5 tips to Brighten up a Gloomy New Year
Ah, January. You’re few Brit’s favourite month. All the festivities of Christmas and New Year are over. The weather is bleak. Resolutions are making everyone sensible/miserable/unbearably smug. Even the kids are feeling it, with not much to do and nothing exciting on the horizon until Easter. What’s to be done? How can you blow away those January blues? We have an idea or two.
5 Ideas to Bring some Joy into January
Turn to nature
Winter isn’t really a time when most of us think of the great outdoors, but if you wrap up warm and pull on your wellies, there’s plenty of opportunity for fun. Try going on a bear hunt or building a Gruffalo den. Puddle jumping is a timeless pastime. Climb trees, kick a ball, play tag or follow the leader. Many National Trust properties host ‘natural’ play grounds. Or, simply go for a walk and talk about what you’re seeing. Fresh air and exercise really are natural pick-me-ups, and they don’t need to cost a penny.
With so much tech literally at our fingertips, crafting can seem a little quaint. But, ask any child, and they will tell you just how much fun it is to get creative. And the possibilities for affordable craft projects are limitless. In most cases, all you need is some scrap paper, pens, ink and glue and you’ve got a good hour of fun ahead. Crafting doesn’t necessarily need to be constructive however – have you ever made your own slime? Cornflour, sugar and food colouring and that’s your afternoon sorted. How about making your own bird seed cakes? Creating individual scrapbooks or photo albums? You could even collect leave and cones on those winter walks and use them to create woodland creatures at home.
Nothing brightens up a grey day quite like an explosion of flavour. Most kids love to cook, especially if you add some sweet treats into the mix. Try your hand at Swizzels Drumstick Squashies Rocky Road or Rainbow Drops Cookies. In fact, take any of your favourite recipes – brownies, biscuits, cakes and crumbles – and pimp them up with your kid’s favourite sweets. They’ll have as much fun making them as they will eating them.
Find out what’s on in your area
While January is known as a quiet month, there are actually loads of different events going on around the country. The Lumiere festival lights up London’s skies from January 18th, reimagining the city with lights. London also has an ice rink and festival of sculptures in Canary Wharf. There’s a beer and cider festival in Manchester (perhaps not one for the kids!). Chinese New Year celebrations get underway in Birmingham on the 28th. Leicester National Space Centre is hosting the Science of the Time Lords, for all you Whovians out there. Wild Winter at the West Midlands Safari Park. Look around, you’ll be surprised what’s happening near you. And don’t forget, there are tonnes of museums and art galleries that you can get into for free.
Break out the books
Reading is one of the most beneficial activities that kids can do. But, what most people forget, is that reading is important for adults too. Reading together as a family can be an amazing bonding exercise, while opening a whole new vibrant world on a miserable winter’s day. And you can add to it, by building activities around what you’re reading. George’s Marvellous Medicine? Try cooking up your own concoction based upon Dahl’s genius work. Anything Harry Potter? Stock up on Swizzels and imagine you’re in Honeydukes; you could even combine them to make your own creations. Melted Squashies mixed with a handful of Double Dip sherbet and sprinkled with a Rainbow Drops? We’d try it!
Whatever you do this January, don’t let the grey skies get you down. Go out, explore, bake, and enjoy some quality time with your family.