Let’s face it – in general January sucks. You’ve just spent out a fortune, a lot of us more than we could necessarily afford, on Christmas, the hype of the festive season has gone, its cold, wet, dreary and it’s one of the longest months of the year to be completely flat broke and out of money. Need I go on? So of course, add into this the fact you have children who might not even go to school yet and need entertaining and you’ve got yourself a month where you need to make ends meet by scrimping and saving and that potentially not happening. Believe me, I know. I am a single mother who is self-employed which is a recipe for an eat whatever tins are in the cupboard kind of month. So I have come up with some FREE activities for Kids in the Winter which won’t break the bank AND will keep them entertained!
No I have not gone nuts! The beach in Winter is one of my absolute favourite places to be. Forget all the crowds of the summer, the sweltering heat and the rush to find an overpriced car park space before everyone else. It isn’t like that at all! I’m fortunate enough to live in Dorset along the coast and frequently visit Swanage, Weymouth and Sandbanks beaches but only in Winter. During the summer they’re plagued with tourists but in Winter car park prices either dramatically drop or become free and you can see for miles without spotting a single person. Pop on waterproofs and wellies, pack a picnic with bits from home and dig out the buckets and spades and make a day of it!
Arts and Crafts
Don’t panic – you do NOT need to be the next great Pinterest mum to be able to do arts and crafts with the kids AND you don’t need a lot of supplies either. If you have some glue and paper, go out into the woods or garden and collect twigs and leaves etc and make a winter collage. If you have the 3 ingredients in the cupboard, make some salt dough and help them make some amazing models! If you have some glue and old newspapers, why not do some paper mache! You’d be amazed of all the things you can make – have a look around your house and gather up some supplies. You don’t need to spend a thing!
As I said, I am very fortunate to live in Dorset and along with the county comes a lot of outdoor areas that are free. There are places like Upton Country Park, Moors Valley Country park, woods and forests and local parks galore. Some are completely free and some you have to simply pay for parking but that’s it! You could go on a nature walk and give the kids a list of things they need to spot or find. Perhaps you could collect things for a winter collage like the one mentioned above. Wrap up warm and pop on wellies for jumping in muddy puddles – pack drinks and snacks from home so it won’t cost you anything to eat whilst out and head off on an adventure!
If it’s really bad weather out and the kids need to burn off some energy, why not put anything that could possibly break out of reach (where my stuff permanently lives) push the furniture to the side and make an indoor assault course. Use pillows and cushions to create stepping stones, duvets as crash mats. Get creative and give them a chance to work on their hand eye co-ordination, control AND burn off some of that energy before you blow a fuse!
If you need a restful day and its yuck outside why not simply spend some time watching a movie with the kids but make it different. Pull the curtains, turn off the lights, grab some snacks from the kitchen or better yet, let them help to make them! Then grab some blankets and snuggle up and watch a film together. You’d be surprised how much they’ll enjoy it and enjoy it more just because you’re watching it with them.
Spending time with our children doesn’t have to cost the world it just means we need to get a little creative and think outside the box. Do you have any go to free activities?