While the white snow of winter may be picturesque, the cold temperatures have an unfortunate side effect for families. Falling temperatures and inclement weather make outdoor playtime difficult and even dangerous. Instead, kids are trapped inside for days with no outlet for their considerable energy.
But things don’t have to be this way! Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to entertain your kids indoors — they just take a little creativity. Here are 11 unique ideas to help you occupy your kids whenever it’s too cold to go outside.
1. Have a Fashion Show
Who says fancy clothes have to be reserved for fancy occasions? Take advantage of being inside and have your kids model all their cute dresses for little girls and cute boy clothes on a hallway-turned-catwalk while you pretend to be the paparazzi. (This is also a great way to see what doesn’t fit them anymore and needs to be handed down or donated.) For a twist, you can also let them raid mom’s and dad’s closets to play dress-up with adult clothes and shoes.
2. Bake Something Together
Baking is the quintessential cold-weather activity for both adults and kids alike. Choose a recipe that isn’t too difficult and that will appeal to kids. Cookies are a great hands-on option that are easy to make and to eat, but there are definitely other possibilities. Get your kids involved in as much of the process as possible, from measuring ingredients to cleaning the dishes afterwards.
3. Host Your Own Olympics
If you need an all-day activity to fill up a weekend or snow day, this is a great option. Devise indoor games that will promote some friendly competition between your kids, such as hopscotch and bean bag toss. You can act as the referee and declare a winner at the end of every game. Give them foil medals and create an awards podium out of a step stool to make it feel more realistic.
4. Build a Fort
When it’s cold outside, the best thing you can do is cuddle up together inside a blanket fort. Grab all your pillows, blankets and chairs and then spend as long as you’d like building the most epic indoor fort of all time (bonus points if you put up string lights!). To make your fort extra soft and cozy, use a luxurious blanket from Sew Sweet Minky Designs. Once the fort is to your liking, spend as long as you’d like snuggled up inside, telling stories and drinking hot cocoa.
5. Send Snail Mail
Handwritten mail is rare in the digital age, which is what makes it extra special. Grab some paper and pens and have your kids write letters to their loved ones. Grandparents and other relatives are excellent recipients. If your little ones are still working on their writing skills, you can make this activity more visual by having them draw images or make cards out of construction paper instead.
6. Put Together a Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles are available in difficulties for all ages and skill levels, not to mention they help build essential skills such as pattern recognition and hand-eye coordination. Choose a puzzle that will be challenging for your kids, but not so overwhelming that they will get frustrated and give up. If you have a big age spread, you might need an easier puzzle with big pieces with the little ones and a more difficult puzzle for the big kids.
7. Coordinate a Scavenger Hunt
This activity requires a bit of prep work, but scavenger hunts are a great way to liven up another day stuck indoors. You can make it as hard or as easy as you like, depending on how old your kids are and how much time you want to spend on this. Hide objects around the house and write up cryptic clues to give them a hint of where to look.
8. Camp Indoors
Who says that you can’t go camping when it’s cold outside? If you have the room indoors, simply pitch your tent inside instead of outside for the ultimate glamping experience. Have a sleepover together in the tent and make your favorite camping breakfast in the kitchen when you wake up. If you don’t have camping equipment, you can replicate this experience with the fort idea mentioned above.
9. Create a Puppet Theater
Making your own puppets and stage and then putting on a play is a sure way to make the entire day go by quickly. You can use cardboard for the stage and construction paper or fabric scraps for the puppets. This general idea can also be repurposed in other ways, such as making your own dollhouse or racetrack out of cardboard, if your children aren’t very enthused by the idea of puppets.
10. Make Your Own Storybook
Kids absolutely love picture books, so why not have them make their own, complete with artwork and images? They can collaborate on one book together or make their own individual books. If picture books are too easy for your older kids, you can have them work on an easy chapter book instead to exercise their verbal skills and make the activity feel more grown-up.
11. Have an at-home Spa Day
Do some self-care together as a family with an at-home spa day. Choose activities that you think your kids will like, whether that’s doing mud masks or taking a bubble bath or painting your toenails (or all of the above). Just make sure to read the ingredients of any products before putting them on your kids. Their skin is more sensitive to things such as harsh ingredients and fragrances and may have an allergic reaction.
If your kids are stuck inside and bored out of their minds, try one of these unique activities to keep them entertained when it’s cold outside! The whole day will pass before either of you realize it. Who knows? You might even start looking forward to snow days!