When winter hits, it can open up a whole new world for kids and families to explore. From fun winter-themed activities you can do indoors to games you can only do when the snow hits the ground, this season can be just as exciting as any other for families. Some simple ideas are all it takes to be inspired and keep your little ones entertained this winter.
Easy Indoor Winter Activities for Kids
Whether it's winter break and the weather is not cooperating, or your kiddos are tired of playing outside, there are lots of different winter themed-games and activities to do inside.
Create Salt Snow Art
Salt snow art can be a pretty and fun rendition of nature's beauty. Help little kids or have older kids cut a snowflake out of construction paper. (They can also create another winter-themed item like a hat or mitten). Once they've cut out their creation, draw a border with glue. Sprinkle the glue with a thick layer of kosher salt, shake away the excess, and let it dry for a 3-D effect.
Try Marshmallow Snowman Stacking
Marshmallows are a fan favorite in most homes, so you probably have them on hand when it's too cold to go outside. Rather than putting them in hot chocolate, use food coloring to make faces on them. Have your kids stack them up to see who can make the tallest marshmallow snowman stack. (This will work best with oversize campfire marshmallows). Set a timer and let kids race against the clock to see who can create a stack in the shortest amount of time, or see how long the stacks can stand up without falling. Then you can enjoy a bit of hot cocoa together or just eat them for a sweet treat.
Make a Snowstorm in a Jar
Get a little nerdy with your indoor winter fun and create a snowstorm in a jar experiment. Fill a mason jar about half full with oil. Mix a small amount of white paint with about a quarter cup of water (and glitter if you wish). Crumble up an Alka Seltzer tab into the jar, put the lid on, and swirl around to create a "snowstorm" in a jar for your kids to watch. The effect lasts under a minute - but you can continue to repeat the experiment and talk about what causes the reaction too.
Design a Q-Tip Snowflake
All you need for this activity are Q-Tips, glue, and paper. Hand the kids the glue and Q-Tips and let them design a snowflake. They can cut the tips and glue them in a unique design to make a beautiful and creative craft. Add glitter or sequins to make them sparkle even more.
Design a Snowman House (and Other Prompts)
Get kids inspired with winter-themed drawing and writing prompts. For example, ask them what kind of house they think a snowman would live in, and have them draw and color it. Or ask where a snowman might go on vacation and ask them to write a story or journal entry about the trip. Use favorite winter themes and activities to inspire their art and stories with some creative prompts.
Paint an Ice Castle
Just because the weather isn't cooperating for outdoor winter play, doesn't mean you can't bring a little winter inside. Fill a sandcastle bucket with water. Allow it to freeze overnight. Pop it out and have kids paint it with watercolors or food coloring. Put the castle or other ice creation on a tray or baking sheet to keep water from dripping onto the table or floor.
Create a Crafty Snowman
Creating snowmen crafts is a great indoor winter activity, and there are lots of simple ways to do it. One way that makes a crafty keepsake is to cut two snowman shapes out of felt and help kids decorate the front of their snowmen by hot gluing buttons, ribbon scarfs, and other decorations to the front. When they're done, stuff with cotton and sew the two pieces together. After an afternoon of fun, they'll have a little winter toy to play with.
Try an Indoor Snowball Sock Toss or Fight
You can't play with real snowballs indoors, but you can create some simple stand-ins for some winter fun. Ball up some old socks or use scrap paper to make faux snowballs. Have the kids stand opposite of each other and see how many "snowballs" they can get into a bucket or inside a Hula hoop laying on the ground. The person with most "snowballs" inside the bucket or hoop wins.
Or, use your fake snowballs to have an indoor family snowball fight. Create a clothes basket barrier and have family members go on opposite sides of the room with the same number of "snowballs." Whichever side has the most snowballs across the barrier at the end of the designated time wins! But everyone can share in the hot cocoa when it's over.
Try a Simple Snowball Scoop Game
Fill a bowl with cotton balls. Give kids a plastic spoon and have them work to move their snowballs from one container to another by holding the spoon in their mouths. No hands allowed. You can have kids (or kids and parents) race against one another or just try to set their best personal time.
Have Ice Races or Create a Toy Ice Rink
If you have a few little kids you want to give a fun wintery twist to their playtime, fill a sheet pan with water and let it freeze. Put a few plastic figurines' feet in ice trays (use clothespins to hold them up). Pull out the frozen "pond" and have the kids race their figurines on the ice. You can also let kids create a frozen ice-skating pretend world by letting them affix their favorite characters to the temporary "pond" with Playdoh or clay to create their own scene.
Have a Shake-Out-the-Snowballs Competition
Just because the kids are cooped up doesn't mean they need to stay still. Get them moving and that energy out! Take an empty Kleenex box and strap it to their waist with masking tape. Fill the box with cotton balls, paper wads, or other types of "snowballs." Have the kids work to shake them out.
Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids to Try
All the typical winter activities like sledding, snowboarding, snowman building, and creating a snow fort are tons of fun, but you can always keep the outdoor activities rolling by adding a few new ones to your list!
Create an Exploding Snowman
Destruction will have your older kids giggling in glee. Give your kiddos a plastic bag to decorate like a snowman. Wrap three teaspoons of baking soda in a paper towel and put it in the plastic bag. Take the bag outside and add two cups of white vinegar, then seal it up and wait for the reaction! Kids love it!
@laynahrose Such an awesome and simple science activity! Even my husband enjoyed it with us :) ##WinterScience##ChristmasScience##ChristmasActivities##WinterActivities##ScienceForKids##ScienceExperiment##ExplodingSnowman##Snowman##ActivitiesForKids##easytoddleractivity ♬ Holiday Cheer - Sam Kearney
Go Snowball Bowling
If you have plenty of snow outside and the temperature's not too frigid, bundle up for some snowball bowling. Use recycled materials to make the "pins." These can be old toilet paper rolls, water bottles, two-liter soda bottles or anything else you wish. Let kids decorate them if they want, and then take them outside and let them throw or roll snowballs at them to knock them down.
Create Messages Using Glow Sticks Under Snow
Just because it gets dark earlier in the winter doesn't mean the fun ends. Bundle up the kids then grab some glow sticks and take them out into the yard. Have them create messages under the snow with the glow sticks. You can also do this during the day and read them at night.
Build a Snow Monster or Crazy-Colored Snowman
Snowmen have all the fun in winter. Just look at Olaf! Well, it's time to create a snow monster or a crazy snowman. Build your snow monster or snowman. Once your creation is finished, paint it with different colors by using washable paint, or to get even more active for older kids, by blasting it with colored water in squirt guns. You can have a fun, colorful snow monster or a ghoulish one!
Create an Igloo for a Fairy
Creating a life-size igloo is a lot of work, but the fairy folk need a shelter during the winter too. Have your kids go out and create a small little snow igloo for a fairy. They might also create other fairy decorations in the snow.
Compete in Sled Races
Grab a sled, rope, and your competitive edge. Have two kids sit on the sled, while the other kid pulls them to the designated end. You can either time how fast they go or race against each other. Have them switch it up each time so everyone gets fun on the sled.
Make a Frozen Suncatcher
Collect different winter flowers, sticks, pinecones, or other natural items. Put them in a round pan in the shape you want them as decorations for your dream catcher. Add a bit of string so you can hang it up. Fill the pan with water. Allow it to freeze solid. Hang it outside your window, so it can catch your dreams until it melts.
Write Snow Messages
Snow messages are super simple, but a lot of kids don't think of it when they are playing in the snow. Grab a stick and write messages to each other in the snow. You can also give it a fun twist by adding colored water to a squirt gun and using the gun to write messages in the snow.
Go Winter Word Hunting
On a nice snowy day, older kids love to spend the day exploring and playing. Create a sheet full of different winter words like snowman, hat, gloves, sled, pine tree, ice, scarf, snowflake, etc. Give them the list, a camera or cell phone with a camera, and have them go around until they find and snap a picture of all the different items on the list. When the scavenger hunt is over, they can warm up with cookies and cocoa inside.
Have a Penguin Race
It's easier to waddle like a penguin when you're wearing snow pants. Grab a partner and have a penguin race. Draw start and finish lines in the snow. Instruct kids to keep their arms at their sides and only waddle to the finish line.
Paint a Snow Angel
Litter your yard with colorful snow angels for your whole neighborhood to enjoy. Have your kiddos create several snow angels. Give them cups with water colored with food coloring. Have them "paint" their snow angels in different colors.
Find the Yeti
Get a small plastic yeti and bury it in the snow. Make "Yeti" (snow boots) prints in different paths around your yard. Only one of them leads to the yeti. At the end of each trail, they must dig until they find the yeti.
Play Snowball Freeze Tag
It's just like it sounds. Combine snowballs and tag. You have an "it" person with snowballs. They need to hit each player with a snowball to freeze them. Once everyone is frozen, the last person frozen becomes the next "it" person.
Make a Snow Village
It's just like a day at the beach, but with snow pants and frozen temps. Pull out the sandcastle bucket, snowman cookie molds, and shovels. Shovel the snow into the molds and create your own little snow village, complete with castle.
Create Ice Art
Maybe you've seen on TikTok how people create colorful frozen globes using water balloons. Well, your kids can create ice art the same way. Fill several balloons with water and add food coloring to them. Allow them to freeze completely. Carefully, pull off the rubber and have the kids use them to create fun snow art.
Fun Winter Games and Activities to Keep Kids Moving
Kids and families can have lots of fun in winter by trying a few simple and creative activities. Keep kids of all ages entertained and active with a new activity or game inside or out in the snow. By exploring some different ideas, you can keep the winter blahs at bay and help everyone stay moving and learning all winter long.