Indoor days when it is too cold to play outside, can be an opportunity to stay in pajamas and keep the pace slow. Avoid hearing “I’m bored!” with these 25 activities when it is too cold to play outside.
The winter chill may keep us indoors on many days. But, when you have kids, to keep them from climbing the walls we moms need ideas to keep their hands and bodies busy.
I have gathered activities from some of my favorite blogs – and included some faves from my own – to create a go-to list of activities for a variety of ages. Many of these can work for older kids so you can use them with all ages.
Big kids sometimes get so creative with activities that are meant for younger kids. The simple concepts let their imaginations – and senses of humor – go! This list of over 25 ideas will be a go-to for kids activities when it is too cold to play outside.
Art, sensory, gross and fine motor are all covered in this list. 🙂
>>This post is part of the Moms Share Series. You can view all the tips and ideas the moms share here.<<
Indoor Kids Activities When it is Too Cold to Play Outside
Strainer and Pipe Cleaners
This activity works for many age groups. You just have to frame it differently. It can be a moon city for the older kids. Or it is a simple fine motor activity for the toddlers. The way you present the activity to your child changes the whole game.
Fuzzy Balls and Ice Cube Tray
For younger ones, this is a great way to work on one to one correspondence. The big kids can be transporting scientific material to the lab. For pretend…LOL! Pretend play works so well with these simple, open-ended activities.
Homemade Play Dough
Play dough can be an hours-long game. Start by making it together. Then have your children play with it with basic tools. After, bring the noodles in for the fine motor play, and after that, form the puzzle pieces.
Kids love to make, crafts and other decorations for the home. These kids craft ideas shared by Parents Magazine make great gifts too. My favorites are the button necklaces and lunch bag scrapbooks.
Make Cookies for the Neighbors or Relatives
There are helpful tips for baking with the kids in this article. We love to put our homemade treats in these boxes (Amazon link). That makes them feel extra special when we give home-baked treats as a gift.
Make Footprint or Handprint Gifts
So many cute ideas! Here is a big list of handprint and footprint crafts.
Bake Banana Bread or Muffins
I store my over-ripe bananas in my freezer. They do not cause the rest of the food to smell or taste like bananas! Then, I always have a bunch of ripe bananas ready for baking banana bread.
It is easier to make than cookies! This is the recipe I use. (I cut the sugar in half, though.)
Watch an Educational Video.
My twins are loving videos about foxes right now. I like Youtube when I am with my children, but not when they are viewing alone. It just works best for us with parental supervision.
The collection of great, short videos on so many kid interests is great for days when it is too cold to play outside. We can learn!
Look Up Just Dance Kids on YouTube and Dance Along
Another great way we have used Youtube videos on indoor days is dancing along to Just Dance videos. It counts as exercise too!
Start a Playgroup
I give you all the steps and tips in this handy guide. Days stuck indoors are better with friends. The guide actually shares all the steps for inviting, hosting and keeping a playgroup going.
Get a big old box of craft supplies like this one (Amazon link). Free form art can keep the kiddos creating for a while.
Watercolor Painting Ideas
Create a Set of Building Bricks
Making this large set of building bricks was worth every minute! My kids built so many play forts with these.
Indoor Trampoline Parks
We have always been fans of the indoor trampoline parks. I usually jump with the kids. It is a great workout. If we go with friends or our playgroup, the moms chat and the kids jump. Win-win!
Small Bounce Houses
One of the best purchases we made when our children were toddlers was a small bounce house like this one (Amazon link). It was so worth it. If you have a basement or garage, set the bounce house up on the indoor days to let the kids burn some energy.
Getting enough time to play outside is essential to my children maintaining positive behavior…and let’s be honest, it helps my behavior too! This indoor hopscotch game (made from a yoga mat) is a reusable activity that helps kids move to burn energy even when indoors.
Building Forts with Blankets and Furniture
I think this is self-explanatory. 😉 My children always create such creative play scenarios when they build a fort with blankets and couch cushions. They love pretending and building fun little hideouts.
The clean up for these two activities is easier when the kids are toddlers and preschoolers. In a big enough space, you can pull this activity and this one off for a bit of indoor sensory exploration.
Lessons on Youtube
You can just follow along to a gymnastics class, music class, soccer exercises. There are even piano lessons you can access online.
Great for brain breaks and indoor downtime. They have all sorts of fun videos.
Bundling Up and Going Outside to Play
When I worked at a daycare in North Dakota, we had to take the kids outside most winter days. There were temperature restrictions. It was fiercely cold. I am talking below zero cold without wind chill factored in. Sometimes the bundling up takes time, but for a little fresh air it can be worth it.
An Indoor Playplace
Malls still have these in some places. Check out the list of free or cheap locations for kids to play. Your area may be listed. If not, add your info!
Play a lot of Lego
For one playdate with friends, I moved the dining room table to the side of the room. Our big bin of Lego bricks was all the kids needed to create and socialize for a bit.
We Play a lot of Hide and Seek Too
Indoor hide and seek in the house is so funny! My kids play this with friends all the time. We do close doors to rooms that are off-limits. But, the kids get really creative with their hiding places.
Put a Teeter Totter in the House
This may be a little too out there for some. But, the smaller see saws (Amazon link) or teeter totters (whatever you call them) can be placed in a play room or heated garage. One more way for kids to burn energy indoors.
More Kids Activities When it is Too Cold to Play Outside
Got toddlers? Check out this page of winter boredom busters just for toddlers.
Got babies? This page is for you.
Got preschool kids? Here are the activities for them.