Activities: Top ideas for when it’s cold outside

Every time Summer arrives I think to myself isn’t life wonderful: life is a whirlwind of picnics, visits to the park or beach, and lots of time is spent chasing the kids on their scooters. I always promise myself that things won’t change in Winter: we’ll just bundle up warm and all the kids will play out. A bit of ice won’t stop us!

Obviously, my promise has been broken. As the temperate is hovering around 5 degrees – we are happily snug at home with bikes left neglected in the garage.

Edinburgh ‘outside’ over Christmas is pretty fabulous – the Christmas lights are always worth a gander, the market is manic but magical in it’s way, and you can always stalk Santa at the Botanics. But as January rolls by, these activities disappear and sometimes staying home just doesn’t quite cut it. With that in mind, I give you ideas for Edinburgh in bad weather:

National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh with Kids - National Museum of Scotland

This one is an obvious for Edinburgh residents but one I forget about too often. I always think that it’s a hassle to get into town and that parking will be bad. But I’ve never actually found it crazy busy. I guess it’s because the museum is so large but I’ve always found that there’s a quiet corner.

So many of the exhibits are interactive that the kids are easily entertained but there’s plenty to keep an adult mind occupied as well. Many of the floors are Instagram worthy and I have to confess to playing with the tribuchet rather a lot myself.

Edinburgh with Kids - National Museum of Scotland

They do a good range of sandwiches in the Balcony Cafe – at a surprisingly affordable price. Peter’s Yard is an easy walk in order to grab a decent coffee for the bus ride home. Even in wet weather, so many buses leave from George IV bridge that public transport is easily manageable and deletes the stress of trying to find parking.

Edinburgh Central Library

Obviously, any local library is a good place to go. But Edinburgh Central Library on George IV bridge is a bit of a gem. They have a number of good children’s events on for a range of ages but take note of the craft sessions for ages 5-11, every Friday, 3-4pm. Any craft that takes place in someone else’s space is a winner in my book. There’s an array of colouring stuff out the rest of the time and it’s nice space to inhabit for a while.

For older children they also run a Lego club every second Wednesday, and even cooler – a book group for 8-11 year olds that meets on the first Monday of the month in term time. I would LOVE to be in a book group and if I had a child who wanted to attend one my life would be made.

Edinburgh Castle

Given we have Historic Scotland membership this is an easy one to dip into. I’ve written about visiting the castle before but it’s definitely somewhere that you can go back to countless times. In colder weather I would be marching past the spectacular views and heading straight for the war museum. This isn’t so great for the younger children but there’s loads to point out and talk about.

The Portrait Gallery

I have to admit, the main Galleries in Edinburgh aren’t exactly set up for children. However, they are trying and the Portrait Gallery stands out for this. They now run family drop-in Art sessions and have a couple of tours set up for children to discover different portraits. The information on the website is limited and there’s nothing to be seen at the gallery – but the staff are friendly and will give information on request. It might not be all singing, all dancing lights, sounds, and noise – but it’s something.

Edinburgh Portrait Gallery with Kids

I think people can be put off taking children to art galleries because they seem quite stuffy. But children should go to galleries. They are free for a reason. They are a national treasure and there for the people. People includes children.

If people don’t like my kids exuberance then they can wait for the 5 minutes it takes us to whizz through at child speed.

I am not one to hover and try to ponder every picture. I’ve found the trick to enjoy galleries with my kids is just to march through until something really catches there attention.

Katie has the benefit of being very imaginative. If she see’s something that grabs her she will ask (and answer) questions about it:

What do you think that person is thinking? Do you think they are naughty or nice? Why is that lady dressed like that?

Whilst I wouldn’t expect to spend any great length of time in a gallery it can be a fun way to spend an hour. The Portrait Gallery also has the added benefit of having a cafe with very nice cake!

What are your favourite activities for Cold Weather Days? Please share a few in the comments or come say hello over on Instagram!

You could also pin it for later:

Cold weather days with kids

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