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10 fun winter activities for kids

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Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The post 10 fun winter activities for kids #ad appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Is it Better for Your Kid to Join the Gym, or Play a Team Sport?

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Activity is important for kids of all ages. But when it comes to regular exercise, what’s the best way to get them moving?

We all know that kids have energy to spare—the question is, what’s the best way for them to burn it? Is it better for kids to join a gym, or play a team sport? While it may seem like the best thing to do is just let them run in circles in the yard like puppies, the fact is, there’s a time and a place for different physical activities in a kid’s life.

The number one rule when it comes to kids of all ages and exercise: Whatever they do, they should have fun doing it. “We are creatures that are meant to move, and kids should get their physical activity through whatever feels good for them and makes them happy,” says Jessica Glazer, a certified personal trainer and former elementary school phys ed and health teacher. “Not all kids like to play organized sports, but those kids may find joy in simply taking their dog for a walk or playing on the trampoline by themselves. That’s totally okay!”

While unstructured play is important for children of all ages (yes, you too!), once team sports start around age 4, feel free to get your kid involved. “Young kids will benefit more from organized sports more than working out in a gym,” says Frank Rizzo, personal trainer and founder of The Dad Habit. “It’s fine for them to join as soon as they’re interested and they have the attention span to listen to the coaches. Early on, the focus should be on fun, learning the skills of the sport, and being part of a team.”

Team sports, both experts agree, have incredible benefits beyond the physical aspect. “Sports allow children a place to express themselves and find a healthy way to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression,” notes Glazer. “Sports also help teach coping skills, healthy competition, sportsmanship, communication, teamwork, goal setting, and long and short term gratification.”

These are all important skills to take with them into adulthood, emphasizes Rizzo. “Plus, they’re learning how to win with grace and lose with dignity,” he says. “They learn that failing is okay, as long you pick yourself up and keep working.”

For kids out of elementary school, exercising at a gym (or on gym equipment) can be a supplement to their other activity. “I think at around 12 to 14 years old kids can start seeing real benefit form exercise in a gym,” says Rizzo. “Focusing on an exercise program that will help them excel on the field is a great way to get them engaged. But they need to enjoy it, in order to develop a lifelong love of physical activity.”

Rizzo’s advice for taking your kid to the gym: Keep it simple. “A child doesn’t need much equipment,” he says. “Focusing on balance, agility, and calisthenics is valuable for kids. This includes exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, running, sprints, lateral movements.”

Glazer notes that some gyms have their own rules about kids. “I’ve worked at a variety of gyms, and it’s pretty standard that anyone under the age of 18 needs an adults consent,” she says. “Many gyms also require an adult or trainer to be with the child during the workout if they’re under 14 or 16.” It’s for good reason, she explains. “Gym equipment can be extremely dangerous if not used properly—plus a lot of the equipment is not made for the dimensions of a child’s body. This can alter the range of motion and proper positioning in a dangerous way.”

Whether you start your kid on sports early, let him or her find her own way of moving on the playground, or introduce your older kid to the gym, your goal should always be to encourage them to find activity they love, and keep doing it. “Don’t overthink it,” says Rizzo. “Just keep them active!”

 

This article was written by Melanie Mannarino from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder

This cardboard tube bird feeder craft is a fun way to invite feathered friends to your yard! Watch as birds come to feed, and talk with your little one about all the different birds that visit the feeder. You can even look up the birds you see online to learn more about them. Audubon.com and National Geographic Kids are great resources.

What You Need

  • Plate
  • Birdseed
  • Nut or Seed Butter
  • Cardboard Tube (toilet paper size or half of a paper towel roll)
  • String

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Instructions

Pour the birdseed onto the plate and use a spoon, butter knife or popsicle stick to coat the outside of the cardboard tube with the nut or seed butter.

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Roll the coated tube in the birdseed. Fill in any gaps as needed until the whole tube is covered.

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Thread a piece of string through the cardboard tube and tie the ends of the string together.

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Hang it from a tree for the birds to enjoy!

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Snowflakes: A Great Analogy For Teaching Children That It’s Good To Be Unique

In today’s world, we worry more about fitting in than sticking true to ourselves. Peer acceptance is an especially strong concept among young children. When children are starting school, their priority and the thing they may fear the most is simply making friends. Instead of wearing their favorite shirts and risk having other children make fun of them, our children may be holding back and wear something less themselves to fit in with others. Instead of sharing their favorite movie, they may give in and share a friend’s favorite movie so no one laughs at their opinions.

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It’s important for our little ones to understand that they are talented and what they like or dislike does matter. Their other opinions matter too. Our children should feel comfortable expressing themselves; just as each snowflake is unique, so is each child different from the others. Completing a snowflake activity is a good way to explain this concept.

Gather a stack of white computer paper and cut each sheet to form a perfect square. Once in a square, fold the paper diagonally and then diagonally another three times. Next, cut the tip off, cut out shapes and slits in the paper and then unfold for the final product. Repeat and see how each snowflake is different from the others while each snowflake is itself beautiful.

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We see that no two snowflakes are the same. It’s similar with people; even twins are not exactly the same. Teach your children that it’s okay to be different and to be confident in being different. Your children are more likely to become leaders when they’re confident in themselves, their likes, their dislikes and their overall decisions.

What are some ways your children openly express themselves?

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

With Father’s Day right around the corner, here is a craft that is not only fun for children, but fun for dads, too!

Puzzle Collage

Materials

  • 8-10 large Popsicle sticks
  • White glue
  • Tape
  • Small utility knife (for the adult helper’s use only!)
  • A copy of a favorite photo of daddy

Instructions

  1. Lay the Popsicle sticks side by side so they align at the top and bottom.
  2. Place pieces of tape along the top and bottom of all the sticks to hold them together.
  3. Flip the sticks over, center the photo and stick it to the Popsicle sticks using white glue.
  4. Place a few heavy books on top and let it dry completely.
  5. When dry, remove the tape on the back and have the adult helper use the utility knife to separate the Popsicle sticks and cut through the photo.
  6. Mix the sticks up and wrap them or bundle them together and tie a ribbon around them and give to Dad on Father’s Day!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Pocket Full of Kisses Craft

Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift from your little one? Here’s a craft you can do together and present to mom to thank her for all that she does!

What you need:

  • Pocket Full of Kisses1Crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint
  • Two white paper plates
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn, ribbon or a long shoelace
  • Safety scissors
  • Bag of HERSHEY’S KISSES®
  • Peel-and-stick magnets (optional)

What you do:

  1. Cut one paper plate in half and leave the other one whole.
  2. Use the hole punch to punch holes, about one inch apart, along the straight edge of the cut plate.
  3. Put the plates together so that the outside edges match up (this will form the pocket). While they are together, continue to punch holes, about one inch apart, around the edges of both plates.
  4. Use the yarn, ribbon or long shoelace to sew the two plates together. (You won’t actually sew the straight edge of the cut plate to the full plate, but you can lace the yarn through these holes for decoration and added support.)
  5. Tie the ends of the yarn, ribbon or shoelace together when sewing is complete.
  6. Make a hole at the top and tie a piece of yarn or ribbon through for hanging on the wall or attach a few peel-and-stick magnets to the back for hanging on the refrigerator.
  7. Decorate with crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint.
  8. When complete, fill the pocket with HERSHEY’S KISSES® and display or give as a gift!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Happy Father’s Day: Goodies for Daddy Snack!

This Father’s Day, surprise dad with his own special snack mix! With help from an adult, little ones can mix up their own special creation for dad using a combination of the snack items below (and anything else you think dad might like). Then, decorate a disposable food container with markers, paint and craft supplies to store dad’s special treat!

  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • Raisins
  • M&M’s®
  • Cheerios®
  • Chex® cereal
  • Small pretzels
  • Teddy Grahams®
  • Small cheese snack crackers
  • Goldfish® crackers

 

When complete, consider writing a little ingredients list for dad to attach to the package, such as: “Ingredients: peanuts (because I’m your peanut), raisins (because you’re so good at raisin’ me), Teddy Grahams (for a big bear hug) and M&M’s (because you’re so sweet).”