There are a few flowers and vegetables you can plant in winter. Do you have some produce to harvest from your Autumn planting, or seeds to save from the last surviving plants? Keeping the food garden growing during Winter gives us a good reason to venture outdoors each day. If your garden isn’t producing it’s a great time to mulch well to deter weeds and feed the soil for Spring.
If the opportunity to play outside is limited, gather natural toys. Have a box of seedpods, dried leaves and pebbles for your little ones to sort. Some of these items may become puppets, some may become money in a store, some may build a scene and others will just be held and treasured. A natural modelling material is beeswax. It can be used to create small figurines and sheets can be rolled into candles.
Winter allows us time to be creative together. To make a snowy scene - draw or colour a page with crayon (press hard) and paint over with white acrylic paint. Sprinkle with clear glitter while still wet. Once dry it will appear as snow. For a quick craft, try drawing on black paper with white chalk for a simple winter scene.
Build a bird feeder or seed treats to hang from trees for feathered friends. Identify your visitors using a local field guide from the library. Have you noticed that some of the usual birds are missing? Perhaps they’ve flown to the tropics or even the other side of the world to avoid the cold weather.
To burn excess energy in Winter we can dance around the living room – choose whatever music moves you, from Tchaikovsky to the Wiggles. There are a number of quality DVDs and online videos available for children to do yoga and t’ai chi. These are excellent indoor activities to improve coordination and strength.
The Winter Solstice (Yule, the sun’s birthday) is on Sunday 21 June 2020 in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a fine time to enjoy some baking, which most children enjoy. Invite friends to rug up and share a Solstice picnic with you.
With the earlier sunsets and cold afternoons, our children are fed and bathed sooner in the cold weather. This allows us more time before bed for stories and games. Choose a chapter book and build a nest in a warm room. Snuggle up as often as you can to read this story. If you have children of various ages, the youngest may be playing on the floor while you read to the others. Provide a special activity such as a box of fabric scraps only available during story-time. Keeping their hands busy will help them listen quietly. Older children may choose to knit, sew, weave or simply snuggle in and experience the tale.
Have a weekly board game evening. This is a fun tradition you can start for toddlers and continue with your teens. We’ve invented many games – from board games we’ve hand-drawn and laminated, to alternative uses for Cuisenaire rods or odd buttons. The games we create ourselves are more popular than the commercial games received as gifts.
Winter is a great time to do jigsaw puzzles. We have a few simple ones for littlies – wood puzzles and home-made ones from our art or photos, and we have quite a few of varying sizes for the children to enjoy as their abilities increase. When visitors come to stay we often get out a 1000 piece puzzle for all. It’s time to make connections and nurture family traditions.