5 Winter Weather Activities to do with Kids

It’s the dead of winter, the kids are antsy, and vitamin D is hard to come by.  What’s a mama to do?  When we find ourselves stuck in the house for days on end while the wind howls outside and the temperature drops to obscene numbers, I find myself desperate for things to keep the kids occupied.

You’ve been there, right?

Here are some of our favorite winter weather activities to do with kids.

5 Winter Weather Activities to do with Kids

1) Build a fort. The kids love to gather the throw pillows from both of our couches (this totals 11) and I allow them to use a few of the quilts from the guest closet, and they build the biggest, bestest fort EVER.


Time spent: 60 minutes.  After that, it’s downhill all the way.  Once the fighting commences, it’s time to move to activity #2.

2) Make paper snowflakes. This is MESSY but it’s easy to clean up, and my kids love it.  We just take white paper and make paper snowflakes — you know, the kind you made in elementary school.

I wish I could tell you we hang them around the house and enjoy them, but they usually end up in the trash.  Did I ever mention that I hate clutter?  Yeah, I thought so.  But it’s a great way to pass some time, and it’s fabulous for their fine motor skills.  It also teaches symmetry.  Here is a simple set of instructions for making paper snowflakes.

Time spent: 30 minutes.

3) Make a play house. I am amazed at the amount of time my girls can spend making large cardboard mailing boxes into a work of art.  I give them the box, a bag of markers, a pair of scissors (I’m on hand to help if need be) and they go to town.


Time spent: hours and hours.

4) Cooking show! The kids love to pretend they are on a cooking show.  If I have bread or granola to make, I let them help me.  Or we will make a batch of cookies.  I get out my Flip cam and take video footage of them baking and telling me what they are doing.  They love to channel their inner Ina, and it helps keep them from fighting or destroying the house when I have cooking to do.

Time spent: 30 minutes or so.

5) Games. This idea isn’t exactly original, but it’s one of our faves.  We love Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders, Uno Attack, and Othello.

Time spent: 30-45 minutes, depending on the age and attention span of your children.

And when all else fails?



I would love to hear your winter fun ideas. I’m always looking for constructive ways to keep the kids occupied and off of the TV and computer.

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56 Responses

  1. Since I have a 3yo full of energy little boy who loves to play Incredible Hulk every chance he gets, I drag him to the local McDonald’s playground & let him go.
    I bring a book & he runs off some excess energy.
    It’s a win-win situation for us.

  2. We unroll left over wrapping paper and make murals that they can hang up in their room, or along the hallway (till daddy can get home and see it)

    Or they put on makeup (cheap stuff they got for Christmas… they ain’t wearing my MaryKay) and get dressed up in costumes or their nice dresses and I’ll take pics, like a fashion show.

  3. You won’t like my winter fun ideas…but we head outside. Here in Southeast GA, winter is about the only time there’s no humidity or bugs so we take full advantage of it. Proof? We went to the beach last weekend. I know..I’m getting off your blog now 😉

  4. One thing my older two like to do is write and illustrate their own books. This can be done individually or as a family. One can write, one can illustrate or we can all take turns. Sometimes, James and I will even join in and it makes for a fun and unique family night. It’s neat to see the different levels the kids are at, both in drawing and in story-telling skills. My 7 year old likes to write and illustrate in comic book style and my five year old likes to do the traditional Dick and Jane style.

  5. I have a 3 and 5 year old. They LOVE to have dance parties. We crank up music and dance around all crazy. I also use familyfun.com to get ideas too. There are usually plenty of crafts, baking, and indoor fun to do in the winter.

  6. This might be more fun for your girls rather than your son, but I LOVED playing dress up as a kid. I had a bunch of old funky bridesmaid dresses from the 80s (I think they were my mom’s and my aunt’s dresses), and I would get dressed in them and do my hair and makeup in crazy ways. I would put on chunky necklaces from the 80s as well and pretend I was some sort of princess or something (lol). I also had a bunch of old scarves from my grandma that I would dress up in. So if you have any old clothes like that, it might be fun for them to dress up. I had a very vivid imagination, so it worked for me.

    Also, when I was babysat as a kid, one of my babysitters let us pick out a puzzle. We would then complete the puzzle, and she got us that puzzle glue and helped us glue the puzzle to a large sheet of thick paper, then frame it. I always thought it was cool to see the picture that I formed out of a puzzle in a frame. That might be kind of messy, though. 🙂

    Hmm.. what else. When I was in grade school, we had a “book club” type of thing where we had to read so many books and we received free pizza from wherever. You could do a version of that with your kids if you’re wanting to keep them off the computer and TV more. Maybe you could take them to the library and let them select a few books to read, then once they complete reading the books, you could provide them with a little incentive. 🙂

    Hope that helps!

  7. My little ones are 2 1/2 and 7 months old so we still struggle sometimes to stay occupied all day long 🙂 Sugar loves to boss her little brother around. She also plays music, gets her pots and pans out and “cooks”. We play ring-around-the-rosie, I let her jump on my bed and we scatter birdseed outside so that we can watch the birds from the living room window. The best boredom buster around here though is to load up and go over to Auntie’s house as soon as the cousins finish their schoolwork for the day and let all the kids play together!

    Oh and for the record… I’m not liking Tiffany very much right now either 🙂

  8. Pets!! Ethan loves to lock the dog in his room and just play. Sometimes the dog chews on his toys, but it is also incentive to Ethan to pick them up!!!

  9. When my oldest 3 were little, they would invent plays with their stuffed animals as the main characters. Since my bed has a high footboard, I would lie in bed, and they would “present” their play while sitting on the floor of the bed, holding their animals above the edge of the footboard. My oldest son would direct the action, and they came up with some hysterical stories 🙂

  10. We bake something we’ve never made before.

    We also let the pets, which are normally outside pets, in side an dspoil them. The cats even let the girls dress them up.

    We do the bathing suit/picnic too.

  11. For the Drama Queen who is 7 we put on a concert. She got the Hannah Montanna wig, guitar, cloths and head set mic for Christmas. So we throw on a HM cd and turn it down and she comes out in full HM gear and gives whoever is here a full blown concert. This never gets old and will last as long as the cd does.

    We also make edible Play Clay. And use my cookie cutters to make food for a picnic. We use shredded carrots, brown sugar, berries and etc to decorate with. For examle we use some of the kids play set kitchen dishes make mini blue berry pies, hamburgers, pizzas an so forth. Then we have a mock picnic. It is great because they love snacking on the food items and if they eat the clay (which is going to happen with a two year old) its not going to hurt them.

  12. We play intense games of hide and seek, play dough (which can keep my two entertained for at least an hour), picnics on the floor, dance parties, projects where we cut out things that we like from magazines and then glue them onto construction paper, and of course lots of coloring.

    Also (and this may sound weird), my two love to clean. So I’ll give one a vacuum and the other a dust buster and they go crazy!

  13. We use to make a store. Canned goods, boxes, anything non perishable. We set it up like a store and I let them use real money to but things. I even let them put stickers on them with made up prices. Adjust as age permits. (Shopping carts and baskets as available).

  14. An oldie but goodie…coloring. Although it still gets frigid here in North Carolina, like Tiffany, we still head outside. Lots of layers of clothes for the body and a layer of Aquaphor to protect those little cheeks, and we run and play as though it’s warm outside. Thankfully this week it’s been in the 60s!

  15. Fun stuff – and I’ve witnessed the fights, not pretty.

    Down here we have picnic lunches or dinners in the family room. I lay out a blanket, turn on the fire place and make food we don’t normally eat – like burgers, fries and milk shakes. And its a treat for the kids to eat where they are never allowed to. We then snuggle up and watch a movie or break out the games. After which the fights break out too! Fun times indeed!

  16. When I had little ones one of the most FUN things we ever did was have SNOW DAY inside (we live in texas!)….I poured out boxes of packing peanuts and those kids played in them for over an hour! (closely supervised) they threw them in the air..kicked that stuff around and generally had a FUN time, they enjoyed the boxes too!

    After we cleaned that up we got out the SHAVING CREAM! We squirted it on the play table and they finger painted in it till their little hearts content, and added bonus is that this cleans your tables!

    Next we got out some blue paper and white paint and made snow pictures. Older kids could cut out snowflakes. You can also use the paint with sponges to make snow pictures. If you are really adventurous white glitter is a nice addition.

    We had lots of fun on that day. The pictures I took are priceless!

  17. Sounds like fun! I remember fort making and cardboard houses too, lol. Well, our winter has warmed up to 70, so I don’t think any ideas I have would be much help, LOL.

  18. We get out all the Little People we’ve saved (that fit nicely in a storage box) and set up a town. Decorate brown paper lunch bags and stand them up (up side down) to be the post office, grocery store, etc. Cut little holes for the doors and windows. The creativity is sparked and there’s not much of a mess.

    Okay, have to be honest; we only did this once for a winter activity but it ended up being an all-afternoon thing plus the next day. I’m pretty sure it happened when my husband was on a business trip.

    What a sweet giveaway!

  19. Here in the tundra that is Michigan, we brave the outdoors. We love to ski, sled and build forts and snowmen. This winter I would like to see if the family can handle ice skating too at the outdoor rink. Without breaking anything….

  20. My 5 kids (ages 3-10) love to put on a show. They spend hours planning, costuming, creating sets, rehearsing, and making posters to hang inviting their parents to their show. Sometimes they dance, sometimes they recite poetry, sometimes they write a play, sometimes they perform a play based on a book one or more of them has read. They are always spectacular!

  21. Here in the often wet Pacific Northwest, we bundle up, put on our boots, and brave the elements. For some reason the local parks are often empty so we’ll take the dog, some tennis balls (for the dog), and towels to wipe off swings/the big toy & go play. If it’s really too wet to go outside fingerpainting is a favorite activity. Bubble baths are another way I keep my 22 month old & almost 5 year old occupied. They love them! If we’re really wanting to get out and about one of our favorite things to do as a family during a long weekend is spend the day (or whole weekend) on the Oregon Coast. We just did that this past weekend! 🙂

  22. We love to play “Guesstures” as a family during the evening. Every single time, we end up in hysterics. In addition, we always have a jigsaw puzzle out on the table, which is a nice activity for one person or many people to do.

  23. I send them outside!! I think that they’re attitudes improve and the bickering lessens after they’ve had some fresh air and sunshine! I send them out with non-winter type things…..bubbles, a kitchen mixing bowl and large mixing spoon, plastic containers from yogurt or sour cream to build a fort…and their favorite – small spray bottles filled with colored water. Just mix water and a few drops of food coloring. Make sure to have at least one spray bottle per child to avoid outside bickering!

  24. Besides doing some of the same exact things Jo-Lynne mentioned, we get our kids playing games while creeping and crawling on the floor. Not only are they having fun but they are doing something significant for their brains! We enrolled our kids in a program called BrainHighways (www.brainhighways.com) back in September. To date they have clocked in 72 hours of floortime. We are sooo proud of their stamina (and ours)! The whole premise is to build highways in their brains which in turn helps them deal with life better (less meltdowns, better concentration, improved school skills, improving upon autistic symptoms). So anyways (after my plug for this great company 😉 we incorporate games into the at-home floortime. For example, my daughter loves “Good Light Bad Light” (her invention … which comes from a “Cars” cartoon “Mater’s Ghostlight”). The kids crawl on the floor and try to keep up with the flashlight that my husband or myself carry. If they slow down or stop crawling the “Bad” light sneaks up behind them and gets them. They try to not let that happen though and keep crawling (for 30 min per day!). It “is” fun and takes the drudgery out of it. Please check out the website.

  25. PLAY DOH!! And I can vividly remember making it homemade when I was little. I’m sure that would take 30 minutes or so and would be so much fun for the kids. The recipes are all over the internet 🙂

  26. We don’t have snow days down here in southwest Florida, but we do have days when we are stuck inside the house. Building forts have always been my kids favorite! They are allowed to take all the cushions off the bonus room sofas, use all the blankets and they have been known to ask for the blowup air matresses! BTW, my kids are 12 and 13, and they still like doing this!
    Thanks for the great giveaways.

  27. I still have toddlers so my best winter tip is the bathtub – I toss the boys in with a misc. collection of cars, people and animals PLUS their tub markers and I’ve just given myself an hour and a half of quiet time!

  28. We do indoor water play. I fill the tub or bathroom sink, put on her swimsuit and let her play! The floor gets wet but I probably needed to mop it anyway. If it is too cold I warm the room with a little space heater first and then turn it off but keep the door closed. It is good for at least an hour or until we turn into prunes!

  29. Since I have a two year old, my occupying ideas probably wouldn’t much interest your kids, but I have seen first hand how older kids can spend hours and hours jamming out with Rock Band at a friend’s house.

  30. we used to make “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers (easy to saw into the right shapes with a serrated knife), but for fun, we used peanut butter as mortar and pretzel chunks/sticks/twists(whatever we have on hand or is on sale!) as logs. it takes the better part of an day to finish. it’s fun, not christmas-y, and slightly healthier than a house decorated with candy!

    great giveaway, great hostess!

  31. My boys love love love building forts too. We have a wood floor basement so they spend a lot of time playing basketball, knee hockey etc.. I wish I had some good creative ideas. We also like playing board games like Sorry, Trouble & Monopoly. When they were younger we baked and decorated a lot of sugar cookies.

  32. hmmm nothing too great.. I do send them outside, I have two boys with lots of energy… so they go out bundled up for fresh air… games, puzzles and forts are big…. we bake things too..

  33. Building forts, playing games, and of course playing with the computer are some of my kids favorites too. I like the box idea. My son really wants to build a playhouse out of a refrigerator box. I told him I would try to get one for him.

    How about making cookies together? My kids love that too!

  34. Hide and seek is a favorite around here. We also do a lot of arts and crafts. And of course my daughter loves to dress up and perform 🙂

  35. our best kept secret is the zoo. they have lots of warm buildings (small animal house, reptile house, panda house…) and there are virtually no crowds. Our zoo is free (DC) so that helps! It’s almost stress-free with our younger toddler – he can run to his heart’s content and there is nothing dangerous in the way (including cars or anything breakable).

    Inside the home, we do most of the things mentioned above: build castles, play store, make creations with play doh and gak, soak in the tub, make granola bars, make our own books and cover them with self-laminating sheets (great for gifts) and invite other friends over!

  36. Playing Hide and Seek around the house when it is dark is one of our favourite games. (there has got to be some perks to it getting dark early) The person who is “it” has a torch or rechargable lantern.

  37. we turn up the volume on the jackson 5 album, get out the instruments and dance sing and play at full volume.

    we also find legos to be a good quiet and time consuming activity. each child has their own set but they also play all together…

  38. My kids love going to the library, playing with their puzzles, and then coming home with bags of “new” books! It keeps them entertained for days!

  39. We like to make playdough. The kids can't do the cooking part yet, but they can squeeze the ziploc bag to distribute the food coloring, and then I give them cookie cutters and they're entertained for at least a half hour!

  40. My girls will stay busy for HOURS when I fill one of those rectangular- plastic bins that slide under a bed with different things such as rice, dry beans, or sand. I am sure any kind of container would work, but I love this kind because it is long and flat making it easy for them to get around and not crowd each-other. I bought some of those plastic tubes that are filled with different tiny animal sets at A.C Moore. (They have so many different themes…artic, jungle, barnyard, dinosaurs etc….) and keep them put back to go along with it for rainy/snowy days. When I fill the bin up with something and get some of those animals out their imagination takes off for hours! One time I even filled the bin with ice to go along with the artic animals and that was a huge hit! I always put the bin on top of a plastic tarp so whatever spills out of the bin goes on to the tarp for super easy clean up.

  41. Although they are simple ideas…he (3 yrs old) will sit and read his books for about 30 minutes at a time. We always try to keep a stock of books in different rooms in the house so he can sit and read on his own or with one of us. Occasionally he’ll climb in the dog/cat bed and read. Another option in the evenings to keep him from the tv, is he’ll sit with his granddad and while granddad plays the piano they sing many Christmas songs, yes even though Christmas has been over for a month now. But it’ll occupy at least 30 minutes of his time and he can sing, dance, have fun and best of all…no tv involved.

  42. What fun ideas! I was always a big fan of the play fort as well, but it’s so true there reaches a point where it’s just DONE. We haven’t done a fort in awhile, will have to try that soon.

  43. I know I’m late to response to this; I’m a “late bloomer” to this blog!:) My girls always made forts and would spend hours playing in them. The living room was a mess, but they had so much fun. My brothers and I also did the same thing when we were kids, and it was the best time! My girls also would turn boxes into playhouses or puppet stages (with a small box) and spend all day making puppets out of socks, then rehearsing for the big show! I really miss all the fun now that they are too old for that stuff.

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