Outside-the-Box Winter Blues Busters


The holiday season is over and the unseasonable warm weather is gone. The dreaded cold and dreary days are settling in along with my post holiday doldrums and yet my three and five year old are continuing to look to me for entertainment. The truth is I’m tired and cold and would rather hang out at home and drink warm coffee merrily while they play with the ridiculous amount of toys they just received.

While this might work for some time it does not work for long. Luckily, in the last few years I have learned a few fun and different ways to escape winter boredom without spending a ton of money or being overstimulated at the Magic House day in and day out. These are some of our favorite ways to force ourselves out when our first inclination would be stay in the comfort of our own home. 

Outdoor Play Twenty Minutes a Day– This is our goal this winter. Twenty minutes a day outside. Regardless of the day or the weather. If it’s only five minutes at a time then so be it. I asked for a thermos for Christmas in order to have warm drinks on hand and during the extra cold and windy weather we put on our snow gear. Twenty minutes of fresh air and vitamin D will surely do our bodies good. 
The Missouri History Museum – This beautiful light filled museum is great for adults but has the hidden gem of a free children’s history clubhouse which is perfect for little ones of all ages. This treasure is also open on Mondays which can be hard to come by. 
Bowling – Bowling is fun for the whole family and can also easily include a meal or an adult beverage. Bowling alleys have great weekday and early morning deals (check your local alley’s website). Many bowling alleys can also be found on Groupon. 
Climbing Gym– There are two bigger climbing gyms in the area that can help your little ones (and bigger little ones) expend some energy. Upper Limits Chesterfield even has a Wacky Walls room that is perfect for your little climber. Check Groupon for deals! 
Ice Skating – Ice skating can be tricky for the littlest but is so fun to try! Check your local rink for public skate hours. Weekdays can be quiet and great for your newer skaters. This is another activity that can often be found on Groupon. 
Sporting Events – St. Louis boasts many great professional teams, but don’t underestimate the fun your little ones can have at your local high school or university sporting events. Check the school website for schedules and enjoy cheering on your local students.
Dream Play Area – Dream Play Recreation offers pay-to-play in their impressive showroom. Check their website www.dreamplayrec.com for hours and take your little one to burn off energy on top of the line playgrounds. 
Lone Elk Park – When it is just SO cold or the kids are sick our go to is Lone Elk Park. I always bring coffee and snacks. We unbuckle when we enter the park and the kids think it is extra fun to view all the animals outside the restrictions of their carseats. This little drive through activity may not expend any energy but it does shake things up a bit. 
Local Libraries – Many libraries in the St. Louis area recently received upgrades. Look online to see what the different libraries offer and take your kids for a morning or afternoon of books and other activities. Although story times and other events are fun there is so much more our local libraries have to offer. 
Indoor Pools and Gym – Many local pools and gyms allow daily admission and a great way to get a lot of energy out.
Gymnastics Centers – Check your local gymnastics centers for open gyms and specialty classes. Your child does not have to be into gymnastics to enjoy taking advantage of jumping and swinging at an open gym time. 
While I would always choose to have my kids outdoors there are some days when it is simply not comfortable for them to be outside for too long. These activities provide outlets for you and your little ones in order to escape some of the monotony of indoor winter play.  
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Katie is a Des Peres mom of two young boys, Trace (2014) and Henry (2016). Katie stays home with her boys most of the time but also spends a bit of time away as a high school lacrosse coach. Katie enjoys connecting with other moms to run, meet at parks, explore new restaurants, listen to live music and discuss books. Katie and her boys can be found enjoying many activities around St. Louis including the Science Center, Zoo, Magic House, Museum of Transportation, Urban Fort and Frisco Train Store, but what they enjoy most is just being outdoors. They have tried many of the parks around St. Louis City and county and also love hiking trails at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Powder Valley and Shaw Nature Reserve. Katie and her family love all that St. Louis has to offer for families of young children and can most often be found taking advantage of all of the many opportunities.