My sister, bless her heart, lives in Michigan.
I live in Texas.
One of our favorite conversations is about the weather. It's January and she has seen negative fifteen and had warnings that tell them not to go outside more than ten minutes if they have any skin exposed; whereas I am able to enjoy mid-50s most of the time.
So, this article is for her. With three little ones under the age of six, having a game plan for the stay indoors days is a good idea.
Winter Indoor Activities for Kids
1. Homemade Handprint Twister
I love that this game is two-in-one deal. For the first part of it, your kid gets to make their twister game, for the second part, they get to play their created game.
Part of the reason the author over at Pint Sized Treasures created this game was so their children could work on learning their colors as well. Love it!
2. Candy Cane Goo/ Oobleck
Sadly, this doesn't have candy canes in it, but the good news is that it does have stuff you already have around the house.
What's really cool is that the blogger over at Science Sparks made it educational as well. For the little ones, it is a sensory item. For the older kids, it is still fun to play with and they gave the science details to go along with why you made it. Very neat!
3. Sumo Boys
Why are some of the most fun things something that totally slips our minds as adults? In this idea, Allison at All for the Boys comes up with a game of sumo wrestling simply by using pillows and the boys' father's T-shirts!
Now that I think about it, this one might not be first on my mind because it gets a bit noisy… but look at what fun they are having. Might be worth it!
4. Snow Ice Cream
If you have never had snow ice cream, I recommend you find somewhere with a decent amount of snow and make some.
My mother and I made some when I was little and I loved it. Back when my girls were younger and we lived in Delaware we had a major snow storm that shut us down for days and I did the same for them, falling in love with snow ice cream all over again (and learned what whipping cream was all at the same time… it was magical!).
This recipe comes from Ali over at Gimme Some Oven.
5. Indoor Camping
Charlene over at My Frugal Adventures goes into details about how they made summer fun inside during the winter.
I get this because I, personally, am not a fan of winter after a while. As an adult, I typically deal with the winter blues by about mid-February. Even in Texas!
As a child, though, on days when we had snow days at school, I would set up our living room (the one with the big window) with a tent and our bathroom would be the beach- complete with a pool and a tanning area.
I did this while my mother was at work, think of what we can do as parents to participate in this fun activity that helps us all to remember that winter is only temporary!
6. Use Your Resources
So many people think that television for kids is bad. I am not about to suggest putting your kid in front of a movie screen and walking away for eight hours a day but sometimes using the internet can be to your resource.
When my oldest was little, I would allow her an hour a day. Sesame Street was her favorite. During that time I got a lot done.
In Tiffany over at Spark & Pook‘s post, she tells you of some YouTube videos that not only get your kids attention, but it gets them up and moving as well. That works to the parents' advantage!
7. String Obstacle Course
I did this with my girls a few years back and they loved it. Mine was done in a hallway and it was much higher up. The string was taped to the wall.
Jamie over at Hands On As We Grow did hers a little bit differently. For one, she used chairs and did it lower down. Also, she helped her children learn their number bonds as well. Don't know what number bonds are? Head over to the blog and find out!
8. Laundry Basket Skee Ball
I'm excited about this one.
Anytime we go to the arcade, this is the game I go to first. How fun to be able to re-create it at home! Thank you to Sara over at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls.
9. Bozo's Grand Prize Game
If you want to do something similar, but don't have the stuff to make skee ball, opt for Bozo the Clown's Grand Prize Game. I was young when that show was on (not in school yet) but I loved to watch those kids get up there and try. You don't have to use a ping-pong ball or the buckets- be creative. Also, I hope you have as much fun as those kids who were on the game show!
10. Indoor Snow Games
What a fun idea: to take fake snow and have fun with it much in the way you would if you were outside. No cold, no melting, just fun.
Jillian over at Confidence Meets Parenting even gives you ideas for how to make the snowballs.
11. Paper Bag Snowman Puppet
How cute are these snowmen? Using tape as a scarf, googly eyes and buttons. The best part is if you are reading this because you are already stuck inside and you don't have these things on hand- just adlib, use markers! Don't have white paper bags? Make gingerbread men puppets. Get creative- bring the kids in from the beginning, you never know what they might come up with.
But to see exactly what Rachel did to make these, head over to her blog at I Heart Crafty Things.
12. Color a Box
The article written by Kylie over at The How-to Mom talks about different ways to keep toddlers busy and help them not destroy the house.
When I saw this picture though, I knew I had to bring up the idea of cardboard boxes because guess what? If you give my twelve year old some cardboard, she will be busy for hours. Just two months ago she built a house for our Elf on the Shelf, Zoey, to hang out in while she was visiting us.
Cardboard is an important creative tool at any young age!
13. Word Building Charades
This is one of the cutest ones I have seen yet. The author over at Understood has word building charades. It goes like this: You stand tall for big letters, straight for regular letters, and for letters that go below the line, you crouch down.
She gives the example of Bag. Head over to the site to see it for yourself.
14. Cut Out Snowflakes
We've already had snow fights but what about the snowflakes themselves? This craft from It's Always Autumn has templates and a video tutorial if you or your little one is stuck and don't know what to do next.
I always enjoyed making snowflakes though I am not as good at it as my older one. She decorates my classroom with them during winter time!
15. Bake Some Bread
Baking bread is such a fun process and has sensory aspects to it as well. Getting your kids in the kitchen is fun for both them and you. Sit them up on the counter (but stay nearby) and let them help add ingredients, mix, and knead the bread. Even cleaning up is fun to them when they are little!
Even better- baking means warming up your home and giving it good smells.
The author, Cynthia over at Rolling Prairie Readers, gives suggestions on helping little ones feel like they are giving back to society.
16. Make Play Dough
I have made this before, and I can tell you that it works. My kids had so much fun creating new things. They usually let their creations harden. But if you're not ready for that you can store it, and the playdough lasts for quite a while.
Enough to keep them entertained a couple of times throughout a few weeks. Even better is that most of the stuff you should have on hand at home!
To see the recipe for yourself, head over to kidsactivities.
17. Plant an Indoor Garden
The Loyal Gardener gives you a list of things you can grow indoors during the winter, and there are probably more great ideas if you really want to get creative.
I knew a person who put a hydroponic garden in a windowsill and had strawberries year round.
Kids love to help with the garden and here's your chance to keep them busy and possibly get them interested in new fruits and vegetables!
18. A Minute to Win It Games
I'm not big on games, especially board games but sometimes a minute to win it games win out. My favorite one is the one shown above, where you take a straw and blow in it, seeing who gets their ping pong ball over the line faster.
For more ideas, head over to Kid Friendly Things to Do.
19. Snow Globe
My oldest, who is twelve, loves snow globes. This craft would be right up her alley. She's an artist through and through.
The best part of this craft is it takes little effort on the adult's part. Simply let them color their paper snow globe and then add the other ingredients.
The full tutorial can be found over at Fireflies + Mud Pies.
20. Marble Maze
This is another double layer activity that looks like so much fun. Help them with the first part of coming up with the maze and then let them use the marble to get it in one area and out the proper area.
I like this one because it is good for older kids as well.
For full details, check out Little Bins for Little Hands.
I originally was just going to suggest having a karaoke contest but then came across this little gem over at I Heart Arts n Crafts. For little ones this would be a lot of fun and make them feel even more glamorous as they sing along to their favorite songs.
22. Moon Sand
My girls received bags of moon sand a few years ago and had a ton of fun with it. Heck, even I got involved, squishing the sand between my fingers. When I learned how easy it was to make though, I just had to recreate it for myself.
It was pretty well true to what we had bought. So fun and yes, you can still see me squishing the sand through my fingers!
The full tutorial can be found over at Lesson Learnt Journal.
23. Spinning Nerf Target
Here's a fun one that even adults will want to play. I mean, they already do, don't they? The only difference is instead of shooting the target with a nerf gun, they shoot with a bullet style gun.
Obviously, the way this is created is a bit different (and much lighter), but the concept is the same.
So this is a game, created by our friend over at Frugal Fun for Boys, that will grow with them!
24. Fizzy Drinks
After they've had all the fun they can muster, they will probably be ready for a treat. This fizzy lemonade made over at Learn with Play at Home is a fun idea to keep their minds active and quench their thirst all at the same time. Just be sure to follow the recipe!
Concluding Sanity Saving Winter Indoor Activities
I know it won't be long before we are all aching for the cool, but warmer, days of spring. Until then, I hope these ideas keep you and your little ones active enough to break the winter blues cycle!