Keeping Your Kids Busy Indoors

If you’re here from News Channel 8, welcome 🙂

There are LOTS of options for keeping your kids from going stir-crazy, even when it’s 10 degrees outside.  You can always use our calendar to see what options we have any day of the week, but here are some general ideas!

1- Utilize Community Resources
Take advantage of the FREE library programs and inexpensive options at your local community center.  People often forget about what great options there are at these places because they’re so busy looking for bells and whistles.  Check out the Kiddie Time at the Dale City Rec Center– it’s only $3 per child, non-walkers and parents are free.  There’s plenty of room in their gym and kids can run around with other children while you enjoy some time out of the house.  Chinn Park offers a “Family Swim Time” where 4 can swim for $15.  While you might not immediately think of swimming as a winter activity, they keep the pool area nice and warm- just bring a hat or a blow dryer for before you leave! Can you go play at Chick Fil A for free? Yes, you can, and that’s an option, too! Just be prepared for a lot of other moms to have the same idea.

Playing with cows at a Chick Fil A Family Night

2- Follow Your Favorites and Know When to Go
There are a ton of AMAZING indoor options that can be really fun to take advantage of, but I didn’t get a winter bonus to cover the cost of keeping my kids entertained, and I doubt you did, either! Follow your favorite indoor places on Facebook and/or Twitter so that you know if they’re running a promotion or have an ongoing deal on a certain day of the week.  Then, plan around the times that are going to be the best to go for your wallet.  If a business posts a flash sale, take advantage! It’s also worthwhile to follow Certifikid so you can take advantage of highly discounted passes or trial offers.

Animated Child recently offered Facebook fans a free Minecraft session if they brought food for the shelter

3- Get Creative! 
We love our unfinished basement for hockey, roller skating, and biking when we can’t do them outside.  Just make sure your kids know that the helmet rule still applies- concrete hurts just as much as asphalt! You can pull the cars out of your garage and do the same thing. Fill up the tub with snow for younger children to play with when it’s too cold outside.  Have a dance party in your living room (bonus points for snagging some glow sticks from the Target Dollar Spot).  All of these activities can help burn off extra energy and cost you nothing! Got Wii Sports or Dance Dance Revolution? Plug em in and get moving!

We got a deal at Vertical Rock by taking a group.  Get some other moms together and split a group rate. 

4- Embrace the Season
It’s winter.  It’s cold.  That’s fine! Put on your hat, gloves, and coat and take advantage of outdoor ice
skating at places like the Harris Pavilion, or take a winter hike.  If
you get the kids nice and chilly, maybe they’ll even curl up by the
fireplace with a book when you get home! Obviously this works best if you select a day that’s “warm” and not a day when we’re having a Polar Vortex- use common sense and base your outings on your children’s age and tolerance level.

Outdoor Skating at Harris Pavilion

5- Track Progress
Businesses like Chuck E Cheese offer Incentive Charts that get kids free tokens.  It’s a good way to earn some fun out of the house.  Also, at report card time, you can find a bunch of different restaurants, businesses, and activities that offer a discount or freebie to kids with good grades!

The slide at the Freedom Center in Manassas