For many mamas, even the mere mention of winter raises apprehension. How much longer can we stay home before cabin fever hits? How can I keep the kiddos interested and engaged indoors? When we are prepared to bundle up and face the cold air, what are the best outdoor activities for cold weather? We partnered with our friends at Bumkins to interview three intrepid #MINDRMAMAs about their tips and tools for keeping her little ones happy and occupied for fun-filled winter days ahead. This week, we meet Alyce Chan, mama of two and comedienne performing all over New York City, including the Comedy Cellar, Caroline's, Broadway Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, Q.E. D (Queens) and the Knitting Factory (Brooklyn).
What are your go-to strategies for keeping the kiddos entertained at home during the chilly winter months?
Both my boys (ages 2 and 5) love getting in the kitchen. The messier the better! They’ll help me clear out the fridge by looking at what produce has been spoiled and if there is any, we use it for pretend cooking. They love feeling texture with their hands, so we’ll make homemade Play-Doh with food coloring.
We also take out the water color paints. They love mixing water with the different paint colors, which helps them have a nice calming time right before bedtime.
Occasionally, we actually bake! We just made banana bread the other night and they loved mixing and mashing everything up.
When you venture out of the house with them in winter, what kinds of activities do you focus on?
My boys love to socialize, so we usually make it out to our local playground. If it has rained or snowed the night before, we put on our weatherproof pants and snow/rain boots and jump around in the puddles. When we are out in Montauk at our vacation home during the cold months, we will make trips to our local beach and find rocks, shells and check out the little sand dunes that were created by the wind. New York winters can be harsh, but I still always try to get the kids outside even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
What physical items are in your winter toolkit, both for play time at home and for heading out and about?
We travel with a few good books, coloring books and mini trucks, especially construction vehicles. Whenever they see soil, sand or rocks, my kids love to dig it up using their mini construction trucks.
On those really pent-up, cabin-feverish winter days, when nothing seems to keep them happy, what's your secret weapon?
They love to play hide-and-seek in the dark! I’ll make them a fort with bed sheets and hand them a couple of flashlights. Sometimes, I pile a bunch of pillows on the bed and take turns tossing them onto the pile of pillows which they love. They also always welcome a good dance party, where I turn up the music and I use a flashlight to do disco lights! If I’m feeling particularly low energy, a sweet or savory snack and a little movie all cuddled on the sofa is always a winner too!
For something more calming, the kids are always into some water color painting while snacking.
What's one thing you miss about winter once the warmer weather rolls around?
We will definitely miss the snow. The kids love to pick up the snow with their mittens and listen to the crunchy sounds their feet make when they walk on the snow.