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Family Activities to Boost Mental Health As Seasons Change

October 16, 2023

by cora gold

For many, fall and winter’s approach signals the arrival of the blues. When it’s dark, cold, and rainy, it’s more important than ever to focus on your - and your family’s - mental health. Why not make the most of the season and have some fun together? Here are 10 ways to brighten your spirits on even the chilliest nights.

1. Play in the Park

If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere where the autumn leaves change color — other than brown, that is — take advantage of it. Bundle up in your warmest clothes, and take a walk under the yellows, oranges and reds of the swaying trees.

Head to the nearest park, and enjoy the swings and other playground equipment. With enough layers, you can stay comfortable on even the coldest metal slide or merry-go-round.

2. Have a Family Game Night

If the weather outside is frightful, stay cozy indoors and break out the board games. You can play something like Monopoly or Catan to foster a sense of friendly competition, especially if you have older kids. Or, choose a cooperative game like Bandido, Mysterium or Mole Rats in Space to let everyone win. Aside from board games, activities like Simon Says, hide and seek, charades, and karaoke are all perfect for a family game night.

3. Plant a Garden

Your spring flowers might be withering, but fall and winter are the perfect time to plant a cold-weather garden. Hardy crops like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and turnips thrive as the temperatures drop. Your children might even decide they like vegetables if they grow the plants themselves.

4. Meditate

Practicing meditation together is a great way to boost your family’s mental health. Put on some white noise or a relaxing soundtrack, sit on the floor, and close your eyes. Inhale slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, concentrating on the sounds around you.

Meditating this way calms down your mind and makes you feel more relaxed. It’s also a great activity to incorporate before, during, or after a yoga session.

5. Frolic in the Snow

It’s time to enjoy the winter classics. Brave the cold and make snow angels with the kids. See who can create the biggest, most creative, or silliest snowman. Build forts and have a snowball fight; go sledding.

6. Visit a Museum or Learning Center

Did you know there are 33,082 museums in the United States? That’s roughly 32% of the total number in the world. Whether your kids are interested in dinosaurs or physics, there’s an exhibit out there for everyone to enjoy.

Many children love visiting planetariums, aquariums and conservatories. These spaces are especially fun to explore in the winter — after all, they bring the outside indoors.

7. Make Hot Cocoa and Cider

Nothing warms the body and soul more than a hot drink on a chilly night. Invite the little ones to help you make hot chocolate, cider, or tea. Depending on their age, you can have them measure ingredients, stir the pot, or pour tea from the kettle. They can also help out at the end by adding cinnamon sticks or marshmallows.

8. Go to the Movies

Want to get out of the house while still staying warm indoors? Head to the movies and watch a family flick everyone can enjoy. Boost the fun factor by dressing up in the theme of the movie you decide to watch.

9. Pamper Yourselves

Kids love painting their nails, braiding their hair, and mixing up homemade concoctions like soap, facial scrub, or conditioner. See what ingredients from the kitchen and bathroom you can throw together to make a fancy bubble bath.

Then, test it out! The house might get messy, but playing spa is a surefire way to entertain the whole family — and maybe that DIY face mask will actually work.

10. Be Dazzled by a Light Show

Many places put on elaborate light shows around the holidays. You can stroll under strands of twinkling icicle lights with a hot drink in hand, your path illuminated by glowing candy canes and mini Christmas trees.

Some light shows are meant for you to drive through. Put on your favorite holiday songs and sing together as you cruise through the display, staying perfectly warm all the while.

Making Spirits Bright

Many people struggle with their mental health as the seasons change, but the cold weather brings countless family-fun opportunities. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do together this fall and winter. Then, try to check off as many activities as you can. Spring will be here before you know it, but you just might find yourself longing for winter to return!

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