It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve first heard whispers of a novel virus shutting down countries around the world. By now we’ve all been through lockdowns, curfews, self-isolation, or quarantine, walking a thin line between acceptance and insanity. As we settle into the long stretch of winter, with a new wave looming over us and new restrictions piling up, we could all use playful distractions to keep the boredom at bay.
Raise your hand if your kids have seen all the age-appropriate movies on Disney… Or if you know every episode of Paw Patrol by heart…Or if you’re this close to throwing the remote control against the television (or sob uncontrollably into your pillow) at the sound of Cocomelon). If you’re running low on ideas, here are a few of our favourite things to do to keep the little ones busy and our sanity intact(ish).
The big chill may be here, but it doesn’t have to stop you from playing outside. Dressed right, kids can sled for hours, so it’s become our winter tradition to visit as many parks as we can, in the city and out, to find the best hills. One of our all-time faves is in the heart of Montreal, accessible by car or bus, surrounded by beautiful views and yummy hot chocolates. The Mont-Royal is full of fun activities all year round, but it takes the cake in winter with an awesome snow tubing hill that doubles as the coolest sledding spot in town. Our runner-up pick is a lesser-known gem called Pente À Neige, nestled a walking distance from the Angrignon metro, near Ville Emard. This amazing spot offers great slopes for sledding, tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. Pre-pandemic the place was filled with families on the weekend, and the city offered budget-friendly snowboarding and skiing classes for kids and hosted a mini winter village with warm treats.
Check out the sepaq site for more parks to visit.
When the temps get low, or you’re in the mood to stay cozy, there’s no better way to get the little ones excited than with a good old fashion scavenger hunt. The best part? They’re inexpensive and require very little prep.
For younger children, we suggest capturing their attention with colour. If you’re feeling creative you can give your inner Picasso a try and draw the scavenger items by hand, if not there are many printable versions available online.
If your older kids love puzzles you can go full Da Vinci code with your hunt; with intricate riddles and brain teasers, links to their favourite books or movies, even a themed hunt complete with DIYS costumes and props.
And don’t forget the prizes!
For more scavenger ideas, see below.
W’re big fans of STEM projects to get the kids entertained. Who knows maybe it’s the homemade vinegar and baking soda volcano that will propel your six-year-old into a science career? Or not. Either way, science is always a good idea. Especially when you can make a rainbow appear or make slime or make a cloud appear in a bottle. Let your child’s curiosity lead the way!
Two of our best-loved sites for kitchen experiments include Thoughtco and Little Bins Little Hands, which offer curated posts, articles, projects and ideas for kids, parents and teachers. Have fun!
Winter may be the less colourful of the seasons, but it’s breathtaking in its own eerie beauty. Something as simple as ice is not only fascinating to a child but presents a blank canvas that can be used to create bewitching art that will delight and amaze…Unleash your child’s imagination with 3 of our favourite outdoor crafts.
Container to freeze the water
Nature treasures (twigs, fruits, flowers, leaves etc)
Twine or yarn
LED battery flicker lights
1. Add 4 drops of food colouring into each balloon.
2. Carefully fill your balloons 1/3 way with water
3. Tie the balloons and set them outside in the snow to freeze overnight.
4. Once frozen, gently remove the balloon from the ice
5. Add the lights and watch them glow
Ice cube trays and plastic containers
1. Fill up all your ice cubes with coloured water
2. Put all the containers in the freezer or outside (if cold enough)
3. Wait for a cold day (temps must be below zero Celsius)
4. Bring the ice cubes outside
5. Assemble to make a work of art
6. Tip: every time you add a piece to your sculpture, dribble a bit of water between the ice cubes and count to ten
We’re game hoarders and we love everything from classic Monopoly and Guess Who to Taboo and Risk. Friday night is always game night, and the winner gets to decide which movie we watch next. Recently we discovered the Jumanji game, based on the 1995 movie, and we can’t get enough. Get ready for hours of fun as you answer riddles and intact perilous situations (one had us lying on our back, pretending to be in quicksand as another player looked for something he could use to "pull" us out of danger). Anyone over the age of 7 will love it, but if your little ones are younger here are five games they'll be sure to like.
Flipping good fun! Watermelons are launched directly into the mouths of motorized hippos’ heads. This version is even more fun than the original!
Create paths by moving the maze titles to get to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest.
Bring the adventure to life with the legendary game that’s full of surprises.
Super easy and lots of fun, it’s a game for all ages. Discover your opponent’s mystery character by asking them yes or no questions.
School or career? Beach house or condo? Kids or no kids? The game of life is full of twists and adventures.
Do you have what it takes to be a doctor? If the red nose lights up, the answer is no!
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