8 Fun Winter Activities for Kids

With the holiday break right around the corner, you are probably wondering what to do with your kids. You’re tossing around ideas of winter activities for kids to keep your little ones entertained and away from the TV. Since the kids will be out of school for a few weeks, they will likely be looking forward to doing nothing over their break. It will be up to you as parents to provide a more convincing opportunity for fun winter activities for kids.

happy young family staying in snow

Getting the kids up off the couch can be challenging. On the other hand, the winter weather opens up a whole slew of options. Snow flurries offer opportunities for several outdoor activities, like sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen.

The chilly air may drive some kids inside. However, you can bond with them over baking cookies or reading. Wrap up your busy winter days cuddled on the couch with your family and watch a favorite Christmas movie.

Engage with your family to make the most out of these fun winter activities for kids. The holidays are when memories are made. Out of town family members show up, delicious food is prepared, and everyone is in the holiday spirit. You and your kids will remember taking part in these activities for the rest of your lives.

There are winter activities for kids of all kinds. Outdoor games, contests, and free plays are great ways to get the blood flowing and enjoy the cold and snow. Then, drag your kids and Grandma to the kitchen and tackle that cookie recipe that is to die for. You’ll probably find the quiet ones curled up by the fire reading a good book and enjoying the holiday season.

Everybody finds different activities enjoyable. Luckily, the winter season provides endless opportunities for fun activities for everyone. Take advantage of this time with your kids and family to have fun and make great memories. Check out these eight ideas for fun winter activities for kids to make the most of their winter break.

8 Fun Winter Activities for Kids

1. Sledding

young dad carrying kid on sled in snow during winter

If there is snow on the ground and you have access to a hill, your kids will have a blast. Even a little hill will do the trick if you have something that can act as a sled. If you don’t have access to an actual sled, let your kids get creative. It will make that trek up the hill that much more worth it.

 2. Make Snow Angels/ Snowmen

Building snowmen and making snow angels are classic winter activities for kids. Let them get creative with their designs and encourage them to give their works a backstory. You can hold a contest for Best Snowman or Snow Angel to drum up some friendly competition. Join your kids in the contest by either helping them or building your own. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of your kids playing in the snow!

3. Ice Skating

Living in a place where it gets cold enough that the lakes and ponds freeze over has its advantages. If your kids own ice skates, they can just go down to the water to go skating. However, even if you don’t live in a place where it gets cold enough, you can still take the kids to the seasonal ice skating rink. City representatives are usually making sure each district has access to this source of entertainment each winter.

4. Snowball Fight

fuzzy snowball on layer of white snow

Again, if it snows in your area, send your kids outside in the snow for a classic snowball fight. They will have loads of fun because they can be as disorganized as they wish. After all, who doesn’t love a snowball fight?

You are never too old to participate. So get out there with the kids and have fun until everyone gets so cold, you just have to come back inside for a hot cup of something delicious.

5. Bake Cookies

Once everyone comes in from playing outside, gather up a team and bake some cookies. It is a great bonding activity that is fun for everyone involved. Turning on the oven will warm up the kitchen, and the delicious scent of the cookies will bring everyone inside. When the cookies are done baking, you and the kids will be rewarded with freshly baked goodness.

6. Read a Book

four kids in pajamas reading the grinch in a room with christmas decorations

Fun winter activities for kids who are a little more shy or reserved could include curling up by the fire. A favorite book to read, accompanied by some hot chocolate, make for a great winter’s evening.

If your kids haven’t yet learned to read, pick a book to read to them and curl up together. Evenings like this could become some of your kids’ favorite memories.

7. Make a Christmas Ornament

hand written christmas decorations hanging in the christmas tree

For toddlers and the artsy kids, making Christmas ornaments or decorations could be a lot of fun. They will get to express their creativity and feel proud that they were able to help decorate.

A little bit of cleanup of paint and glitter will be well worth the fun your kids will have. Turn this creativity exercise into an annual tradition. You will have holiday decorations that you will cherish for decades to come.

8. Build a Fire and Study the Night Sky

After the sun goes down and the stars come out, head outside with your kids and a telescope. Make sure to bundle up and build a fire in the fire pit to keep warm. Then, point that telescope to the stars and study the winter night sky. Your kids will love looking at the stars. Try to find as many constellations as you can.

 

 

Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of fun winter activities for kids that you can do with your family. From ice skating, building snowmen, and having snowball fights to baking cookies and curling up by the fire, there is something for everyone.

Spending quality time with your family during the holiday season is the best way to make memories that will last a lifetime. Get your kids away from the TV, and take part in one of these fun activities. Let us know in the comments one of your family’s favorite winter activities for kids, and maybe try out a new one this year.

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How to Teach Baby Sign Language before Speaking – 8 Signs to Adopt

As new parents, you will probably spend a significant amount of time awake late at night. Your baby may want something. However, he or she is unable to tell you what. Therefore, you both get frustrated. Unhappy babies and tired parents just lead to more tears and sleepless nights. Now, you can continue this cycle until your baby learns to talk and communicate their needs. The alternative is to start teaching them baby sign language.

Baby sign language uses very basic signs that you can begin teaching your baby as early as six months old. By seven to nine months old, babies will start signing back.They way, they can communicate their needs with their parents.

mother hugging baby and watching it in the park

Learning and teaching these signs can really take the guesswork out of determining what your baby needs. As a result, your communication with baby will be much more clear, you will both get more sleep, and be less frustrated.

Babies develop a real interest in communicating around eight or nine months. This is when it is a great time to introduce baby sign language to them. Their fine motor skills are still developing, and they may not be able to execute the signs right away. However, over time, their motor skills and signing will improve. At this point, you’ll be able to communicate before they begin speaking.

Teaching your baby sign language is not as hard as you may fear. Consistency and repetition will have the biggest impact on your baby learning to communicate through sign language. Once your baby has learned a few basic signs, understanding them will be much easier.

Some studies show that learning baby sign language also leads to speaking earlier and having a larger vocabulary. You should always speak what you are signing with your baby to help them learn how to talk as well.

Even if your baby’s signs are not completely accurate, you do not need to correct them every time. Model it for them correctly. They will learn to do it correctly before you know it. Check out these eight basic signs you can teach your baby to start clearing up all of that miscommunication.

Eight Baby Sign Language Signs to Adopt

1. More

baby hands grabbing parent's fingers

As babies grow, they will want to increase the amount they eat. However, they don’t necessarily know how to convey that message. Teaching them how to say “more” in baby sign language gives them the ability to tell you that they are still hungry without the tears.

To teach: Tap your fingertips together twice in front of your chest. Say “More” while you execute the sign.

2. Done

Another important word for your baby to learn to sign is “done.” You can use this to show your baby that something is all gone. Likewise, baby can show you that they are full or don’t want to play with something anymore. This can help prevent your baby from getting overwhelmed and ending up in tears.

To teach: Start with your fingers spread and palms facing your chest. Then, twist them outwards to show that nothing is in your hands. Say “Done” while you execute this sign.

3. Book

mother holding baby boy in her lap and reading him a colorful book

Encourage your baby’s love for reading at an early age by teaching them the sign for book. Together, reading and baby sign language can set your baby up for success for the rest of their lives. Read to your baby every day and encourage them to ask for it as often as they please.

To teach: Start with your hands together, palms touching, and open your hands as if opening a book. Say the word “Book” while you execute the sign.

4. Eat

Every time you engage in an activity, make sure to use the sign at the same time. Consistency is key to learning these signs. Therefore, encourage your baby to use the sign to tell you that they are hungry. Then you can repeat that they want to “eat” and use the sign every time you say it.

To teach: Bring your fingertips to your lips, as if you were going to put food in your mouth. Say the word “Eat” while you execute the sign.

5. Help

Learning to ask for help is a huge part of growing up. Why not get a jump-start a little early? This sign will let your baby tell you when they need your assistance or when they want to be Mommy’s little helper.

To teach: Your right hand should be in a thumbs-up position, resting in the palm of your left hand, and moving in an upward motion. Repeat the word “While” while executing the sign.

6. Share

two babies held in parent's hands sharing a green clover together

Sharing is caring, and learning to share with other babies is never a fun thing to do. However, it will be a smoother learning process if your baby can communicate the idea of sharing. They will be able to let others know if they want to share or not.

To teach: Move your right hand, fingers together, back and forth over the fingers of your left hand. Repeat the word “Share” while you’re doing it.

7. Bath

A baby’s bedtime routine is one of the easiest ways to incorporate baby sign language. It is a special parenting moment that consistently occurs every night.

If a bath is included in the routine, your baby will be able to practice the sign every day. They will be able to let you know when they feel dirty and want to take a bath, or when they are tired and want to start their bedtime routine.

To teach: Move both fists in an inward circular motion, as if you are washing your chest. Say the word “Bath”  clearly while executing the sign.

8. Thank You

thank you hand written note

Manners are an important thing to learn and express as you go through life. There is no reason why a baby can’t learn to say “thank you” at the beginning of her life. Show them that they should say or sign, “thank you” every time someone gives them something.

To teach: Touch your lips with your fingertips, and then move your hand out like you are blowing a kiss. Say “Thank you!” while you are making the gesture.

Final Thoughts

Baby sign language is a great way to communicate with your baby before they can talk. At six months old, they can learn how to say they want more, they need help, and thank you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could understand what your baby wants without having to play the guessing game? Tell us about your experiences using baby sign language in the comments below.

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Potty Training Basics: The Right Way to Toilet Train Your Toddler

Potty training is a major milestone in the development of a child. Most parents look forward to the time they will potty train their kids. The joy of potty training is that you will no longer worry about changing your child’s diaper. Despite the anticipation that moms and dads have, most of them do not know the basics of toilet training.

Some kids can take a few days to adapt to the changes, and others can take longer. Parents should know what to expect before the training begins to ensure that it is done at the right time and efficiently. The toddler must be both physically and emotionally ready for the toilet training. The child should be willing and cooperative. Do not try very hard as your child will eventually learn how to use the potty on their own. Here are some of the potty training basics to ease the process for both child and parent.

young family with two parents and a male toddler between them

Check for Signs

Most parents start potty training their toddlers at two years. In some cases, the child may start showing the signs earlier. The child is ready for potty training if he/she:

  1. Can follow simple instructions.
  2. Is able to pull the pants up and down.
  3. Becomes uncomfortable when wearing diapers.
  4. Starts calling himself/herself a big girl/boy.
  5. Can keep the nappy dry for up to three hours.
  6. Tells you that he/she is about to wee or poo.
  7. Is walking and sitting.

Prepare for Potty Training

potty training toddler with toothbruh

When you notice some of the signs, it is time to get ready for training. The parent will have to decide whether to train the child on how to use the potty or the toilet directly.

It is more advisable to use the potty as more children find it less scary compared to the toilet. You can ask your child what he/she prefers. If you opt to train your child using the toilet, get a small stool for the child to step on. Also, get a smaller seat that fits well in the existing toilet seat. This way, the child will sit on the toilet without the fear of falling into the bowl.

It is important to start training your child when you do not expect a big change in your routine. This could mean getting a new house or going for a holiday.

Help Your Child Get Ready

Train your child how to say some words related to going to the toilet, for example, poo and wee. Occasionally, motivate the child to sit on the potty or the small toilet seat to help him/her familiarize with the equipment.

Feed your child with plenty of fiber and water to prevent constipation. The main aim is to let the child learn at his/her pace. If you start the training and the toddler shows no interest in learning, give him/her time and later he/she will respond positively as they familiarize.

Start Potty Training

The best time to start training your child is when you do not have plans to leave the house. The real training begins when the child is aware that he/she is going to poo or wee and yearns to use the toilet or potty. The parent can also look out for signs that the child wants to go to the toilet. Some of the signs include passing wind, change of posture, and getting quiet.

When you note the child is about to pee or wee, encourage him/her to sit on the potty. If the child seats on the toilet for more than five minutes and no activity has taken place, take him/her off as it might feel like a punishment.

Praise the baby for the efforts made to let him/her know that sitting on the potty is a good thing. Remind the child to go to the toilet. Gradually stop using diapers and nappies except during day sleep and at night. Instead, use training pants or underpants. Dress the child in clothes that can come off easily such as trousers and avoid full body suits which can’t come out easily.

If you note that your child is having problems sitting on the toilet, demonstrate for them. Train your child how to wipe themselves after using the potty. Remember to wipe them from the front to the back. Also, show them how to pull the pants up after using the toilet or potty. Teach them that it is hygienic to wash their hands after visiting the toilet.

Start Night Training

When you start potty training, the child’s body is still not aware of most of its necessary reflexes. Therefore, it cannot wake up at night to use the potty. It is normal for the child to wet the bed at night for some time.

Before the child becomes ready for night training, continue using diapers or pull-up at night. Encourage the child to call for help if he/she wakes up in the middle of the night and feels like going to the toilet. Leave the potty near the bed to encourage the child to use it.

When you notice that the child stays dry for long at night, you can start nighttime potty training. Place a plastic sheet under the baby to protect the mattress. Let the baby sleep in underwear only. Have the child use the potty before getting to bed.

Upon waking up, encourage the child to use the potty before beginning his/her day’s activities. When night training, remember that the child has less control over bed wetting. When the child can’t stay dry overnight, embark on using diapers until he/she is a few months older.

Duration of Training

mother talking with baby daughter on toilet in bathroom for potty training

The average time for potty training a child is three months. In most cases, the child will still need help when wiping himself/herself until he/she is four to five years.

Setbacks while Toilet Training

Potty training is not an easy task. Drawbacks are expected, and they are part of the learning and training process. To avoid setbacks, trust children when they say they need to use the potty.

Also, remind the baby to use the potty if he/she has taken long before using it. Let the child use the potty before going to sleep. Always ensure that the potty is ready for use.

The stress that comes with potty training can make the child have health complications. For example, the child may pass out hard or watery poo. If the health complications persist, visit the pediatrician.

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Teaching Kids about Money – A Comprehensive Guide

School teaches kids many of the skills they’ll need to be successful as adults. But one area where formal education woefully fails children is in matters of money and finance. Sadly, the educational system isn’t equipped for teaching kids about money. Therefore, it’s up to parents or other guardians to educate children on how to be responsible financially.

The good news is that the techniques that can set kids on the road to financial independence and good practices are only a few. Using these methods, you can show children the right way to think about and handle money. These lessons will be something that will help them in both the short and long terms.

boy with round eye glasses studying a booklet in bedroom

How to Teach Kids about Money

The most important thing to consider when teaching kids about money is making the lesson something that they can understand. On top of that, they should be familiar with the presented concepts. Getting overly complicated or teaching a lesson that doesn’t immediately apply to their situation is only going to confuse them.

These financial lessons need to be things that connect with them as kids, while still teaching a lesson that applies to money and finance in the adult world. The perfect type of lesson finds a way to bridge that gap as something that is relevant in both the world of a child and the world of an adult.

Most of the time, the best person to teach these lessons will be a parent or a guardian who is interacting with the child on an everyday basis face to face or even via the Internet. That’s ideal because it allows the teacher to follow up with the child frequently and confirm that the lesson is setting in.

Finally, it’s practically never too early to start teaching kids about money. While we may not want to acknowledge it all the time, money is the primary means of interaction with most of our worlds. A child should be familiar with money and comfortable with good financial practices from a young age.

The Top 5 Ways for Teaching Kids About Money

1) Save Money

golden piggy bank

This one may seem simple, but it’s tremendously important as kids are familiar with only short-term concepts. They want ice cream, and they want it now, not later.  Make sure your child sees you saving money and understands that having savings is a desirable thing. This one can be implemented at a very young age.

Especially for younger children, a great visual technique is to use a glass jar to save bills and coins. The child can actually see the money accumulate. Often times that’s a good way to imprint the idea of long term benefits in a young child.

2) State the Prices of Things

Another tip that can be used with young children is to state the prices of the things you’re buying. When you’re out shopping at a store if you’re going to buy something, tell your child what it costs. This familiarizes a young child with the concept that things cost money, and gives them a scale of what certain things cost in relation to other items.

By instilling the idea that goods and services cost money at a young age, you give your child a head start in understanding financial matters.

3) Avoid Offering an Allowance

transparent money bowl next to paper with financial situation

Avoid the idea of giving your kid a certain amount of money each week simply for existing. Instead, pay your kid explicitly for completing certain chores. Mow the lawn? $5. Vacuum the house? $7. And so on.

From a young age, your child should understand the concept that money comes from work and not as a default. While your child may complain at the time if other of their friends receive an allowance without having to do any chores, your child will be in a better position as a teenager and adult.

4) Establish a Bank Account

One of the most important things you can teach your child is how to manage money in the banking world. As an adult, he or she will have to deal with money management in more complicated ways. However, a bank account is a foundation that should come as second nature.

You can start early with a simple savings account. Show your child how to open such an account and how to deposit and withdraw. Teach him or her how to check the balance of the account and monitor the balance over time. This is going to give a solid body of knowledge in the financial domain to your child that will make money management easier in the future.

5) Help Your Kid Get a Job

office furniture with office chairs, apple computers

This one should be a no-brainer, but a surprisingly large number of teenagers avoid getting any job at all. A part-time job as a teenager is a critical way to instill good financial mindset at a young age. If a kid works, he or she gets a picture of what the world is like for most adults on a smaller level.

And having a job gives a child access to money that they earn on their own. This is a very different story than the money they get for birthdays or is given to them. Gaining the sense of what earned money is like and what they choose to do with it gives them a taste of adulthood.

To Sum It Up

These techniques and lessons will prepare children to use money responsibly and be comfortable with sound financial practices. Teaching kids about money in these ways will set them up to be successful with their finances as adults which is a tremendous advantage.

We strongly encourage you to use some of these techniques for teaching kids about money with your own offspring and let us know how it’s working out. And if you have some other lessons or tips you’ve used with your children in the past, let us know in the comments.

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