Entertaining Little Ones on Winter Evenings

It starts right around 4:00 in the afternoon. The high from nap time has dissipated, the hunger pangs begin to creep in. The darkness hangs heavy and we repeat the lines of Robert Frost in grim desperation: “and miles to go before I sleep.” All the toys and crafts strewn across the floor amid mismatched socks, discarded empty sippy cups, and a flyswatter have lost their appeal. Puffin Rock and Treehouse Detectives beckon from the tv screen, and we resist, but barely. Before giving in to the wonders of mesmerizing kid shows, perhaps we might consider a few other options, for both our kids’, and our own, sanity and peace.

Let the light shine! Turn on every lamp and overhead light available. Strike a match for a few candles to cozy up the house. Scatter string lights about the rooms you use most.

Turn on some music and dance. Or listen to an audiobook.

Get cooking or baking and let those little hands help. Don’t fear the mess—it’s an opportunity to laugh, then teach them how to clean up. Make muffins, popcorn, cookies, dinner, anything!

Build a blanket or box fort and snuggle up with a stack of books.

If you haven’t exhausted all the “making” options yet, pull out the paints, play dough, crayons and markers, stickers, etc. Make cards for the grandparents, or a poster for someone who needs cheering up.

Keep some puzzles or special toys just for this time of day, so that you have a stash of “new” activities to pull from.

Fill the bathtub, splash in some bubble bath, or find some bath crayons or kid-safe colors for the water. Measuring cups, old tupperware, or fun little floaty things are always great too!

Turn the end of the day tidy-up into a fun game, Mary Poppins style. And while you’re at it, throw in some prep for the next day and you’ll be feeling good about waking up the next morning already.


Take a walk if you live in an area that’s well lit and safe this time of day. Night walks can be just as interesting and fun as daylight ones.

And of course, a show or movie can be a lovely reward at the end of the day. There’s nothing wrong with a well-chosen, intentional time to relax in front of the tv all together—or just for the kids if you need some alone time. We just like to keep it as something special, not a default. For a great list of wholesome shows visit this list on Homesong.

Happy evenings! Let’s turn the witching hour(s) into something we look forward to instead of dreading!

More ideas:

50 Screen Free Indoor Crafts & Activities for Young Ones (Homesong Blog)

5 Fantastic Audio Storybook Collections for Little Listeners (Everyday Reading)

Kristi Clark