Entertaining Ideas for Cold Weather!
By Jeff Cutler
The days have started to get shorter, and it's getting colder outside here in the Northeast. When that happens each year, finding fun stuff to do with your nieces and nephews gets a little harder. During the spring and summer, when you might have done a lot of outdoor activities—like attending ball games, going apple picking, sight-seeing—you're now starting to look at indoor activities.
So, I was thinking about some cool things to do with my relatives and realized that during colder seasons, it's not as easy as just deciding on a movie or museum or bowling alley. Choosing entertainment that will enthrall, educate and keep your nieces' and nephews' interest is a challenge.
It's also important to think about limit-setting on some activities for young children. Let's look at the pluses and minuses of three different types of cold-weather fun: Arcades, Movies, and Shopping Malls.
Arcades and Games
During the winter, arcades do a bang-up business. They don't have to compete with outdoor sports, beaches, or even activities like miniature golf. Arcades offer a single location and a variety of entertainment for little ones—as long as you choose correctly.
Arcades - FTW (for the win): Great variety of games that appeals to all ages; relatively affordable, and some arcades even let you pay one fee to play all the games on-site, making them even more affordable; generally a small geographic footprint, so you can easily keep an eye on your nieces and nephews.
Arcades - FTL (for the loss): Some game content might not be appropriate for all ages—especially some of the shooting games that parents might not want their children playing; impact on your wallet, some arcades can ding you for more than a buck for each play... If you spend a few hours there, you might spend a lot of money in a short period of time; kids might get bored if there aren't enough games on hand.
Movies - FTW: Lots of show times; huge variety of topics and shows for all ages; there are theaters everywhere—sometimes one in every town—and the price for matinees is pretty affordable.
Movies - FTL: If you're taking nieces and nephews, or kids of different ages, choosing a movie popular with everyone can be difficult; sometimes the movies kids want to see are not age-appropriate according to their parents—you can spoil your nieces and nephews, but you don't want to get in trouble with your relatives; small bladders sometimes make it difficult to coordinate bathroom trips with more than one niece or nephew...especially during movies when you need to uproot everyone just to take a bathroom break.
Shopping Malls - FTW: There's no better place to serve up tons of attention stimulation for kids of all ages; there's food, toys and other products on hand all in one climate-controlled location... You can almost make the mall a day trip; you get to spoil your nieces and nephews in a variety of ways because there are stores of all kinds all over the place... It's a perfect location to cement your 'favored-uncle' status by buying a few gifts during your visit.
Shopping Malls - FTL: There is just too much going on to keep kids focused...the noise, the stores, the food, and the people make it hard to keep young ones from becoming over-stimulated; boys and girls have different passions, so it's sometimes hard to keep everyone happy unless you stop in every store or have really patient nieces and nephews; crowds always make me nervous, and there are lots of people hanging out at the mall all the time... Keeping an eye on your niece and nephew can sometimes be hard in places where there are big crowds.
Each of these activity ideas has pluses and minuses, but this column should give you some inspiration when it comes to keeping nieces and nephews entertained during cold or inclement weather.
If you have some great ideas, be sure to share them here in the comments!
Published: November 13, 2012