Winter is for hot drinks and good books by the fire. Unless you have kids, then winter is about cabin fever and mud. This winter, Olivia and I have been trying hard not to let the cold and wet stop us getting out and active. We’ve put together a list of six things we’ve done with our kids over the last month, both indoors and out.

1. Gardening

In my gardening blog, I talk about how getting kids involved with planting and raising vegetables encourages them to eat them too. Winter is the perfect time to get your seeds sown ready for spring transplanting. Dom’s my little gardener and I love that we have this special activity together. I just got a greenhouse, but you don’t need one for raising seeds in winter… a windowsill works just as well!

2. Explore a park or reserve

We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country. It seems a shame that we only truly appreciate it during the warmer months. This winter we’ve been getting outdoors any time it’s not raining. There’s something magical about sun sparkling on the frost and breathing crisp, cold air that makes me truly thankful for all my blessings! Remember to wear gumboots and take a change of clothes… if there’s a puddle, there’s a 97% chance of splashing.

3. Play boardgames

I will never stop encouraging everyone to play boardgames! Dom got given Piratak for his birthday and it’s become an instant favourite! It’s a simple and quick card game that encourages counting, sharing and strategy. And it’s simple enough for a 3 year old to understand! I highly recommend it!

4. Do some baking

Buds babies love baking! On our most recent baking day we made scones. These are great for kids who love to get messy! Icky sticky hands and flour everywhere! We used scone recipes from Robyn Martin’s Favourite Bakes… they’re simple and virtually foolproof. There’s nothing better than a warm scone with butter on a cold afternoon!

5. Go on a scavenger hunt

For our family, this was the easiest, most fun activity on the list! We took a walk around the neighbourhood on a Sunday afternoon to alleviate cabin fever. Normally the kids complain they’re “running out of energy” very quickly on walks. Adding a scavenger hunt kept them engaged and made them really take notice of their surroundings in a way they don’t usually. We didn’t have a single complaint the whole trip! I’ve made a printable scavenger hunt that you can download for free!

6. Take a trip to the snow

This one isn’t ~technically free because petrol isn’t free. But packing our own lunch sure cut down on the costs. We drove up to Mt Hutt ski field so the boys could have their first real play in the snow! Dom loved it but Connor wasn’t so keen on the cold. We also found that the snow at the ski field itself was compacted and difficult to make snowballs out of (and what’s a trip to the snow without a snowball fight?). I recommend trying to find somewhere that’s had less foot traffic to get the real fluffy snow that’s perfect for playing in.


These are just some of our ideas… we’ve obviously left off crafts which always seems to be the #1 winter activity on most lists like this. We would love to see your snaps so tag us on Facebook (@darlingbudsofplaynz) or Instagram (@darlingbudsofplay).

Feel free to share your ideas too… there’s a lot of cold wintery days to fill.