Winter is drawing near.  The trees stand like stark, black skeletons against the bright blue Colorado sky and the grass is a yellowish, brown carpet that is littered with dead leaves and broken branches from early snow.

In my former life, winter meant working through the week and either snuggled up on the couch watching movies or curled up with a good book or hitting the slopes and later hitting the bars for some après-ski.  For a stay-at-home mother for three children six and under, endless days of bone-chilling cold, hats, mittens, boots, coats, and early darkness can be a terrifying prospect.  I find myself anticipating winter the same way that I’m anticipating an upcoming appointment to get a deep cavity filled. It will be uncomfortable at best, excruciating at worst and will seem to drag on for an eternity.  In fact, laying back in a dental chair with my mouth opened at an 110 degree angle and filled with sharp instruments might actually sound relaxing compared to some of the agony I’m sure to endure with three bored, loud and energetic children bouncing around our small house.

But, instead to be proactive and not to succumb to the desire to turn the TV on to Nickelodeon for four months straight, I’ve decided to come up with a list of “Snowy Day Activities” to keep us all busy.

1)  Building Table and Blanket Forts: For some reason, reading books or playing dolls takes on a new and exciting twist underneath the dark privacy of a table draped with a long blanket. Bring in some flashlights for some added ambiance and voila, a warm den that little bears can hibernate in for at least half an hour before boredom sets in, and longer if I offer to bring in a tray of cookies and milk.

2)  Homemade Play dough:  If I keep the ingredients for some play dough on hand, both the making of and playing with the dough can keep busy hands busy.  I’ve found several recipes online that sound fun, including suggestions to add scents, textures, and hidden objects in the dough.  Add some household metal objects and a magnet and I’ll practically be teaching preschool at home.

3)  Dance Party:  When all else fails and boredom leads to chaos, take that restless energy and dance it out. Crank the music (these days we are listening to Christmas music around the clock) and boogey-boogey-boogey til you just can’t boogey no more. This is another activity that even Cooper can enjoy. He can’t exactly dance yet but he can feel the excitement and clap his hands. He sits on his little legs and bounces and squeals in delight as we jump around and act silly.

I’ll be sure to keep adding to my list of Wintertime Activities for the Housebound With Children.  Please share what you do to with your babies and children to cure cabin fever!