Brrrr! It’s freezing out there. That’s okay. When it’s too cold to go out, indoor activities for kids can be just as much fun as a day of outdoor play. Really! Sure, building a snowman (or an entire snow family) is kind of the standard when it comes to winter-time fun; but when there’s a brutal chill, the kiddos need to stay warm and safe indoors. That’s where these action-packed (or in some cases, art-packed) activities come in.
The kids are begging to play in the snow. There’s a freshly fallen layer and it looks like oh-so-much fun – and you have to be the bad guy and say “no.” Hey, they’ll get the idea that it’s beyond freezing when they stick their hands out the door to test the air temp. Instead of crushing their hopes to play in the snow, bring what’s outside, inside! Grab a bucket or a plastic bin and add fresh snow from your backyard. Fill the kitchen sink or the bath tub with the snow, pass out the gloves and let your little ones play away. They can build mini snow people, use miniature shovels to dig through it, or create a snowy scene for their water-friendly dolls and action figures.
If only it were warmer, you could fill up squeeze bottles and let the kids ‘graffiti’ the snow with a mix of powdered tempera and water. But, it’s way too cold for that. Don’t worry, your crafty kids can still get artsy with the snow! Bring a cup of the chilly stuff inside and get out water colors, paint brushes, and paper. Ask the kids to figure out how they can possibly paint without water. Oh, the snow, of course! Predict what will happen to that cup of snow as it sits on your kitchen or play room table. You know what will happen, but let the kids brainstorm what’s next as the snow changes its form. As it changes from snow into water (science, anyone?), the kids can start using it to paint. Simply swirl the brush around in the melted snow, and drop it into the watercolor paint to create their masterpiece.
No, not outside – that would be crazy in that winter weather! Given that the kiddos aren’t camping in the woods, a park, or even the backyard anytime soon, bring experience of camping in the great outdoors into your living room. Set up a smaller-sized tent, get the sleeping bags out, and say goodbye to electronics for the night (except for your phone or camera to take pictures with, of course!). Use an electric lantern or battery-powered faux candles to create a nighttime outdoorsy feel. Tell ghost stories, sing campfire songs (Kumbaya, Camp Granada and other similar standards), and even make indoor s’mores. To make the s’mores indoor-style, heat the marshmallows in the microwave for 10 seconds or less, and sandwich them in between graham crackers and chocolate. You can even create a “s’mores bar” by setting out fresh-cut fruit, cookies, chocolate chips, sprinkles and other toppings for the kids to choose from for some very intense (and albeit sugary) s’mores!
The kids are used to building the real deal outside, now it’s time for an artsy indoor rendition. Use white tempera and the bottom of a soup can to create circle prints. The kids can stack them into a snowman shape, and add in the details with other colors of tempera. While the paint out, try creating fingerprint snow people, too? They can also use cotton balls and glue to create a puffy, fluffy snow family. Or, use white chalk on dark blue or black construction paper to draw!
The kids are getting antsy. It’s been a day since they’ve gotten to run around outside and play, and they really need to let off some steam and stretch their muscles. Turn on the tunes and have a family dance party! Clear out a space that’s large enough for everyone to move around in. make sure to put away (far, far away) any valuables or breakable items, and then get ready to dance! Call out animal names and have the kids dance as their favorite creatures or play freeze. As the kids dance, call out, “Freeze!” When they hear that magically chilly word they have to stop in place, wherever they are, even if they’re on one leg! To get the dance party going again, simply say the word “melt!” and resume those crazy, funky moves.
Did you take a lot of photos as the family was home this past winter break? Or maybe you went on a vacation together? Put together a custom board book with your favorite winter vacation memories!