The winter holidays have officially arrived! For parents, this can mean a potent combination of excitement, happiness, anxiety, and stress. With the kids home from school, and in some cases, housebound due to winter weather, you may find yourselves battling a tough case of cabin fever.
For nannies, this can mean an end to the kids’ favorite daily playground excursions, which can lead to frustrated tears and temper tantrums. A large portion of your nanny responsibilities consist of coming up with entertaining and educational games and crafts to keep the kids busy and engaged. If you’re looking for inspiration for fun winter activities to kick off the season, have no fear—we’ve come up with a few indoor play ideas to get you started.
Fun Winter Activities for Kids:
- Make a Mission Impossible-style indoor laser course. All you need for this is red yarn or a roll of red crepe paper. String it across a hallway and see who can get through it the fastest without touching the lasers!
- Build a racecar speedway with masking tape. Give the kids a few rolls of masking tape, and let them design their own racecar track for toy cars. See how creative they can be! (Masking tape is great because it sticks to pretty much everything, but doesn’t leave a residue when you pull it off.)
- Bake and decorate holiday cookies. Break out the holiday cookie cutters and make some holiday cookies! This will give creative kids an artistic outlet, and it helps smaller children develop their fine motor skills.
- Play Balloon Tennis. Tape a paper plate to a paint stirrer, large Popsicle stick, or plastic spoon to make your “racket,” and blow up a balloon for your ball. Hit the ball back and forth and make up the rules as you go. This is a great way to teach kids hand-eye coordination and balance skills.
- Draw your own sprawling cityscape. Roll out butcher paper across the floor in rows. Tape down each row to create a giant square. Let the kids loose, or ask them to draw their perfect town or city. Then, take small dolls or Lego people and populate the town!
Winter DIY craft project (and teaching opportunity): Paper Plate Snowmen
We love this activity for those cold, dreary winter days! Not only does it let kids explore their creative sides and hone their fine motor skills, but it’s a good way to help them develop emotional intelligence and learn to tell coherent stories.
What you’ll need:
- Paper plates
- Paint or construction paper in a variety of colors (black, orange, red, green, and any other the kids might like!)
- Scraps of paper with a variety of emotions written on them (think: happy, sad, angry, surprised, excited, scared, disgusted, silly, grumpy, embarrassed, cheerful, etc.)
What to do:
- Have the kids pull emotion words out of a hat until all the emotions are given out. If you are doing this activity with one child, give him or her a list of emotion words and divide them between the two of you.
- Next, ask the kids to make a snowman (or snowwoman) whose face represents the emotion on their card. Have them use the paper plates, paint, and construction paper, and tell them to be as creative as they’d like!
- When you’ve created a variety of emotions, ask the kids to tell you stories about why each snowperson is feeling the way he or she is. To help the children develop their emotional intelligence, ask them questions relating to their story. For example, if Grumpy Snowman is grumpy because he is tired or wants a snack, ask the child what they would do to improve Grumpy Snowman’s mood. What emotion would Grumpy Snowman be feeling after the child intervened?
When it comes down to it, the holidays are all about making memories. For more ideas on how to make your nanny responsibilities into fun learning opportunities for your charges, check out our Pinterest.
From all of us here at the Nanny Authority, we hope you have a peaceful and happy holiday season!