I truly enjoy the four seasons, especially when the weather is true to the season. Although we’ve had some oddly warm days this winter, we’ve also had enough snow to truly call this a Michigan winter. I want to be able to go outside and play in the snow with my 3-year-old daughter. She absolutely loves it. She loves watching it fall and she loves playing in it. I love seeing her face light up with the anticipation of another snowy adventure.
There comes a point, however, when we know spring is just around the corner, but it’s not here quite yet. Longing for the days when we can get out and enjoy the fresh air, we eagerly wait. Each time we drive by the park at the end of our street, my daughter exclaims, “My park! There it is! My park.” She can’t wait for the time to return where we can take our daily trips to the park and neither can I. We live in a very pedestrian community. We can walk everywhere, weather permitting — the market, library, restaurants — and the park of course! We miss it.
Until spring does arrive, we are keeping busy doing lots of fun things. Here is a list of kid-friendly activities for when you just want to get out or have a change of pace while doing something that engages your child.
- Take a swim: Sure it’s too cold to swim outdoors, but head to a local indoor waterpark for some family splash time or sign-up for swim classes offered at various facilities such as the YMCA, parks and rec or Goldfish Swim School.
- Hit the storytime circuit: Storytime is a fun activity both parents and children can enjoy. Take a morning stroll at the mall and stop by Pottery Barn Kids for free storytime held each Tuesday morning at 11:00 am. There’s also a craft offered for a nominal fee afterward. Visit the food court afterward for lunch and make a nice little outing of it. Check the Barnes and Noble website to find out details on when weekly storytime (also free) is held at the location near you. Grab a coffee for yourself at the cafe and pull up a seat around the reading circle with your tot. We love the storyteller at the Royal Oak location and there is always a free craft to do afterward.
- Creativity always fits the bill: Places like the Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak or Wonderworks Art Studio in Birmingham offer an array of art projects that can be done with children of all ages. Bring a friend or two along for even more fun!
- Fill up on inspiration: A visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts is just the ticket to an added dose of creative inspiration for little ones (and parents!). Younger children especially enjoy the modern art galleries with many large scale pieces and vibrant colors. Family Sundays at the DIA offer a variety of planned events for the whole family to enjoy!
- To market, to market: Turn an errand on your to-do list like grocery shopping into fun time! Play an alphabet game using the first letter of each item on your list. Or have them help count how many avocados, lemons and bananas you need for instance. My daughter loves helping by pushing her own child-sized cart at Trader Joe’s as we fill it up with her favorite healthy foods.
- A reading list with a twist: Little ones love exploring at the library and choosing new books to read. Couple that with some fun suggestions like those from the New York Public Library and you’ll have lots of great material to work with when reading to your child each day. Tip: Go online and reserve special selections like these via your library’s website in advance, as they may need to be sent over from another branch in your library’s network.
We’d love to hear your ideas too. Where do you go with your little ones when it’s too cold to do much outside?