More Winter Fun: Doing the Unexpected

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

The weatherman told us this week that 49 of the 50 U.S. states have snow.  Chances are, if you are living in an area that doesn’t currently have a snowy forecast, you’re dealing with gray skies and unfriendly weather, or perhaps are just in the mid-January dull-drums.

Maybe you’ve been snowed in for most of the week and are running short on ideas and inspiration.  What can be done to shake up an ordinary winter day?

I have gathered up a few ideas for you today that involve being a little bit silly, doing things that are unexpected, and that hopefully will be a lot of fun on these January snow days.

Winter Fun: the Unexpected

Have an Indoor Picnic – Sometimes what we need is a change in perspective, doing something familiar in a new way.  Spread a tablecloth on the floor and have dinner together tonight as an indoor picnic.  I’m planning to set up my family with dinner in front of the fireplace in the living room (the warmest room in our house right now).

Mix Up the Seasons – Wear  your Hawaiian printed shirts (perhaps over your long underwear?), break out summer’s fancy drink umbrellas and swirly straws, make cocoa popsicles, cuddle up with a few beach towels during story time, let the kids play with the sandbox shovel and pail in the bathtub tonight (if you live at my house, you might want to make sure they aren’t still sandy first), camp out in the living room.

Photo by Shutterstock

Look Up – Bundle up some evening before bedtime and head outside.  The night skies in Winter are some of my very favorite.  At our house, we like to take out a few heavy blankets, a thermos of cocoa, and sit on the porch swing with our Glow in the Dark Night Time Sky book (I see on Amazon that this book is out of print, but there are used copies available.  Check your local library, too.)

Snow Creations – I shared with you last week about our family’s Snowman Kits.  But, don’t limit yourselves to just snow people.  What about creating a snow garden?  Miniature snow village?  I saw on our local news this week that someone had created a giant snow polar bear.  You could create a whole snow zoo!

My daughter Lucy, in the top photo, would want me to tell you that you absolutely must have a snowball fight, too.  We set up a target in the backyard this week and had a good time seeing who had the best snowball throwing aim and from what distance.

Before we know it, and perhaps not a moment too soon, this January snow will have melted.  Spring is around the corner, ready to treat us to some sunshine and flowers.  But, in the meantime, my kids and I plan on getting every ounce of unexpected fun out of winter that we can.

How about you?

How are you shaking up these mid-January snow days?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. We did a snack picnic on our living room floor the other day! The kids loved it so much that we did it 3 afternoons in a row!

    I also love to head outside after dinner. The kids think it’s so cool to play in the snow when it’s dark outside.

    Here’s another idea: Bring those sand toys out into the snow too. Great for digging and making “snowcastles”.

    Ottawa, Canada

  2. No snow here just very cold!! We need to do an indoor picnic soon its been a while! We also like to put on our swim suits and googles and take a swim in our indoor pool (also know as the bath tub) makes it a little more fun than just “bath time.”
    Lindsay @ BytesOfMemory´s latest post: Preschool Corner–Snow- Winter Theme

  3. We’ve definitely been shaking things up around here this month! Today one of my posts was our favorite indoor activity (and there have been many) — carpet gliding. We’ve also made all kinds of snowflakes, including flying disks.

    With the long weekend ahead, I’m glad to have a big bag of ideas collected. Now instead of bemoaning it, we can actually enjoy winter!
    Julia´s latest post: WInter Activity Week- Plastic Stuffed Snowmen

  4. It’s not cold enough where I am- but I saw this somewhere on the web:

    take old flowers and freeze them into pretty tree ornaments
    priest’s wife´s latest post: To Inspire Mommy 7 Quick Takes

  5. Fun ideas! For some reason, this winter is much harder on us here than usual. Perhaps the record amount of snow and cold has done it, but I need all the help I can get focusing on the bright side of it. :)
    Alicia´s latest post: Kids can win grants to grow gardens for people in need

  6. uh, yeah. dull-drummer checking in. No snow here this week, but thanks for the crazy cute photo of your kiddo – just what I needed to make my kiddos jealous. hehe. Please send some of that awesomeness our way!!!!!!!

  7. I just posted about this on my blog, but we hiked the trails at our local Arboretum when it was 36 degrees outside (cold for Houston!). No snow here, but that was about as cold as it gets here during the day! My new motto is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!” It was such a neat experience, and we had the trails to ourselves for some nature exploration!

  8. I *wish* we had snow but just rain, rain, rain, rain, rain this past week.
    When it is dry and cold, we love to do an *outdoor* winter picnic. A thermos of hot soup, one of hot chocolate and some hot toast to munch on and we go outside to have a quick lunch. This was inspired by the Jane Hissey story “The winter picnic” with Old Bear and friends. My kids love it…especially when we’ve had lots of days of rain previously.

    want to box up some of your snow and send it my way?? Please?? :) xo
    Tanya´s latest post: in the New Year early morning daybook

  9. Great list! I shared on twitter and facebook! An indoor picnic is our Valentine’s tradition and I love the idea of “switching up” the seasons–what fun!
    Candace @NaturallyEducational´s latest post: Martin Luther King- Jr Day Paper Doll Craft

  10. Such fun ideas. Thank you for sharing my hot chocolate Popsicles!

  11. Our family loves building snow men, snow ball fights and sledding. However some of these other ideas I haven’t thought about. My daughter would really like the ‘indoor picnic’ idea. We will have to give that a try soon!
    Josh´s latest post: Top Experiments to Get Kids Excited About Science

  12. I love the snowball target idea! My kids have been playing “beach” every other day, which is really testing my surfer lingo. “Hang ten, brah!” :) We also had fun bringing snow and icicles indoors to experiment with.

  13. I love the bundling up and looking at the stars. Sometimes I’m surprised at how infrequently I see the night sky with my family’s routine. But with winter’s early nights, it’s easier to do so. (BTW, my blog has a great post on staying warm for outside fun:

    We’ve also found non-traditional winter fun in riding our bikes (snowboard helmets work great to keep you warm!), digging snowcaves in the drifts and bringing in candles.
    Sarah Clachar´s latest post: Warm Winter Clothes- What To Wear Outdoors


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