Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this page. This helps keep this site running
Winter can be a challenging time of year with young kids since it's often too cold to play outside. Rest assured there are plenty of fun winter activities you can do with your children to get their energy out and keep them having fun. All of these ideas are winter themed, so they're perfect if you're looking to do seasonal activities with your child. They also make for great photos!
This different winter activity ideas cover a range from energetic play to crafts, and everything in between.
Rest assured none of these assume snow play. Depending where you live, that might not be an option, so these are all fun things to do in winter without snow.
1. Make a no-sew scarf
It's winter and your child needs a scarf. There's no need to buy one when you can make one instead! Best of all, no sewing required. This project occupies your child and keeps them entertained. They'll have a sense of accomplishment when wearing a scarf they made. You can get instructions in my article on how to make a no-sew scarf.
2. Winter nature walk
A winter nature walk is perfect for getting energy out. If you're feeling exhausted at the thought of it, rest assured it needn't turn into a big thing. I recommend under 30 minutes anyway since it'll be cold. 15 minutes is just fine. Make sure you and your children are dressed appropriately for the weather in warm waterproof clothing. Let the kids observe things as you all walk - plants, birds, how the sky looks, and more.
3. Play-Doh snowmen
Your children can make cute snowmen out of Play-Doh. Best of all, their snowmen can be different colors. Let your child decide if they want to add a hat or scarf to their snowman - there are so many ways your child can get creative with this.
This is particularly good if you're looking for winter activities for toddlers.
4. Indoor snowball fight
You don't need to have snow and be outdoors to have a snowball fight! Use bunched up paper to make snowballs, or you can get handcrafted snowballs from Etsy for this exact purpose. Amazon has snowballs too but it can be hard to find natural materials there.
Whichever you get, for safety's sake go for a product made of natural materials. We found from experience that some of the synthetic snowballs from Amazon smell kind of weird and you wouldn't want a young kid biting or licking it. I like these Etsy snowballs that are made of yarn.
This is a big hit for anyone looking for winter games for kids.
5. Make a gingerbread house from graham crackers and icing in a tube
You don't need an expensive kit to make a gingerbread house! Although it's certainly an option. Graham crackers won't taste the same as gingerbread, but I bet your kids won't care.
But if you care, then a gingerbread house kit is the way to go since you'll get the authentic taste of gingerbread. Check out these awesome gingerbread house kits at Target - so many amazing designs!
If you want to try doing the graham cracker version, rest assured everything you need to make a gingerbread house is available at your local grocery store. You'll need
- Graham crackers
- Frosting in a tube - several colors
- Candy such as gummies
Your children get to stick together the graham crackers in a house shape however they want using the icing. The icing acts like a glue to hold things together. You'll want to overlap the corners a bit instead of meeting at the very edges. This makes it easier to keep it together with the frosting. Once they have their house built, they can decorate it using candy (use frosting to have it stick on).
Of course, eating it is the best part!
Bundle up in winter gear and go outside in the evening after dinner to look at the night sky.
It gets dark early enough in winter that you can do this easily before it gets late and the kids get too tired or cranky.
7. Read "The Snowy Day" and other snow books
There's something about "The Snowy Day" by Jack Ezra Keats that kids love. It's a picture book so it works well for even the youngest children. Celebrate winter by reading this with your kids! There are plenty of other children's snow books on Amazon.com that are worth looking into as well. Make a small collection of winter books and make it a tradition to read them.
8. Cook dinner as a family - pick a winter dish from another country
If you're seeking unique and fun winter activities for families, give your children a wonderful learning experience about another culture. Pick an online recipe for a winter dish from another country and make it together. The youngest children can be given an easy task or two, such as stirring something.
When you think about the fact that you'd need to cook and eat dinner anyway, doing this just once in the winter is not as exhausting as you might first think! Also, this is the type of thing that your kids will remember happily later on.
9. Make and customize hot chocolates
Kids love the chance to customize their own hot chocolate exactly the way they like it! Get a good hot chocolate mix for a treat - our favorite is this one from Ghirardelli. Then after the hot chocolates are made, let your kids each add the toppings they want. This is one of our favorite fun winter activities for kids. Here are some ideas for hot chocolate toppings:
- Mini marshmallows
- Big marshmallows (if your hot chocolate is hot enough to melt them)
- Chocolate syrup
- Flavored coffee creamer (be careful about allergens here with ones such as hazelnut flavor)
- Whipped cream
- A very small amount of decaf instant coffee
If your children are old enough to learn how to use the microwave safely, teach them how to make their own hot chocolate so they can learn all the steps, not just the toppings. This paid off really well for me! The kids would offer hot chocolates to their friends when they came around. The friends were impressed that my child knew how to make it, and I didn't have to do the work myself!
It also pays off in the sense that whenever your child wants a hot chocolate during the day, he or she can make it themselves without needing to ask you. It makes them feel independent. If the microwave is too high to reach, invest in a step stool for your child and put it in a place where they can easily move it over for use. They shouldn't have to wait until they're in middle school to make their own hot chocolate!
Of course, kindergartners and preschoolers are still a bit young to heat water in a microwave cup safely so they can just stick with adding their own toppings.
10. Winter-themed family movie night
Break out the popcorn and watch a winter themed family movie - preferably something none of you have seen before to make it the most fun. You might like to avoid ones that they'll surely watch plenty of times at elementary school such as Polar Express.
There are plenty of ways to keep the children entertained during winter! Go for any or all of these seasonal activities with a winter theme. No snow required for this list of winter activities with kids.