Brighten Dark Winter Nights

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We are loving winter so far, with snow to play in and forts to build. The key, I have learned, to loving this darkest season is to keep things cozy. Here are four fun ways we’ve found to brighten the nights that begin as early as 4 p.m.!

First, we had an extra string of Christmas tree lights, and I gave Travis permission to hang them in his room.

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He loved that these had the option for flashing or steady modes, and he could control it with a button.

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Next, we made glow-in-the-dark paintings. Your kids can be deliberate or artsy with this activity…

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…Or just blob on the paint, as Travis did. He wanted maximum glow!

Brighten Nights (9)Next, we made a campfire. We scribbled brown marker on paper, rolled the paper up, and taped shut for quick “logs”.

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All our battery-powered tea lights in the house provided the perfect glow for reading Christmas stories and singing carols. A winter camp out!

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While we were at the “campfire”, we made sure to act out stories with shadow puppets, too.

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In sum, we’re staying cozy and happy, and excited for dark nights to come.

Play with a Balloon

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Sometimes all you need for quality play time with a baby is… one balloon!

We had an old helium balloon that’s been on the ceiling since Veronika’s birthday over a month ago. Today I fetched it down and we played in two distinct ways.

For the first, I tied the string tightly to a toy so that the balloon was at her eye level.

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Now she could give it a bop with her hands, and watch it bob back and forth. She really wanted to get that balloon!

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Next, we played with the balloon in the opposite way, setting it free instead of tying it down. I untied the string, but popped a small hole in the foil. Now when we tossed it in the air, it floated down just gently and slowly enough to her face.

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She loved watching it descend and catching it, at which point she would smash it between her hands. We did this over and over.

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I loved the wonder in her face as we set the balloon aloft.

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There is tons of fun to be had, in sum, with just one item.

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Take a Sled Ride

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This was the final activity I had hoped to do with Veronika before she turned one year old, but we never had the chance because in her first year we had… No snow! Well, at thirteen months, she now has two feet of snow out the window, and loved getting bundled into her snowsuit for the first time.

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Gentle sled rides are a new and exciting feeling. I sat her down on a small plastic one and simply glided her across the snow. If you’re going to go downhill, make sure you sit with your child and hold him or her firmly!

She seemed so intrigued by the novel motion. When we came to a stop, I pulled out a few sticks to show her how to write in the snow. She eagerly grabbed for one and gave it a try.

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Don’t worry if those curious fingers feel at the snow for a brief moment; it will be a  completely novel sensory experience, and then you can head right inside to warm up rosy fingers and cheeks!

If you live some place that never receives snow, consider a sled ride over sand instead! Then you can demonstrate writing in the sand with a stick instead.