bus in a busy urban area if you live in the countryside, or simply just the responsibility of having their own ticket in their coat pocket, (or perhaps just the receipt!). Pay a visit to local museums while you’re there too – entrance is often free or discounted for children, giving you somewhere warm and dry to hang out during winter and plenty to keep everyone engaged and learning.
Hang out with grandma
… and grandpa, and cousins, and friends – winter is a great time to spend some time with close friends and family members, building dens or simply watching a film on the sofa. It will give your kids a change of scene and someone different to play with and, with any luck, it will give you a break too!
Do you do any of these winter activities already? And do you have any suggestions to share of your own?