I hate winter. It’s cold, it’s long and my children have a tendency to get bored, bored, BORED. I am constantly on the hunt for fun new ways to keep them entertained through the winter months. Here are some of our favorite indoor activities, kid tested and mom approved.
Get crafty. This one’s easy. A pile of paper, markers, crayons, scissors and glue. You don’t need much to spark a kid’s creativity. We are also big fans of popsicle sticks, pom poms, buttons and stickers. Pinterest is a great resource for craft ideas, if you can manage to scroll past that super easy DIY living room redo, and resist attempting to recreate several deliciously sinful chocolate concoctions.
Play a board game (or invent your own!). Add a new twist to an old game by making your own rules before you begin. My kids love to create their own playing pieces to move around the board. For even more fun, cut up an old cardboard box, grab some markers, and make a game of your own.
Snuggle up with a good book. Grab a pile of picture books and dig in. Or make your way through a chapter book together. There are some fun snow themed books on this list, you could check out from the library.
Put on a show. Have your kids act out their favorite book or movie. Or get their creative juices flowing and have them write a story of their own. Gather costumes and props, make tickets and programs, put together refreshments for during or after the show. If you play it right, this can turn into an entire day of fun.
Stimulate their senses. My kids LOVE sensory play. We bring our water table indoors in the cold months and fill it with all sorts of fun and colorful things: beans, dry pasta, rocks, feathers. Anything that can be scooped, poured or stacked is always a hit with my kids. We like to give our table a theme, but I have seen them spend hours with rice, a measuring cup and an empty bottle. Don’t have a water table? A plastic storage bin works just as well, and allows you to keep little hands out when you’re through.
Set up an obstacle course. Climb over your dining room chairs. Crawl under the table. Grab some old pillows (or couch cushions if you’re feeling brave) and scatter them around the room. Hop from one to the next, but don’t touch the floor – it’s lava!
Hide something. Have an off season egg hunt. Stage an indoor scavenger hunt. “Bury” some treasure, make a map, and send your little pirates on their way.
Bring the outside inside. Too cold to go out? Bring your outside toys in. Push the furniture against the walls and race around on scooters, trikes, and big wheels. Unroll a large piece of paper (unused Christmas wrap, perhaps?) and let the kids draw with chalk on an indoor “sidewalk”. Use painters tape on the floor to make a hopscotch board, four square, or indoor race track. Play basketball with a laundry basket and a playground ball (but don’t forget to move your breakables first – because table lamps aren’t great at catching a pass).
Bake something together. It doesn’t have to be something sweet and sugary (although cookies are always a big hit with my kids). Have them plan a full meal, and then work together to make it happen. Even my two year old loves to help with this. She scoops and pours (with a little assistance) and shreds lettuce like a champ.
Make cleaning fun! Stay with me on this one. No, my kids do not like cleaning their bedrooms. Or the playroom. Or any room, really. What they do love is dusting with an old towel. And “washing” dishes in the kitchen sink. And pushing the vacuum around the house. Take advantage of the little things that they do enjoy, and let them do it. Fun for them, free time for you, and a (slightly) cleaner house. I call it a win.
There you have it, ten of our favorite indoor activities for those winter days when outside play is a no-go. How do you and your crew beat winter boredom? Share your favorites in the comments below!