Author: Alyssa Craig
If you live in an area where the winters are harsh, your kids can be the ones that suffer the most, as their playgrounds, backyards, and parks get covered with ice and snow. While it is usually still possible to enjoy time outside in the cold, there is only so much time you can safely be outside and being inside all day can make them go stir crazy. If you are looking for a way to help your kids continue to enjoy their hobbies while the temperatures are still low, consider turning your garage into an indoor play place. Here are a few fun suggestions for ways to make your garage the new favorite activity room.
Arts and Craft Corner
The beauty of having a craft corner in your garage is you do not have to stress as much about messes ruining your furniture, carpet, or hardwood floors. Set up a table in the garage where your child can lay out their favorite art or craft supplies and allow them to decorate it to make it all their own. You can even give them a small shelf where they can store their supplies, so the messy supplies never have to enter the house. Here are some ideas for activities they could do in their special corner:
· Drawing and sketching
· Jewelry making
· Puzzle assembling - to be glued and framed
· Sewing machine and fabric - for older children
Create a place on the wall by their desk where their masterpieces can be displayed upon completion!
One great way to help work out some of their cooped up energy and help them to stay active during the winter is to create a kid sized gym in the garage. For this, use your best discretion as to what is healthy and age appropriate for your child to be doing. Younger kids might enjoy games rather than exercise equipment, while older children can be working on developing healthy exercise habits.
· Jump Rope - a great workout for all ages
· Hop Scotch - use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board or find foam cut outs for the board and use a rock or small bean bag to play
· Light weights - ease your older children into weight training as a regular part of their exercise routine
· Mat - keep a mat in the garage they can use to do ab exercises
· Pull up bar - these can be mounted above door frames
Musical Instrument Practice
If your child plays a portable musical instrument, consider allowing them to practice in the garage. Set up a corner with their music stand, books and a chair, if necessary. Put up posters of their favorite bands or their musical inspiration to motivate them. If they play a string instrument, do not leave it in the garage, as it is not good for the strings, and will cause the instrument to go out of tune more easily. Store instruments in the house, where the temperature stays more consistent.
This is also a great time for your child to get their friends together to jam and maybe even start a band! After all, some of the best bands in history started in garages.
For recreation, set up a dartboard on a wall, where a window or cars won’t be in danger of being damaged. Another great game to consider that is usually reserved for the summer is cornhole. The length of a garage should be more than enough to give your child the distance needed to make the game a challenge.
When cars are not in the garage, set up hooks on either side of the garage and string a net across the width of the garage. While volleyball might be too potentially destructive, badminton is a great alternative that will get their heart rates up, while allowing them and their friends to have an enjoyable time.
Before you decide what kind of play place you want to create for your child, make sure your garage will be safe for them. This will include removing potential hazards (such as sharp objects and poisons), making sure the room is insulated to keep the space warm enough for them to play in and making sure the garage door works properly, and has mechanisms to prevent it from hurting anyone. There are many aspects to consider when it comes to safety, so think about having a pro inspect your garage to make sure it is as safe as possible for your family.
Your garage is a great place for your child to continue to develop their talents and hobbies even in the winter weather. While these suggestions may fit your family, feel free to get creative and work together with your child to come up with a great play place that will fit their needs and interests.