The Northeast has had a rough go of it in the last couple of weeks. Bitterly cold temperatures and wind gusts that seem powerful enough to blow kids away are making it difficult to enjoy the season, and parents are scrambling for ways to keep their little ones occupied, albeit behind heavily insulated doors. The good news: whether you're victim to the #polarvortex or just a casual observer of it, you can find comfort in classic playtime activities that encourage interaction and creativity. So drop the iPad and roll up your sleeves—it's going to be a long (fun!) day.
Play Dress Up
If you're lucky enough to own a trunk of vintage clothing, now is the time to break it out. But even if you don't, you can still encourage silliness by swapping clothes with your significant other and little ones. Interior designer Ruthie Sommers and her three daughters regularly buy hats and other accessories at vintage shops for just such occasions.
Paint the Walls
Few things are more exciting to a child than scribbling on the walls, but the headache of cleaning them—that we could do without. Try this instead. Paint a little-used corner of any room in your house with chalkboard paint, then let kids doodle to their hearts' content. Want to add a functional twist? Painted cabinet panels in the kitchen make a tidy space for scrawling grocery notes, or in the entry of your home, a framed swatch serves as your household's ever-changing weekly calendar.
Build a Fort
Remember how much promise a blanket and some pillows held? Everything is more fun when you do it in a fort: reading a story, establishing a secret club, playing house. Share your imaginative streak with your child and watch whining over being stuck indoors become a thing of the past.