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  • Writer's pictureBennett International

Six Ways to Beat the Winter Doldrums with Kids

Updated: Mar 5

The doldrums of winter have officially descended upon the New Jersey suburbs. As I type, the temperature is just above freezing, and the skies have been overcast for days. There are small, melting dabs of snow across my yard, and the atmosphere feels gloomy. The monotony of this time of year can be mind-numbing, especially with small children to entertain! (Raise your hand if you have watched Frozen more than once in the past week.)


There is a delicate balance between independent play and lawless chaos at my house. My 3.5-year-old daughter finally has a longer attention span, still requires a great deal of supervision, and seems to assert her spirited personality more and more each day. I find she responds best to a good mix of novelty and structure, but especially in wintertime, it takes quite a bit of energy and creativity to keep up with her. It is often a challenge to think of new, engaging, and semi-educational indoor activities in the moment. 


In the spirit of solidarity with families experiencing the similar joy of living in a four-season climate with energetic youngsters, I’d like to share some unique and fun activities that have helped my family beat the winter blues these last few weeks:


  1. Sea Monkeys: This 90s phenomenon is back! My daughter and I found a Sea Monkey kit at our grocery store a few weeks ago, and it’s been the most fun! Her eagerness to learn about the care and keeping of brine shrimp has been a daily surprise, and there has never existed a more attentive handler. We’re happy to welcome Sea Monkeys “Elsa” and “Anna” (and all their siblings) to the Buzzelli family.

  2. Homemade Ice Cream: With just a little rock salt, cream, vanilla, sugar, and ice, this was a lot of fun for us all! My daughter helped measure out the ingredients and very much enjoyed shaking everything together. It was a sweet afternoon together, and we plan to experiment with different flavors soon.

  3. DIY Doll House: My daughter has amassed quite the collection of small animals and figurines, and we have enjoyed taping together various configurations of cereal boxes, paper towel tubes, and other items from our recycling bin to provide them with custom, affordable housing. She took the lead on all architectural and design decisions, and it was a great opportunity for her to fine-tune her scissor-using skills as she cut out plates and beds for all the new tenants.

  4. Fort Building: This activity required a bit more hands-on help, but a few well-placed couch cushions and blankets made for easy evening fun. My daughter was delighted when I let her bring an LED-powered candle and popcorn into her fort, and she played inside with her stuffies for a good half hour, with only a few dramatic cave-ins.

  5. Indoor Ice Skating: Requiring only some socks without grips, this activity was the perfect amount of gross-motor skill building while dinner was in the oven. We practiced our triple axles on the tile kitchen floor and blasted “Into the Unknown” while working up an appetite.

  6. Homemade Bird Feeder: Perhaps the messiest idea on the list, we again repurposed some cardboard tubing from the recycling, spread peanut butter on it, and rolled it in birdseed to craft our very own bird feeder. We’ve hung it in our front yard tree, which has since welcomed a pair of happy, hungry cardinals.

My daughter has very much enjoyed running to the window to check on them, and I’m sure they too will have names soon enough!


Wherever winter finds you and your family this year, I hope you too can beat the blues with some creativity, laughter, and quality time together.



Hannah Buzzelli joined the Bennett Operations team in 2019 where she helped manage the company’s daily workflow and provided natural expertise in process refinement. In 2022, Hannah took on a new role at Bennett as Scholarship Programs Manager, and in this capacity she has led the building out of all aspects of Bennett’s Scholarship Management Program: the IT platform for the receipt of scholarship applications, the processes whereby scholarship students are selected, the communications related to all stages of the application process, the onboarding of new scholarship recipients, and the student tracking and reporting required by the corporate scholarship provider. She has also helped to develop the mentoring program that supports scholarship recipients as they transition from secondary school their native countries to universities around the world.

Over the years, Bennett International Education Consultancyhas worked with hundreds of corporations across the globe, many of them Fortune 500 companies, providing domestic and international school advisement & placement services - preschool through university - to the dependents of relocating employees. In addition to education placement, our team provides customized consulting for corporations with a range of education issues: education policy writing & benchmarking, tuition studies, group move advisement & planning, and remote education solutions.


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