Being stuck inside during the cold winter months can cause children to spend more time on electronic devices. Kids can also get a little stir crazy. It’s not healthy for children mentally nor physically to spend hours on end playing video games, watching television, and otherwise taking part in thoughtless activities.

Looking to get your kids to use their imaginations and be active this winter? Check out these suggestions.

Build a Fort

Forts can be built inside or out. If your kids are interested in a living room fort, gather some blankets and pillows. Lay down some cushions, drape blankets over tall pieces of furniture, and get out a board game or two. Kids love forts, and playing a board game in this “secret” spot will be loads of fun.

Outdoor forts can be fun to build in the snow, too. On a day with packing snow available for building a fort, have your kids bundle up in some warm coats and snow pants along with gloves, hats, scarves, and snow boats. Get out some small shovels so your kids can easily build their fort. Creating an igloo and building a snowman would be fun ventures to take on as well.

Play Restaurant

Kids love to play pretend. Encourage your kids to play restaurant. Whether they use toys that look like fake food or they want to whip up some simple snacks, have your kids pretend to be restaurant owners, a host, and a waiter/waitress. Sit down at your dining room or kitchen table and have your kids take your order and bring you a drink, a meal, and the “check.” Setting up a window for a drive-thru for a fake fast food restaurant could be a fun idea, too.

If you’re recently divorced and are obtaining temporary spousal support, which is one of the two types in Ohio aside from permanent support, you may be alone in encouraging your kids to play and have fun. Use baby dolls and other toys your children have so they can serve more “people” in their faux restaurant. Playing pretend is a great way for kids to use their imagination and to express emotions they may be bottling up.

Make Up a Game

Similar to playing pretend restaurant, encourage your kids to make up a game. Whether it be creating their own board game, a physical sports game outside, or a make-believe scenario, your kids will have a blast using their imaginations. 80% of consumers shop on smartphones, and a similar percentage likely uses them for basic Google searches, too. With security settings in place, allow your kids to look up some ideas online to get their creative juices flowing.

Do a Puzzle

Instead of spending an afternoon playing video games or using tablets and other electronics, find or purchase some new puzzles. Play some fun music, make some yummy snacks, and set up a puzzle at your kitchen table. Work as a family to finish it. This quiet and relaxing activity allows for family time to talk and enjoy one another’s company.

Try Snowshoeing

Ecnouraging your kids to go outside will allow them to get some exercise and fresh air. Try a new activity, such as snowshoeing. It requires a lot of work, but your family can do it together and enjoy some beautiful winter scenery in a local park.

Go Sledding

Sledding allows for plenty of exercise, too. Since 54% of women aged 35 to 44 say they regularly worry about their signs of aging, and since exercise can help people look more youthful, moms who are worried about this particular issue can definitely make sledding a family activity for a snow-filled afternoon.

While hiking up a steep hill between each sledding expedition allows for exercise, being pushed on a saucer or toboggan to the bottom of a hill is loads of fun. An afternoon spent sledding will allow for plenty of laughs and heavy breaths, but your kids will always remember just how fun it was. Curling up with some hot cocoa when you’re back home would be a great way to warm back up as a family, too.

Whether you want to stay inside or venture out on a snowy afternoon, there are plenty of ways to engage your children mentally and physically during the cold winter months. Encourage your kids to use their imaginations, and allow for everyone in your home to take part in some family-filled adventures.