Winter is here, which means it’s time for snowball fights, sledding, and snowmen! We asked HOMER’s learning experts to give us some fun and educational indoor winter kids activities to use when the weather outside is frightening.
If you’ve been struggling to keep your kids entertained while they’re indoors, this article is for you. Keep reading for some inside ideas that are guaranteed to bust boredom and burn off extra energy!
What Makes A Good Indoor Winter Activity For Kids?
Uses Available Resources
When looking for exciting winter kids activities, you may think that you have to spend a lot of money on the right supplies.
Sure, you can pay as much as you want. But, as you’ll see from our list below, you can do plenty with the resources you already have in and around your home.
Be creative! Turn dining room chairs into an indoor tunnel. Make a bin of old clothing that your children can turn into interesting costumes. When you offer the opportunity for children to think outside the box, you allow their creativity to explode.
Offers Kids A Fun Learning Opportunity
When most people think of fun games and activities for kids, they usually don’t see them as a learning opportunity. However, if you follow our blog, you’ll know that we’re huge advocates of combining education and fun for children.
But where do you start? Research shows that children learn best when they participate in activities that are fun and relevant to their interests, lives, and experiences. So always keep this in mind when choosing activities for your kids.
9 Winter Kids Activities To Beat Boredom Today
1)Have a Snowball Fight
If you’re looking for an indoor winter activity that can involve the whole family and burn off extra energy, try a snowball fight! If your kids are ready to play rule-based games, divide up into teams, set a time, and follow these rules.
Make the Snowballs
Find some paper that you are going to recycle and scrunch it up into balls — this is great for building fine motor skills.
Set the Playing Field
This game is quite active, so you might want to clear some space for running around. If you are playing in teams, divide the room into two using tape.
If there are several of you, divide up into two teams — parents vs. kids is always a great way to go!
Start the Snowball Fight!
If your kids aren’t ready for rule-based games, have fun throwing paper snowballs at each other and running around the room. If your kids are old enough to understand rules, divide the snowballs up evenly between the teams and set a timer.
Whichever team has the least snowballs on their side when the timer goes off, wins!
2) Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
Using snow and ice to create sensory activities is a fun way to enjoy winter without risking sniffles.
Keep it Simple
Take some snow from outdoors, put it on a cookie sheet, and let your child play with the snow to engage their sense of touch.
Add Some Color
An easy way to get your child to pay attention to what they are seeing is to incorporate snow “painting” into the activity. Fill sauce or spray bottles with water and a few drops of food dye, and let your child show off their creativity.
For younger kids, squeezing the bottles or the spray triggers helps them practice fine motor skills.
Bring the Whole Thing to Life
Use pipe cleaners, small sticks, buttons, and baby carrots to make mini snowmen.There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but we can imagine a lot of kids will be making their own mini Olafs!
3) Control The Seasons: Go From Winter To Summer
There are many ways to build storytelling skills, but a diorama about winter and summer is a classic way to introduce your child to the ideas of the changing seasons, build fine motor skills, and build their vocabulary.
This activity might take a few days to complete, so it’s great for a weekend when you’re stuck indoors.
Create the World
Take a shoebox and turn it on its side. Then, gather some small blocks to represent houses and small toy people and animals to act as characters in your winter wonderland.
Winter is Here
Fill the bottom of the shoe box with cotton so it looks like snow. Then put the block houses and characters into the scene. You can even get some confectioners sugar or flour to sprinkle over the world so it looks like it’s snowing.
Add some Winter Fun
Build up the winter scene by making a snow family from white cardboard circles. Once you’re ready, your child can play with their characters to really make the scene come alive!
They can make it extra festive by having their characters drive to their friends’ houses for holiday fun.
Switch Over To Summer!
Make a second diorama showing a summer scene. Instead of cotton for snow, use flowers and greenery to decorate the scene.
Then, get your characters to do summer activities. For example, you could fold tea towels to make picnic rugs and take your characters on an “outdoor” picnic.
Compare and Contrast
As you make the summer diorama, compare it to the winter one. For example, you and your child can talk about winter fun vs. summer fun: how are they different? And how are they alike?
This kind of conversation encourages kids to compare and contrast, which is a great way to learn new things!
4) Stuffed Toy Sleigh Ride
This imaginative role-play activity builds creativity and imagination, and it gives kids the chance to be the “adult” taking care of their stuffed toy sledders.
Make the Sleigh
Give your child a wicker basket or cardboard box (a shoebox will do nicely) to make their sleigh. Put two holes in one side and run a strong string through the holes to make a pull-cord for the sleigh.
If your child wants to make it extra special, they can decorate it with drawings or stickers.
Take the Toys for a Ride
Using things around the house, help your child build a sleigh ride for their toys. You could use pillows or cushions to create a hill, and you could even use cotton balls at the bottom of the hill for the sledders to use as snowballs.
As they take their toys on a sleigh ride, you could sing a song together — if you want a break from “Let it Go,” try Jingle Bells!
As your child is taking their toys on their sleigh ride, you can help them think about what their toys might be experiencing.
For example, you could use some towels to make the bottom of the sled soft and to keep the toys warm. If a toy falls out of the sled, you could suggest that it needs to be comforted.
5) Make A Snowman…That You Can Eat!
This tasty activity builds fine motor skills and imagination and helps your child learn size order and size vocabulary…and did we mention that it’s tasty?
Build the Body
Get a bowl to serve as the home of your snowman, and then scoop vanilla ice cream into the bowl, making three balls: a large one for the bottom, a medium-sized one for the middle, and a small one for the top.
But hurry; you don’t want the snowman to melt!
Decorate the Snowman
Once you have the shape of a snowman, start decorating! Cheerios can be eyes, other cereals could be buttons, a small apple slice would make a good mouth, and of course, you’d use the traditional carrot nose.
As you make the snowman, use size language like “small,” “smaller,” and “smallest,” “biggest,” or “big,” “bigger,” and “biggest.”
6) Create A Kiddie Pool Ball Pit
Who said that swimming is only for summer?
For this activity, all you’ll need is a kiddie pool (which might be collecting dust in the garage this time of year) and lots of multi-colored plastic balls. Throw the balls into the pool and let the “swimming” fun begin.
Tip: If you don’t have a kiddie pool or enough plastic balls, you can always use whatever is available, like a large cardboard box and balled-up socks.
Help Them Use Their Energy
If your child is like most, they probably have lots of energy. This energy comes in handy most days because they’re often willing to participate in fun activities. But, on more relaxed days, their little vivacious spirits can be a challenge.
Making an indoor pool is one activity that will help keep children engaged and entertained for many hours.
If your child is learning colors, with all the colorful plastic balls in their “pool,” this is a great chance to help them continue practicing.
Sometimes kids can resist learning if they feel like they’re being assessed. The great thing about this route is that it won’t feel like a test they have to pass but, rather, a conversation about all the interesting colors around them.
Throw me the yellow ball. Can you find eight purple balls for me? I really like orange. Can you hand me some orange balls?
Remember to correct them when necessary, and if they get tired or frustrated, you can ditch the questioning for now and allow them to enjoy themselves.
Explore The Ocean
Your child’s kiddie pool (or box or bin!) doesn’t have to stay a swimming pool forever. After playing for a while, they may no longer be interested in their plastic balls. If this happens, why not help them turn it into an ocean?
All you have to do is toss random items into their pool and encourage your child to find them. This way, they are explorers on a mission to find long-lost items at sea.
That truck has been lost at sea for many years, and you’ve just found it! Did you just discover the little mermaid? That castle sure looks like it could be from the long-lost city of Atlantis.
7) Create A Snow Globe
Snow globes are pretty cool, right? They are adorable, make a great holiday gift, and they have a magical quality that enamors children.
To get started, you’ll need a few supplies: a mason jar, glitter, super glue, glue gun, and small plastic figurines (e.g., a snowman, an elf, or any other relevant figures of the winter season).
For your mason jar, it’s best to choose one that has a seal inside the lid (e.g., jars for jelly and preserves). This way, when you tighten the cap, you won’t have to worry about potential leaking.
Next, secure your plastic figurines on the inside of the lid with super glue. Note: Parents will need to do this bit to ensure safety.
While you’re waiting for the glue to set, proceed to fill the jar (almost to the top) with water. Then, add your glitter and stir.
Once the plastic figurines are secured to the lid, run a ring of glue (with your glue gun) around the inside of the lid, and then immediately close the jar and tighten it the best you can.
Turn it upside down, and just like that, you have yourself a snow globe.
Hands-on learning activities are essential for children’s growth and development. They can strengthen fine motor skills, encourage creativity, and teach children new skills.
Creating a snow globe is an activity that allows your child to use their hands and engage with the different materials. And, if you have multiple children, everyone can have their own, unique globe.
8) Bake Together
If there’s one thing most people love about the winter, it’s all the delicious cookies and treats. A warm kitchen permeated with the smell of freshly baked cookies…nothing makes winter more wonderful!
So, if you love baking as much as we do, consider baking as a family and encourage your child to join in the fun. We have an old favorite sugar cookie recipe to get you started. Feel free to copy the detailed instructions. You won’t regret it!
Baking can help your child learn many essential skills. For example, they can learn about measurements, an important aspect of early childhood math.
Measurements can be challenging for children to grasp. You can help them learn these concepts by using relevant language while baking.
I’m going to add a dash of salt because I don’t want too much. Let’s grab that cup to help us measure the flour. We need half a teaspoon of salt.
In addition, children can learn some letters of the alphabet or numbers with the aid of cutters. Once you’ve rolled out your dough, encourage them to create specific cutouts.
Let’s see if we can create cookies that spell out your name. How about we cut cookie shapes from one to five?
9) Indoor Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are a unique physical activity that encourage problem-solving, creativity, and, of course, lots of fun.
To create your own, look at the everyday items you already have around the house and build the course around them.
For example, if you have painter’s tape, place a long strip on the floor and in a matter of seconds, you have a balance beam. You can also line up books on the floor and create a maze.
You can even place some dining room chairs a few feet apart, and your child can go over and under to reach the other side. Basically, every movable item around the house can be added to the obstacle course.
When kids are having lots of fun, safety is often the last thing on their minds. As a parent, your primary role will be to ensure that no one gets hurt. This might mean adding a few blankets, pillows, or cushions in strategic places.
Help Them Tap Into Their Imaginations
When you plan the obstacle course with your child, get them excited by encouraging them to see the items from another perspective.
We’ll place this blanket here, and this will be our lake. You’ll need to “swim” across this lake and make it to the other side. We need to create a long tunnel. Do you think the chairs or the table can help with that?
This is a great activity to get the whole family involved. And for a more challenging game, you can even time everyone to see who can get through the course the fastest.
Let The Games Begin!
While many people love winter, one of the most frustrating parts is that we’re often stuck indoors without much to do. As parents, we know how challenging this can be.
Fortunately, with a little imagination and maybe some internet searches, there’s a host of winter kids activities to keep children of all ages entertained for hours on end.
The activities above are some of our favorites because they offer plenty of learning opportunities and are lots of fun, too!
And, on a relaxed day, when you don’t have much time to put together resources to keep your child entertained, you can opt for the HOMER Learn & Grow app, which is filled with fun and educational activities for your young learner.