When the summer heat finally breaks, the last leaves fall, and the first flakes have fallen, it's thrilling. Holiday seasons are in full swing and everyone is happy--if not a little stressed. But when it all ends, the wrapping paper is thrown out, the fireworks have been shot, what are you left with? 3 more months of cold and slush. When you don't want your kids sitting in front of the tv or computer, it can be really exhausting to try to figure out what to do to help the dark, slow days pass by with purpose and fun. That's why this list of winter activities was created to help you keep your kids busy!
Indoor Winter Games
1. The Most Ultimate Nerf Battle
There's nothing quite like building forts and arming everyone with different Nerf weapons to the entire family and letting everyone play. Make sure you hide anything fragile though!
Learn more: Happy Mom Hacks
2. Nerf Targets
Maybe you don't feel like being shot at with foamy darts. That's fair. Instead, try setting up targets around the house. You can use water bottles, plastic or paper cups, paper plates, or anything else you might like. Whoever has the best aim wins!
Learn more: Happy Mom Hacks
Never underestimate the power of a good, old-fashioned game of cards, especially Uno. This game is super fun for travel & family game night, as well as for entertaining kids without having to put too much thought or planning into it. Just go on Amazon, order some cards, and you're ready to go!
Learn more: Household Management 101
4. Keep the Balloon Up
When the temperature dips into subzero temperatures, you might be craving an indoor game to keep you moving and warm. Nothing is simpler than blowing up a balloon, tossing it in the air, and yelling "go!"
Learn more: Kid Spot
5. Indoor Balance Beam
It's never too cold outside to practice your balance! Using painter's tape, create a line on the floor as long and as zig-zaggy as you please. Have your child see if they can walk the whole line. Then, have them do it backward, too. When they're done, tape a new line.
Learn more: Family Fun Twin Cities
6. Sock Hockey
If you love hockey, but you don't want to deal with the ice of the winter season, just play it indoors--with socks! Create goals with plastic laundry baskets, select a goalie, and use socks as pucks to throw around!
Learn more: Family Fun Twin Cities
This popular summer camp game is actually really easy to play indoors! Simply divide up the family into 2 teams, have each team hide their flag, and begin the hunt! The first team to capture the other's flag wins.
Learn more: Pivot
8. Fish Bow
Looking for something a little less active? Try Fish Bowl! Similar to charades, everyone writes down 3 nouns (person, place, or thing). All 3 of the nouns go in the bowl, then you split into 2 teams. The game is played in 3 rounds. A round is over when all the paper slips have been guessed. One player at a time goes up for 30 seconds and pulls a slip of paper out of the bowl, then their team has to guess what is on the paper. If they guess it before time runs out, that same player draws another slip and the process is repeated. At the end of the round, all the slips go back in and the next round begins. In the first round, they can use words to explain it. The second round only motions/movements. The third round is a single word. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the 3 rounds, wins!
Learn more: Fun Attic
9. Indoor Bowling
Using pins (or water bottles) and a ball, set up your own indoor bowling alley! This indoor activity is simple and easy fun for all. Simply keep score as you usually would and have fun!
Learn more: Preschool Toolkit
10. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
This next indoor activity can be as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it! Take vague pictures of or describe objects around your house and send the kids out to find them. Each household object provides a new clue for where to go next. The winner gets the prize at the end.
Learn more: Thirty Handmade Days
11. Domino Chain
There's nothing more satisfying than watching a giant domino chain reaction. While the winter season is in full swing, take the time to set one up. The longer it stretches, the better!
Learn more: Hevesh5
12. Rube Goldberg Machine
If your domino extravaganza isn't enough satisfaction for you, try spending your winter day building a Rube Goldberg machine! It doesn't have to be too involved, but it can be if you'd like it to be. If you have multiple kids to entertain, try making it a competition!
Learn more: Scout Life
13. Paper Airplane Contest
Gather lots of paper for this one! Have everyone make a few paper airplanes out of sheets of paper using different folding techniques. Then see whose can fly the furthest, the most accurate, or the highest!
Learn more: The Thinker Builder
Sometimes on a cold winter day, you really miss the fun activities of summer. The good news is, one of these activities is easily done inside, too! A bubble activity could be just what you need. Just get some containers of bubble solution or make your own with dish detergent and water in a metal dish. Dip a bubble stick in and blow!
Learn more: 23 Brilliant Bubble Activities for Kids
15. Mad Scientist "Bath"
Set up different cups and dishes in the bathtub, then let your kid pretend to be a mad scientist as he/she concocts all different soap/water ratios. Bubbles and kid giggles galore! If you plan ahead, you can even try bubble path potions!
Learn more: MrBubbleBubbleBath
16. Read a book
Never underestimate the power of sitting down and reading a book. Sometimes just the simplest activity can turn a dull snow day into an adventure. Plus, instilling a lifelong love of reading in kids starts when they're young!
Learn more: Scientific American Blog
17. Bathtub Snow
If you really get hit hard by the winter weather and find yourself with a large amount of fluffy, cold snow, try bringing it into you to enjoy this fun winter activity! Using buckets, fill your tub with snow then let yourselves scoop, mold, and build whatever you can think of. When you're done, let it all melt down the drain.
Learn more: Totally The Bomb
18. Indoor Snowman
Do you want to build a snowman? No, not really? Well, how about an indoor snowman instead of a regular snowman? This activity is simple! Just fill a metal pan (or even a shoebox) with corn starch and shaving cream until you have the right consistency, then build away!
Learn more: Modern Parents Messy Kids
19. Paper Snowflakes
If outside is cold, but lacking the "winter wonderland" look, make it yourself! You'll need scissors, white paper (LOTS of paper), and your hands. Fold the sheet of paper into a triangle three times, then cut along all of the sides. When you open it up, you should have a 5-inch paper snowflake with your unique artistic design! Hang them up to create a winter-themed wonderland!
Learn more: HGTV
20. Colored Water
Outdoor Winter Activities
1. Snow Angels
Once you've decided to put on your winter coat, snow boots, and scarf to venture out into the cold winter air, you might as well drop down and immerse yourself completely! Spread your arms and legs and pull them back into yourself to create some of the most magical snow angels.
Learn more: Time
2. Snow Candy
This outdoor snow activity will be the sweetest part of your day! Just heat up some pure maple syrup on the stove, then go outside and (making sure to use clean snow) pour strips of the hot syrup on your clean snow. Watch as it hardens into candy, then enjoy!
Learn more: Happy Hooligans
3. Build an igloo
If you've got a lot of snow for this snow day, you can easily build an igloo. This may seem difficult, but all you really need to do is mound up snow into a huge pile, then use a snow shovel to hollow it out (not too thin, though). Crawl on in!
Learn more: Your Modern Family
4. Colored Snow
Some outdoor snow games that are great for the color-enthusiasts in your life: painting snow. To do this, simply fill a spray bottle or two with water, add in food coloring, and spray your food-colored-tinted water on the snow to color it. Coloring ✓ Snow ✓happiness ✓
Learn more: Glued to my Crafts Blog
5. Snow Castle
Missing the beach? Ease the pain with a little snow castle building! It's the same concept as with sand, but you might want to wear gloves or your finger will get a little cold. Take it a step further and make it giant so kids can play in it!
Learn more: Chicago Parent
6. Biggest Snowball Contest
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Gather everyone up and see who can make the biggest snowball! Or work together to make something truly spectacular!
Learn more: The Backyard Gnome
Once you've rolled your giant snowballs, use them to help you out with one of the best snow activities of all time--building a snowman! Stack 3 balls of snow on top of each other, then add some sticks as arms, a scarf, a carrot nose, and a pebble face. Add a top hat if you've got one!
Learn more: Fun Boy
Another fun activity that you can do is sledding. All you need is a sled (or a flat metal pan or smooth trash can lid) and a hill. Have fun and be careful!
Learn more: Backyard Sidekick
9. Ice Skating
This can be done indoors or outdoors at a skating rink. If you go somewhere public, just rent some ice skates and put them on! Kids can often use traffic cones or skate walkers to help them stay up while they learn the basics. If skating on a lake, make sure it's solidly frozen all the way through.
Learn more: Today's Parent
10. Snowball Relay
11. Crystal Ball
Gather some heavy-duty balloons, food dye, and glitter (if you want). Drop a bit of food dye into the balloons, add the optional glitter, and fill the balloons with water. Be careful not to fill the balloons with water all the way! Set them outside in subzero temperatures or in the freezer. When they're solid, peel away the balloon.
Learn more: Exploratorium
12. Snow Maze
Shovel paths through the snow to create a maze. Your limit is how much land you have!
Learn more: Life with Moore Babies
13. Star Gazing
There's nothing crisper than a clear winter night. Grab some hot chocolate and find the winter constellations!
Learn more: Sunset
14. Ski or Snowboard
Learning is easiest when you're young! Get a cheap kid's snowboard or skis, and let your kids play on soft hills to practice the basic skills. Before you know it, you'll have a WinterKids Winter Games in your own backyard!
Learn more: Men's Journal
15. Snowball Surprise
Build up a snowball around small toys (or even puzzle pieces that can get a little wet). Have kids smash the snowballs to find them all! You can also use sheets of paper.
Learn more: Speckled Egg
16. DIY Ski Ball
Mound up snow on different levels and place buckets with black construction paper numbers on them on the snow. Then try to roll snowballs into the buckets!
Learn more: Everyday Dishes
17. Snow Obstacle Course
Using whatever you can find (hula hoops, sleds, balls, just mounds of snow) build an obstacle course! Have kids go through it forwards, backward, and however else you can think of!
Learn more: Paper Heart Family
Draw a tic-tac-toe board in the snow. Using pinecones and sticks, play the game on a large, kinesthetic board!
Learn more: Building Our Story
19. Frozen Bubbles
This bubble activity works best in subzero temperatures. Using containers of bubble solution, blow the bubble softly and let it freeze on the wand!
Learn more: Building Our Story