Winter can be an exciting season for kids, from sledding with friends to building a good old-fashioned snowman with the family. But colder temperatures and unforgiving rain or snow mean indoor activities take on new importance to keep antsy kids from bouncing off the walls.
It can be difficult to entertain your kids week after week when you’re stuck indoors. With a little creativity and planning, your family can enjoy a busy, happy and even educational few months until the first signs of spring peek through. Here are 10 ideas to send you on your way to a fun-filled winter inside.
1. Embark on a Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt
Everyday objects turn to gold when they’re prizes to be won. Organize an at-home treasure hunt, where your little players follow a series of clues that leads them to the end. Or try a scavenger hunt, which gives them a list of things to find in a fixed amount of time. Whoever finds all items first wins! Both the clues and the prize can be anything around the house, like stickers, their favorite snack and a $10 bill. And, all the scavenging will keep your kids moving while indoors.
2. Make a Time Capsule
A snapshot of the present becomes a glimpse into the past with a time capsule brimming with your family’s favorite things. Fill a lunchbox or another small, secure container with everything from toys and books to recipes and photos. Bury or tuck it away, and have the family decide together when to unearth it—could be one year from now, could be a decade.
3. Learn an Instrument
Thanks to YouTube and other resources on the web, kids no longer need private lessons to pick up a new instrument. Don’t own a grand piano or guitar? That’s OK. Start with a small electric keyboard, a kid’s guitar or a made-at-home drum, and go from there.
4. Become a Scientist
Just a few store-bought ingredients are all it takes for an afternoon of fun—and learning. Make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar, mix up Play Dough and customize with glitter or food coloring or use shaving foam and water to whip up a rain cloud.
5. Cozy Up for a Book and Movie Night
Get out the projector, move the furniture aside and build the comfiest theater ever—think sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and pajamas. Instead of just watching a movie, though, choose a kid-friendly flick that’s based on a book. Read the story together, watch the movie and discuss the ways in which the two are different.
6. Make a Masterpiece
Let creativity rule the day. Organize an art station for kids outfitted with everything from watercolor paints and rubber stamps to sequins, glue and colored feathers. Fashion a winter wonderland with paper snowflakes, deck the halls with winter wreaths or get ready for spring with a homemade bird feeder.
7. Two Words: Dance Party!
Cue up the music (kid’s choice, of course), supply hairbrushes for singing and get the wiggles out. Change things up with a game of freeze dance or turn off the lights and hand out flashlights for DIY special effects. You can show off your cool dance moves and keep your kids active at the same time!
8. Have a Picnic…Indoors
9. Dust Off the Board Games
Choose a few oldies but goodies from the game closet that haven’t surfaced in a while, then stage a family tournament. Include some classics like Connect Four and Trouble and also try some new games like Goblet and, if they’re a bit older, Set. Try a puzzle or two as well—even a timed competition: parents versus kids.
10. Go for Hollywood at Home
Make a major motion picture that’s red-carpet worthy. Dig into the Halloween costume stash for wardrobe and props, help the kids write a simple narrative and script and film the masterpiece on your phone. If your kids would prefer to be off-camera, make a claymation-style movie using figures made from Play Dough.