Completely unplug by playing games or activities that don’t involve electronic devices. Photo: Unsplash/Michal Parzuchowski

Winter boredom busters

Too cold to go outside? Try some of these fun indoor family activities

By Lindsey Bunin

Sometimes the winter chill calls for a cozy day inside with the family. Unfortunately, that relaxing day can sometimes create shack wacky kids in the blink of an eye. Here are a few ways to keep your little ones entertained, and learning, this season. 

Virtual tours of cool Nova Scotia landmarks

Did you know some of the most interesting attractions in Nova Scotia are available to explore for free through 3D virtual tours?

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, the Africville Museum and Province House are just a few local landmarks that feature free virtual tours, giving you the chance to explore from the comfort of your own home and learn as a family.

Play power outage

Take an opportunity to completely unplug. Pull out flashlights, scrounge around for snacks that don’t require electricity and pretend all devices are obsolete. Make shadow puppets, play board games, have an extra sneaky game of hide-and-seek or read together. 

Another unplugged activity is “loose parts.” Search the house for items that could be used to make any kind of creation the imagination desires. Look for things like egg cartons, paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes, coloured tape, old games or puzzles that might be missing pieces or odds and ends of craft supplies — anything goes!

Try the Lego table at the Dartmouth North Public Library. Photo: courtesy of Halifax Public Libraries

Visit your local library virtually or in person

No matter the weather, there’s always a wide range of library events. 

Each branch offers something special for families and young library visitors — from toys, games and age-appropriate technology to performances and, of course, books.

Dartmouth’s Alderney Gate Public Library and Halifax North Memorial Public Library have Sparks Fly bikes in youth-designated spaces. These are the same bikes that are in HRCE classrooms to help kids regulate their behaviour and burn off energy. Bedford Public Library, Woodlawn Public Library and Captain William Spry Public Library have new wooden play pods and soft toys. And for older kids, they offer a cooking and food literacy series to help build kitchen basics.

Many branches offer Weekend Wonders and Super Saturday programs that feature hands-on activities and free play. You can always find story times, puppet shows, arts and crafts, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming.

Halifax Public Libraries offers many digital resources to enjoy from home. Families can explore ebooks and audiobooks on OverDrive, using the Libby App, and Hoopla gives visitors access to TV series, movies and music. Young readers can also practice their reading skills with the fun and creative Squiggle Park learning game. All E-Library resources are free with a library card.

Bake up a storm

Baking is a great activity that can involve the whole family and allow you to sneak in a little learning at the same time. 

• Invite kids to read through cookbooks to choose what to make

• Kids can work on their printing by writing out a grocery list or copying the recipe to put in a recipe box

• For children who are a bit older, measuring provides great math and fractions practice

You can also check out Andy’s East Coast Kitchen for some great recipes to try. Andy occasionally hosts kids’ cooking classes on Instagram live, so follow him @andyseastcoastkitchen. 

Make the experience extra fun by turning on some favourite tunes and dancing around the kitchen! 

Photo: Bigstock/maximkabb

Make the most of a snowstorm

Snow day at home? Try some unique activities to make playing outside in winter even more fun.

Paint the snow: Add several drops of food colouring to a squeeze or spray bottle and then fill it with cold water. Use the coloured water to create festive designs in the freshly fallen snow. 

Snow cones: Collect fresh, clean snow from outside in a container and pop it in the freezer to keep it cold. Scoop it into dishes with an ice cream scoop and top with your preferred flavours, such as fresh fruit and juice or flavoured syrup. 

If all else fails, hand the kids a shovel for a free and productive way to burn off some energy!

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