3 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained in Any Weather

Winter in New England can be a wild ride—days with high temps and sunshine to a barrage of blizzards and sub-zero temps. As a lifelong Rhode Islander, weather uncertainty is something I expect, but it can be tricky to break my family’s cabin fever. No matter the weather, there are some things I use as my go-to activities. Here, I round up some of my top ideas when the weather is a lion or a lamb.

When it’s warm: head to the beach

I truly believe that salt air does wonders for everyone’s soul. As a bonus, it also makes everyone super tired and nap on the ride home. On a recent trip during a 60 degree February day, I packed up the car and headed 40 minutes to Narragansett Beach, a popular, year-round destination in Rhode Island. I made sure I had a small container for Jake to collect shells and that he and Brooke had snacks and drinks.

When we arrived, we busily collected rocks and shells for about 30 minutes and the kids really enjoyed the change in scenery. The actual beach excursion was fairly short-lived, but keeping them contained for nearly a little more than hour in the car was a welcomed break. When we got home, we sorted the rocks and shells, put them in different piles by size, and worked on some easy addition and subtraction using our treasures.

Jake collecting shells and rocks in an empty gum container - perfect for small treasures and hands!

When it’s cold: break open the picnic basket

When it’s cold and we are yearning for sunny skies and warm breezes, we bring the heat to us with an indoor BBQ picnic. My favorite quick meal is pulled BBQ chicken in the slow cooker (invest in slow cooker liners—they make it even easier!), and then I add either homemade or store-bought fixings, like potato salad, pasta salad, corn bread and corn on the cob (the frozen section has small ones, which are great for little hands).

For more hands-on fun, I usually get Jake involved in the preparation of the meal, like preparing our indoor s’mores or setting up the picnic blanket and paper plates, etc. To make it even more summer-like, I’ll occasionally bring in some of the clean outdoor toys, like a hula hoop and slide, for an additional dose of fun. The change in where (living room floor), how (our hands), and what (delicious summer food) we eat, really breaks up the day and makes lunch or dinner extra fun.

When it’s wet: put on your adventure boots

I’m a really big proponent of letting kids be kids and do things that adults don’t (can’t! won’t!) do. There are even sometimes I take it to the extreme, like when I bought Pie Face for Jake even though he didn’t want it. Instead of it being fun, I wasted 15 minutes making homemade whipped cream (because I forgot to buy it) and it just left us all with irritated sinuses.

With that lesson learned, I now only encourage those borderline fun and naughty things that Jake actually wants to do—like putting on our adventure boots (snow boots) and jumping in puddles, climbing melting snow banks to pretend we’re scaling mountains, and shoveling snow on to your sister (I don’t encourage it, but Brooke laughs, so I don’t stop it either). When I let the kids have a window of time being somewhat naughty, I find that it helps keep them mostly behaved for the rest of the day.

It can be a challenge to break out of a rut when the weather is bleak, but mother nature always affords us opportunities to take advantage of whatever she brings––even if it means cozying up inside (we all need a break and Paw Patrol episodes are on repeat). I’d love to hear some of your top ideas—please share them below!