Get ideas for activities you can do with your children both inside and outside during this cold season.
Outside, it is cold and sometimes humid, but winter holidays need not be sad just because you have not chosen to jet off in pursuit of the sun and tropical climate of the south.
In fact, we are of the opinion that they are missing out on all the fun you can have right from home!
Both inside and outside, the week in the winter holidays can easily be filled with fun and active experiences that do not necessarily cost a fortune – but some of the best experiences come without a price tag at all.
We sometimes find ourselves sighing at home thinking “what is there to do?” when we are at home with the kids these days.
And sometimes it seems it is not only the outside that is freezing but our brains are too. Although we are never out of ideas of what we could do, Sometimes we just need reminding and something to heat up that winter brain!
Therefore this list is just as much for ourselves to look through for ideas as it is for you!
So here it is, a list of many great ideas for you, the fun parent who wants to do something nice with the kids this winter. You are guaranteed to find something to do.
1. Baking in the comfort of your home
If your kids are up for it. What kid does not like baking cupcakes or cookies? You can perhaps let them pick a cake to bake, but be warned, you will most likely be baking a chocolate cake.
You could even invite the grandparent over to join in on the fun, or just come taste the finished result.
Have the little ones mix the batter, or help you add the ingredients if they are still too small to not get it all over the tiles in the kitchen (you don’t want to end up with an empty bowl). Of course they can always help to decorate the cake or cookies once they are cool.
A good idea if you choose to make cookies is to cut the dough out in different patterns, here you can all really get creative, there are no rules! But snow-flakes, pine trees, snowmen and stars are a nice addition to your holiday décor!
TIP: Home baked balls of bread (snow balls) with butter, are always a great hit with a cup of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whipped cream. And they are great for the dark mornings too!
2. Make your own play-doh
So you are probably thinking, “why not just buy it?” well because, believe it or not, this is actually easier and quicker than having to go to the shop, then spend an hour deciding which type to buy, and best of all, is absolutely free!
Unleash creativity with home-made dough, at a fraction of the price.
The recipe is easy, and your little one can even help to knead:
2 cups flour,
1 cup fine salt and
1 cup of water mixed.
If necessary, add a spoonful of oil and a little fruit color if the dough is to be coloured. You could add different colours to have a mixture.
Mix and add more flour until the dough is no longer wet.
Once you have finished playing and creating with the dough, you can either bake the characters or store the dough in a freezer bag – It lasts a long time.
You could also press their little hands or feet into a piece you have cut out and frame it after you bake it?
TIP: Make figures to hang on the Christmas tree with a ribbon, and add hard candy in the holes or as a window before you put them in the oven for a colored glass effect!
If you prefer you can buy play-doh here
But the home made ones that you can bake for less make for presents among the best!
3. The Olympic games at home
Find a range of disciplines that your child thinks are fun. It may be to build a tall tower of blocks, make a puzzle fastest, climb first to the end of the apartment, give the doll clothes on quickest.
4. Home Spa
This is fun for both parent and child! Especially on those gloomy harsh wind days that bear no mercy on your skin. And it is a great way to sneak in some ‘me’ time, without the guilt!
Turn on candles, lay towels on the living room floor, fill a bowl with lukewarm water and indulge your child with wellness. You can extend the treatments from foot-bathing and massage to counting cucumber slices before placing them on your eyelids. Have a foot scrub with a small sponge and finish it off with the hair salon – only your imagination is the limit.
Just remember not to fall asleep while you lay back and relax!
5. Build a cave
Some call them forts, others caves or dens, but you know what we mean. Although the temperature still does not accommodate for many hours outside, it is fun to build a cave in the woods or in the garden. It also keeps you active and strengthens motor skills and imagination. If you do not live near nature, you can easily make caves inside too, and invite dolls and teddy bears to visit and maybe even host a small tea party under the dining table?
6. Find a Creative Project
Creative projects can consist of making nice things out of newspapers, painting on stones, or making necklaces.
Perhaps an old cardboard box could be transformed into a doll’s house with a little paint, or perhaps you could draw four drawings in a beautiful color scheme that can be put in a frame and hung up in the room. This is also a good way to make personal gifts for the family that money can’t buy!
7. Learn to ride a bike
Now that you have a lot of time together, it’s perfect for learning and mastering a new skill. It’s not about pace when it comes to learning a new skill and now with all this time on your hands you have enough time to be patient and try again and again for as long as they still think it’s fun and it has not started snowing yet!
8. Home Cinema
If your child is big enough to watch a whole movie, it’s nice to go to the cinema together but you do not have to leave the comfort of your home for this relaxing activity!
You can make a cinema at home, pop your own popcorn, take duvets and mattresses into the living room and slip into your pajamas. Dim the lights or turn them off all together and enjoy!
9. Examine insects
At the micro level, one can find an old wooden stump in the forest, collect beetles and other insects and take them home for examination. The larger children can make a small terrarium of a jam glass.
10. Shovel snow
Clear the driveway and wherever else you need it out the way, with your little one! Buy them a mini shovel. Especially great if you have a mini helper and you get the chore done and out the way with a helping hand!
11. Board games
They are ideal for this season where long hours are spent cozying up inside. When I was young there were a handful to pick from, and they were all just as fun, but now you are spoiled for choice, and with all the shops online you don’t even have to get outside in the biting cold to buy one, but you can have it delivered straight to your door. If you live in the UK then I know Argos, and the Toyshop have a shuttle service where you could buy it and have it delivered the same day! I have tried both and always received what I ordered on the same day.
TIP: Pick games that can teach them something, whether it is colors, numbers or something else. Don’t forget to check recommended age and number of players for the game.
12. Story time
Alright, so who does not love stories? If your child does not enjoy them, then perhaps it is time to take a break from all the online entertainment, games on your phone and TV programs and start encouraging this wonderful activity that sparks their imagination and helps them with their communication and literature skills.
TIP: For a more interactive experience after you finish reading stories, you could make your own. Play the story making game where you start it off by saying “Once upon a time, there was a…” and they add something. It could be “frog”. Now come up with the next line “This frog was a very very…” and let the child say what this frog was. Perhaps he was a very very “angry frog”? If they are old enough for this game, they will soon come up with longer lines than yours and the fun lies in the fact that you never know how this story will end?
13. Evening walks
These walks need not be saved for the evenings only. Though we find it is a great routine to get the kids tired before bed.
14. Fort in the snow
Build two walls you can hide behind, and throw snowballs at each other. This is such a simple game, but it is so much fun! You could even add something in the middle that you must get without being hit by a snow ball. The more people you can get outside to participate, the more fun it becomes.
Of course you could just have a good old fashioned snowball fight too.
15. Build a hill to slide down
You can build your own slope for sledding down in your garden. This saves you going to look for the perfect hill, and you are never far from home. Also if your children are still very small then this is a better idea than big intimidating hills.
TIP: Carve out where the slide should go, then pour some cold water down and it will create a slippery slide. But this only works if its really cold outside.
16. Pull a sled
Get your sleds out and pull them around in the snow. You do not have to have a hill, they love this just as much, if not more!
TIP: But if they want to be more hands on, then let them place their favorite doll or soft toy in the sled and they can pull them themselves!
17. Mini snow wonderland
It does not need to be an outdoors activity only. It is just as fun to do inside on a shelf, the table or you can empty a shelf on your bookcase, and it looks so wonderful! You can buy little houses or make them yourselves with paper or as gingerbread houses. All you need is some fake snow, a clear space where it can stay all winter, some pine for trees, you could buy little lights to decorate with, or the little houses and igloos that allow fake candles inside so they light up. Use a small mirror for a lake, and you can add little people skating on it if you want! This is such a fun activity, and you will stay warm whilst playing with the snow!
TIP: If your little one has a doll’s house you can turn one of the rooms into a winter wonderland that lights up, or you could have dolls playing on the snow filled roof!
18. Archeologists in the snow
Or just explorers in the snow. You can use anything to hide in the snow, preferably a few different items so you can dig them up together and they can be surprised by the next one they find! How did their toys end up in the snow outside?
19. Snow angels
Simple but they are always a hit, and simple! You could take a picture of them side by side once you are done, then they can keep looking at all the fun they had in the snow. You could also draw in the snow with a stick or something else, or even write their names or letters, turning it into educational play.
20. Hide and seek
A game of hide and seek is always fun, especially for the youngest ones. If you are outside, you could simply hide behind trees, and if you are inside you could hide behind doors. Wherever they have a chance of finding you!
21. Pick it up and drop it over there
So this game is especially fun for the smallest ones. Toddlers love picking things up and dropping them somewhere else. If there is snow you can pick it up and place it on the sled or a bucket. Otherwise you could get outside and play this game with leaves. Inside you could play this game and have them pick up their toys and drop them in the toy box and you will end up with a clean room!
Great for developing many skills. You can get smaller ones for your little one and a big one for you. Or just join them in making the easy puzzle. If you are a real puzzler then you should try out the 3D puzzles available in almost every toy store!
23. Pajama party dance off!
This is something that seems to have been left behind in old chick-flicks of the nineties, but it is still so much fun! Get dressed in your funniest onesies, fluffiest slippers, silkiest robes, whatever you like! And announce to your children that tonight is their night, you are having a pajama party with disco lights (if you have them) and a fun playlist with the kids’ favorite songs on. That will guarantee to get them up and moving, and eventually ready for bed. The gummy bear song is a sure winner at our house!
Tip: You could host a pajama party for kids only.
24. Play dates
Of course you could always arrange play dates with their friends and your friends who have children. And even make it a themed play date where you invite all their friends over for some fun.
If you run out of ideas of what they can do at home, then just scroll back up on this list and you are sure to find something of interest!
Let us know what you thought of these ideas, and what you like to do with your little one this winter?
Don’t forget to check our list on places to go with your children this winter
And remember to get them suited and booted for the season! See our guide for choosing the perfect snow suit