Once the excitement of Christmas is over, the long weeks of winter ahead seem never-ending. Whether it is the pouring rain, a snowstorm, or a polar vortex keeping you inside, you are bound to find yourself stuck trying to keep your little ones busy. Between school vacation, snow days, sick days and regular weekends, your kids may lose interest in their toys and get antsy before the winter is over.
If the thought of spending 45 minutes bundling up your children in warm clothes only to have them cry to come back inside after 10 minutes fills you with dread, here is a list of fun things you can do indoors to keep your family entertained during the long winter months.
Painting is a classic, but it’s usually a hit. It can get messy so make clean up easy by throwing an old shower liner under the table and have your kids wear an old shirt or painting frock over their clothes.
Keep it fun by ditching the regular paintbrushes and find new ways to paint: you can make your own stamps with potatoes, try household objects like the rim of a plastic cup, use your hands or just let your imagination go wild.
You can also try different supports like rocks, extra large pieces of paper (tape the back of them if you don’t have any readily available), old sheets, or print some coloring pages you can find on the internet for free.
Baking with your kids will not only keep them busy inside for a couple of hours, but it will also make snack time a breeze and, as a bonus, your house will smell delicious.
Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, or even homemade pizza are all choices that are popular with kids. Nobody will mind if you use a box mix to keep it easy. You can also decorate them for some added fun.
Play Dress Up
Kids love playing dress up. Whether it is old Halloween costumes, elaborate get-ups, random pieces of fabric, or some of those old-fashioned clothes you haven’t gotten around donating yet, keep it organized and accessible, and your kids will go wild.
Once everyone is ready in their most fanciful attire, invite their favorite toys for an elegant tea party or put on a show for the rest of the household!
Indoor obstacle course
Are you kids bouncing off the walls and in dire need of burning off some of that energy? Now is time to set up an epic indoor obstacle course to get some of those wiggles out.
You do not need any fancy equipment (although it certainly doesn’t hurt if you do): you probably have everything you need around the house.
Set up some stations that match the interests and physical abilities of your kids and put some high energy music on. You can even time it up for an added challenge. You can use painter tape or yarn to demarcate each area.
Depending on your house’s size and set up, you can do some classic “the floor is lava” games, crawl under chairs, build a maze with string, slalom around pillows, do jumping jacks or somersaults, dance and freeze… The only limit is your imagination.
Build a Fort
Kids and adults love forts. A table covered with a flat sheet makes for a simple starter fort, but you can add connecting rooms or tunnels, make it cozier with pillows and blankets… Once they understand the idea, your kids will take over.
A fort is also a great place to have a picnic at snack time or watch a movie. For a truly magical experience, dig out a LED lights garland from your holiday decorations.
Sensory play is a great way to keep young children and babies busy inside on a cold day. Just fill a bin or a box with something they might like to explore and throw in a couple of toys for good measure. You can keep it simple with water, or try something different with shaving cream, dry beans or pasta, corn meal, etc.
A fun way to bring some outdoor play inside without having to deal with the frigid weather or the endless layers of clothing is to bring in a bucket of snow inside and let your youngest ones explore from the warmth and comfort of their home.
Keep in mind that sensory play can quickly get messy. If you are not looking forward to cleaning up, just set up camp in the bathtub.
Watch a Movie
Sometimes, the simplest things are also the ones that work best. Make watching a movie an exceptional experience by setting camp in the living room (or in that fort you built earlier), make some popcorn, dim the lights, and cuddle up in front of one of your favorite kid-friendly movies.