Winter Bucket List for Familiesby Jodie Keith
It might be January, but Winter isn't over yet - in fact, astronomically speaking, Winter isn't over until the end of March. Once the excitement of Christmas and NYE is over, it's easy to feel a bit of a lull, but one thing you can do to keep your family entertained is complete a Winter bucket list.
Here are some of my favourite ideas...
Build a den
Blankets, pillows... you could take it a step further with fairy lights and other cosy furnishings like fur rugs! Nothing is better than snuggling up cosy indoors if it's wet and miserable outside.
Go puddle hunting
If you're more outdoorsy, or maybe you're just desperate for some fresh air after isolating, then why not go puddle hunting? Dress your children in wellie boots and waterproof trousers or overalls, find some puddles and let them splash away to their heart's content. Extra points if you can find a nice muddy puddle!
Make paper snowflakes
Whether it's snowing or not, snowflakes are still a fundamental part of winter weather. Get into the mood by making paper snowflakes. It takes pretty much zero creative skill so is a great choice of craft for all - children and adults alike. You can then let your child decorate your home with them, or why not pop them in the post with a little letter to family and friends. If it's snowing in real life, you could keep busy by ticking off a snow day bucket list, too!
Not only does homemade, freshly baked bread make the house smell absolutely amazing, but it's so warming to eat knowing you've made it yourself! You can opt to make the bread entirely from scratch, or use a pre-mix if you want something a little quicker and easier. If baking bread is brand new to you, then I recommend starting with focaccia - it's super easy! If you're more of a sweet treats type of person, you could always try an indulgent tea bread, instead.
Have a soup tasting night
Hear me out on this one! Why not pair your daytime activity of freshly baked bread with an evening activity - soup tasting! Nothing says winter like a warm bowl of soup. You could make it exciting by doing blind taste tests, or simply have a few bowls of different flavours and let everything dip and explore!
I absolutely love to bake! In my opinion, cupcakes are for sure the easiest option. They're quick, easy, and great for children to get involved in. Let them scoop and pour the ingredients, mix and pour into cupcake cases. Once they're cool, decorate to your taste. We like good old buttercream the best in our house - topped with themed sprinkles from the supermarket, you really can't go wrong!
If cupcakes aren't your thing, what about biscuits? I love biscuit decorating, and often make themed biscuits such as Halloween biscuits and Christmas biscuits. Why not have a try at Winter themed biscuits? You can bake your biscuits from scratch if you prefer or alternatively grab some rich teas. Icing sugar, water and some themed sprinkles and you're good to go. If you're doing this with your children, prepare for a sugar rush!
Go to the library
The library is an often forgotten local treasure. It is so important to read to children from a young age, and visiting the library as a child creates an excellent foundation for a lifetime habit. Many libraries have excellent, well-stocked children's areas, and your child will love the independence of picking out their own book or two to take home. Don't forget to get a child's library card - if you live in Kent, like me, these are definitely worth getting as there are no late fees for books taken out on a children's card, and we all know how chaotic life can be with children! Some libraries even host Winter reading challenges or baby groups, and some libraries stock the free Bookstart Baby Bags too.
Have a chocolate coin treasure hunt
Treasure hunts are always a winner when it comes to children; if, like us, you have lots of leftover chocolate coins from Christmas and stocking fillers, why not hide them around the house and challenge your little ones to a treasure hunt? If you have older children, you could add clues and make it much more difficult (and time-consuming!). Either way, you're bound to have some great quality family time.
Have a hot chocolate movie night
I'm aware a lot of these suggestions include chocolate and sweet treats... that probably says a lot more about my character than I care to admit... but let's face it: there's little better on a cold, dark, miserable day than curling up with a good movie and a soul-warming hot chocolate. Make a proper night of it by getting into your pyjamas, curling up with your duvet and setting out a topping station - whipped cream, little marshmallows, flakes, chocolate orange segments, chocolate chips, you name it! You're bound to make memories and your children will think you're the BEST parent or caregiver ever if you're not on sugar patrol. For extra points, make sure your movie is Winter related - Frozen or Ice Age are great family-friendly choices!
Have a games night
If you're more of a board game family than a movie family, why not try a games night? We love a good board game or quiz game in our house - our favourite 2-4 player game is Takenoko. If you have younger children, you could opt for a nostalgic family favourite like pop up pirates or hungry hippos!
Go for a winter scavenger hunt
Make a list of 'wintery' things you're likely to find out and about on a walk and see how many you can tick off. Pinecones, a bare tree, a frosty spider web or animal footprints are all great wintery options.
Pop rocks on your winter scavenger hunt and you can turn it into another family activity, too - rock painting! Why not paint snowflakes, snowmen or messages of encouragement and hide them around your local neighbourhood to bring joy to others out and about on their walks?!
Do a random act of kindness
Not winter related, but something we should all be doing every now and then and a great lesson to teach our children. Ask your children to help you come up with something kind you could do as a family for others. It could be as simple as posting thank you cards to houses that had impressive Christmas light displays, offering to pay for someone's coffee or writing kind messages on your painted rocks. The choice is yours!
Go to soft play!
If your eyes immediately rolled at this one: hear me out! It's hard finding things to do to entertain children and Winter means our choices drastically reduce, because the weather in England is often less than ideal. Pop it on your bucket list to head to soft play and your children will be so excited and here's the best part - if you're not a fan of regular soft play visits, once you've ticked it off, you don't have to go again... unless you pop it on your Spring bucket list too that is!