The holidays are over. The kids are back in school. The nights are long. The weather is cold.
The month of January can be somewhat depressing for both adults and kids; however, there is no need to let those feelings fester. Combat the winter blues with these ideas for what to do in January with the littles:
- Stream Online Theater Shows for Kids. Even though local children’s theaters are currently closed to ensure the health and safety of our city, the show must go on! And it does so through diverse, online programming provided for by the Austin Scottish Rite Theater. The ZACH Theatre also provides live, virtual, and interactive theater classes.
- Compete in the At Home Winter Olympics. Get a head start on the 2022 Winter Olympics and have the kiddos create their own Winter Olympics experience in the living room and/or backyard! Have them brainstorm and organize various challenges and obstacle courses. While they’re busy prepping, don’t forget to remind them to plan for the opening and closing ceremonies. Need more help? Check out Pinterest for a surplus of ideas!
- Binge Movies While Wearing PJs. Encourage your kiddo(s) to spend the day in their most comfy pajamas while watching all of the wonderful movies currently available for kids! Need some help finding something good? Check out Soul (Disney+), The Croods: A New Age (YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Prime), as well as Over the Moon (Netflix).
- Camp-out in the Living Room. Nights in January can be super cold, even here in Central Texas. This doesn’t mean, however, that you and your littles can’t enjoy a family camp-out! The living room is a great space for a magical sleeping fort or a simple collection of sleeping bags. Keep the theme going with a real fire in the fireplace or a faux bonfire on Netflix. Enhance the experience with s’mores, hot chocolate, scary or funny stories, and card games.
- Bake a New Recipe. January is the perfect month to get hygge with the kids! Hygge is the Danish and Norwegian word for feelings of coziness. Baking homemade sweets and making comfort foods is the perfect hygge activity. In keeping with Danish and Norwegian cultures, consider having the kid(s) help you bake that delicious pastry recipe you pinned on Pinterest or make a version of the Swedish meatballs you’ve sampled at Ikea.
- Dress Up & Play Games. Consider hosting a Family Game Night complete with costumes and a themed dinner. For example, have each person in the family choose a character from Clue, eat a fancy dinner in costume, and end the evening playing the board game Clue. Some other options include dressing up as old ladies and men to play Bingo, dressing up as sailors to play Battleship, or dressing up in your smartest outfits to play Scrabble or Chess. The possibilities here are endless!
- Plan a Post-Pandemic Holiday. At some point in the future, this madness will all be over. Unit then, why not get together with the kiddos to plan your next family adventure? Brainstorm kid-friendly destinations, and have the kids research the weather and some popular attractions for each place. Then, choose a vacation spot as a family. Use the research to create an itinerary complete with plans for what to pack, how to get there, what to do, as well as what and/or where to eat.
- Play Real Life Among Us. If your kiddos are anything like mine, Among Us has taken over all the iPhones and iPads in the house. For my daughter’s birthday, my husband put together a real-life game of Among Us with her neighborhood friends, and it was a hit! Not sure where to start? Check out this article on How to Play Among Us in Real Life for how to set up a game. Although it is geared for college-age kids, the instructions can be easily adapted for younger kids.
- Create Valentine’s Day Cards. Who says you have to wait until February to encourage your kiddos to show others how much they are loved?! Get a head start on those hand-made, heart-felt, Valentine’s Day cards in January. In addition to making them for friends and family, you might also consider having your kiddo(s) send them to local nursing homes, senior centers, hospitals, police and/or fire stations, etc.
- Take a Hike. We’re lucky to live in a fairly temperate climate, so January is a great month to enjoy being in the great outdoors! Exercise, sunlight, and fresh air are all well-documented ways to beat feelings of sadness and/or depression that are common during the winter months. So grab the family, lace up those hiking boots, and check out this list of Family Friendly Hike + Bike Trails in Austin.
- Make a Donation of Clothing, Food, Etc. Any month is a good month to give back! Consider making a donation this month. Have the kiddos help you to clean out the closets and donate gently used clothing to local children’s and women’s shelters. Have them help you clean out the pantry and/or pick up some HEB Curbside Grocery Delivery and donate the food to your local food pantry. Check out this article on The Best Places to Donate Kids Items (That Do The Most Good) for places in need of your donations.
- Visit Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. With over 900 species of native Texas plants, the majority of the exhibits at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are outdoors in both natural and garden settings, allowing for educational fun and social distancing. The museum is open daily with limited capacity, so reservations are required. Reserve your spot today!
- Rent a Theater, Watch a Movie. Worried about the crowds but miss watching movies on the big screen with buttery popcorn, a box of M&Ms, and an ice-cold Coke? Consider reserving a private screening of a beloved movie of your choice! Prices begin at $99 and include up to 20 guests. Book your private watch party at Cinemark.com.
- Take a Scenic Drive through the Hill Country. After the excitement of the holidays fades away, the doldrums of January can sweep in and take over. Not this January, though! Banish those winter blues with a scenic drive through the Hill Country. Not sure where to start? Gather the family in the vehicle, put on some sweet tunes, and explore these 3 Breathtaking Drives You Must Take in the Texas Hill Country.
It’s true that January can be a long, cold, and tedious month; however, choosing to do a few or all of these kid-friendly winter activities can bring some much-needed excitement and warmth to the loooooooooongest month of the year.