7 Family Fun Activities to Beat Back the Winter Doldrums

Bird in Winter MN Property Group

Winter Sings the Blues

Being in the doldrums has been a condition of my life every winter since childhood. Can you relate? Are you experiencing cabin fever?  Are these cold winter nights looming long, with the adults feeling bored and the kids restless?  What to do, what to do!  How about a throw-back evening? Light up the fireplace, pop some corn and check out my 7 old-fashioned ideas re-purposed suggestions for family night.  Did I mention television or computers are not allowed?

1. Get out the Monopoly

Game MN PropertyGroup

Remember when Parker Bros and Milton Bradley were the “names” in board games?  Many of the old favorites are still around like Monopoly, Life, Yahtzee, Jenga, Clue, Risk, Sorry, Scrabble and Battleship.  Revive those enduring games of Checkers, Chess, Backgammon and Dominos.  Invite some friends and neighbors to join in for an evening of Charades.  You can find all these games and more on Amazon. 

2.  Work a Puzzle

When I was a kid jigsaw puzzles were popular. The 1000 piece Milton Bradley puzzles were my favorites.  Many people used to glue the finished puzzles on a board and frame them as art!  My son used to enjoy quiet times working a puzzle with me and his dad, especially when the wind was howling and it was warm and cozy in front of the fire! Even today, puzzles are still popular.  The building where I live has a puzzle table in the laundry room and I confess on occasion I put in a few pieces while my laundry is drying!

3. Start a Family Book Club

What better way to get your children to read than a family book group!  Even better, is the opportunity to discuss together what you read and apply and relate the content to daily life.  It’s a great way to get communication going as a family in an open forum.  You might even learn some things you never knew about how your kids think, or even get your kids to see your point of view in a non-confrontational venue. 

4. Bake or Cook Something Special Together

Even though my son is now an adult, I still have very fond memories of a little boy in Oshkosh overalls, covered in flour, wearing a grin from ear to ear and holding up a chocolate chip cookie in triumph! He was always interested in what went on in the kitchen, knowing good things were almost always the end result.  We baked and cooked together until he reached his teens and lost interest.  Today, Nick is a terrific cook and has even taken Culinary Arts classes around the Metro and online.  You might have your own Thomas Keller or Alice Waters ready to break out in your kitchen!

5. Get Artsy-Crafty

Do you have a favorite Art or Craft you enjoy?  Why not teach your kids.  Or, let them choose something they would like to do and learn together.  Don’t limit yourself to traditional male and female oriented skills, teach your son to knit and your daughter to drill and hammer!  Since repurposing is so popular today, how about picking up an old piece of furniture at a resale or consignment shop and turn it into a family project.  You can find some great ideas on Apartment Therapy (remember to print the instructions – no computers allowed!)

6. Music Night

Are you a musical family?  Provide your own entertainment with a group concert or solo entertainment.  It’s a great way to share an interest and encourage children to practice and become accustomed to performing. Not musical?  Maybe now is a good time to learn to play an instrument. You might just discover you have a virtuoso in the family.

 7. Read Aloud, Tell Stories, Explore Family History

Read favorite stories to your kids.  Read poetry, an often overlooked and under-appreciated literary art form. Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic and Falling Up are some great collections of child-friendly poems by Shel Silverstein. Take it up another level and cultivate your child’s literary imagination with the art of story-telling.  Talk about family history in a story telling format.  Reminisce about your life as a child, share memories of your grandparents and pass on stories and family history you learned from them.  My own grandparents had very interesting lives and I loved hearing my grandfather’s tales about his life growing up in the Azores and then coming of age in Hawaii in the first part of the last century.  Of equal interest was my grandmother’s adventures crossing the Atlantic on an Ocean Liner and her coming of age in the Roaring Twenties in America!  My son never met his great-grandparents,but through me, he knows their story and their legacy lives on through the generations of the family. 

Do you have your own favorite family pastimes for the long winter nights of the Twin Cities Metro?  Let us know, we love to share stories here! 

From Joe Houghton and the entire MN Property Group, stay safe, stay warm, have fun and remember, spring is on the way!  

For other Twin Cities activities read my post Hello February! 

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