Tips for Surviving Winter with a Toddler

For the past month, “how to survive winter with a toddler” has been my top Google search. Actually, who am I kidding, “how to survive life with a toddler” is my top Google search every other day! But now that the holidays have wrapped up, I have been having such a struggle trying to find ways to keep my three year old entertained over the weekends. Our favorite thing to do is be outside, but it’s just too dang cold right now — even in Kentucky.

I’ll be the first to admit I let my kid watch entirely too much TV in the winter. Last year I was so desperate, I put a not-so-small trampoline in the middle of our tiny living room (see below). I’m a single mom — you gotta do what you gotta do to get stuff done, amiright?! Though Alexa has been a solid addition to the fam. I just yell at her to send me some dish soap and pasta sauce and it magically appears two days later. WHAT IS THIS LIFE?! Anyway, I digress.

So to save us all from installing a trampoline in the living room, I scoured the web for ideas that would actually work. Sure, there was a TON of stuff on Pinterest, but let’s be honest here, ain’t nobody got time (or patience) for most of that stuff.

Here are the top six activities I think would actually work for us tired mommas this season. You’ll find most of them are centered around getting out and about cause cabin fever is so real in the winter. Also please enjoy these song/movie referenced titles (mom jokes!).

(Day) at the (children’s) museum

This is my personal favorite. A contained space where I can sit and read and she can play for hours. I also love that it’s filled with other kids her age — naturally she stays more interested when there are playmates. Here’s a Google search ready to go for you to find the nearest one. Hopefully it’s within driving distance and they allow you to bring in Starbucks (just get a venti and thank me later).

Let’s go to the movies

Hey, if Annie is playing I obviously recommend that one. But there are some great kid shows out right now (Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Grinch, Smallfoot) and any activity that includes popcorn and chocolate is a winner in my book! If you’re lucky enough to have a cheap seats theater (older movies for just a few bucks) near you, that’s even better!

Whip it (at the rink)

We recently went to a birthday party at a roller skating rink in town and holy moly batman why hadn’t I thought of this place sooner?! I know you’re probably thinking there’s no way a toddler would be able to do this — I thought the same. But they have these little adjustable skates that fit over top of their shoes that aren’t the “easy” rollers — they actually have to force them a bit in order to move. My little is only 3.5 and she was such a natural in under three minutes that I contemplated what a life as a professional roller skater mom would look like and if I should start pushing it as a career path lol!

Oh, similarly, we tried ice skating and that’s definitely a no-go unless you (parent) have legs of steel and the balance of a flamingo because you will 100% will be skating with your little in between your legs. You can try it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Jump! Jump!

Alright, let’s talk trampoline parks. I know, I know, they freak me out too. But you’ll find that they usually have a “toddler time” everyday. At ours it’s a two hour time block where only toddlers and parents are allowed in a specific area and the parents aren’t allowed to jump (that much, though I sneak in a bounce or two because come on, it’s a trampoline and they are awesome). Click here to see if you’ve got one close.

She’s crafty

If you’re snowed in or just simply having a day where you don’t really feel like changing out of your pajamas (girl, no shame in that game), arts and crafts are always a trusty stand by. Painting is my three year old’s most favorite thing on the planet so I always bust them out when I need a breather for a minute. Some of our faves that keep the mess to a minimum include trusty washable paint for use with this $20 art easel from IKEA, this little guy that keeps everything contained when at the table and just using coloring books, and the ever-so-magic magic pad (good for on-the-go too).

Clean up! Everybody, everywhere!

Yes, you read that correctly. If you haven’t tried it yet, kids LOVE chores!! Give them a duster or a pile of towels to fold and watch them go to town. She will literally dust everything in the house, it’s amazing. I can usually keep her “entertained” with chores for a solid hour. Granted, she does attend a Montessori school where practical life is part of the curriculum so she already thought chores were cool and does things (like fold the towels) without my asking. Oh don’t worry though, she makes up for this sliver of awesomeness by smashing blueberries into the couch five minutes later.

So there ya go, friends! Six actual things to try and help you stay sane this winter. Other seemingly legit things include going to the library of course, pet store (but my kid’s afraid of animals), or a bookstore. BUT, if your bookstore is a Barnes & Noble and said Barnes & Noble has an escalator, I’m telling you right now just stay away. There’s an escalator in the one near us and being the over-active toddler that she is, that trip was all. about. the. dang. escalator. I kid you not when I say we’re aren’t going back for at least 5 years.

Good luck and God speed, mommas. Winter can’t last forever. If all else fails, just walk around Target for a while and grab that $5 bottle of wine of theirs on the way out.

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