Fun Indoor Winter Activities for Kids
Dealing with a snowstorm or blizzard that’s got the whole family trapped inside? Some days the snow, wind and cold temperatures are just too much for kids to play outside.
If your kids are stuck home from school for snow day, and the weather is too much for the usual sledding or snowball fights, you’ll need to find indoor activities to keep them busy!
Related: 10 Fun Winter Activities for Kids and Families
There are plenty of fun indoor winter activities to keep kids happy and entertained on a cold winter day. From winter-themed crafts to indoor obstacle courses to educational activities for kids of all ages, here are some winter activities kids can do without stepping foot out the door!
Indoor Winter Learning Activities:
1. Indoor Scavenger Hunt/Escape Room
Indoor scavenger hunts are a great way to keep kids' brains and bodies active even while at home.
Kids love the excitement of finding hidden items, as well as trying to figure out more elaborate puzzles for a grand prize. This activity can easily be reworked in several different ways for fun that can span multiple hours and days.
How to set up an indoor scavenger hunt at home:
Materials you need: Normal household items
Toddlers/preschoolers: Start with 3-5 items in their room or around the house. Pick one main room to hide the items in. Have them cover their eyes while you hide the items. You could give them hints of "hot, and cold" to help them find the items.
The older the child, the more items you can hide and expand throughout the house. You can also have an outdoor winter scavenger hunt with items they will find in their backyard.
For this indoor game, you only need normal household items you likely already have.
Big Kids: Make an elaborate escape room with multiple steps that will keep kids working hard cognitively to get to the main goal. We did this as a part of my daughter's 6th birthday activity during COVID.
The main goal was money, locked in a treasure box that was hidden in the garage. We had 20 different clues scattered across the house, the local park, and throughout the neighborhood. Of course, you could just keep this indoors.
The determination and excitement she had was next level. This activity can be made with many variations and be curtailed on difficulty depending on the players.
Materials: number combo lock, chain to tie the lock around, box, or something that can be used to hide the treasure in, treasure.
2. STEM Cranberry Builds
This STEM activity has a bit of that sweet Christmas spirit. Have kids practice their science and spatial skills by building structures out of snacks and toothpicks.
Material you need: Double ended toothpicks, fresh cranberries, mini marshmallows
We used cranberries because we always seem to have an extra bag of cranberries this time of the year, but you can also use mini marshmallows, grapes, or anything that can be punctured with toothpicks.
You can add additional mixed materials to incorporate such as play dough, longer wooden skewers, pipe cleaners, etc.
This is a fun way to simply let your child build freely in this engaging hands-on project and see what type of structures they can create by sticking toothpicks into the food item.
How to build:
Using toothpicks and mini marshmallows (you can use cranberries or grapes but note those are choking hazards for those under 5 years old), allow your child to freely build.
When my kids were between 3 and 5 years old they spent close to an hour building! This project is a great way to help preschoolers and younger children develop their fine motor skills as they try to make different shapes.
You could also challenge them to build simple structures and shapes i.e., square, rectangle, triangle, etc. See an example of what a STEM cranberry build can look like!
For older kids, try a more educational activity and have them build different molecule structures such as these molecule structures. Delicious, fun and educational!
3. Study a Famous Artist & Recreate the Photo
If your kids love to draw, this art project is a great way for them to learn some art history while having fun at the same time.
Materials needed: paper, crayons or markers, access to the Internet
Our family did this a few years ago and we had a blast. We picked Norman Rockwell as our artist. We taught the kids about who Norman Rockwell was, drew out a timeline to show when his paintings were popular, and of course, viewed his famous work.
The younger the child, keep explanations and history down to a minimum. For example, you can explain what an artist is and then show them the paintings. Ask them which one is their favorite and have them identify the colors and items that they see in their favorite painting.
4. Make Paper Snowflakes
This classic winter craft is still fun for kids of all ages!
Materials: Paper scissors, (optional decorations like glitter or paint)
Have kids fold and cut paper in intricate shapes to create their own paper snowflakes and paper snowflake chains. You can either have them freehand it or choose a design from a free template to get some snowflake design ideas.
Make sure to hang up all your beautiful snowflake creations around your house once the kids finish! Use our Paper Snowflake Printable Template and instructions to make it even easier!
5. Build an Indoor Winter Wonderland
Want all the beauty of winter without all the cold and slush? No problem! One fun activity that will occupy kids for hours is building indoor “snow” forts from cardboard boxes, white paper, streamers, fake snow (and of course their paper snowflakes from above!)
Hang candy canes around, line the windows with cotton balls to imitate fluffy snow, and have kids draw igloo designs on boxes so they can pretend they’re roughing it in the arctic.
Materials: Cardboard boxes, markers, cotton balls, paper snowflakes, Christmas lights/fairy lights
6. The Floor is Lava Obstacle Course
For kids, there is nothing better than having your parents build a challenging obstacle course for you. Parents, get creative!
Materials: Items from your living room and an imagination! (Example: pillows, pool noodles, broom or mop, chairs, blankets, balls, buckets, etc.).
Have a clearly defined starting and ending point. When using items to jump on, make sure they have small gaps and make sure to clear any furniture with sharp edges or hard surfaces.
You could even have your child wear a helmet to complete the obstacle course, which will ensure their safety, and possibly make it seem like more of a challenge!
7. Create DIY Snow Globes
One of our favorite winter-themed crafts is creating DIY snow globes! You can make your own snow globe from regular mason jars you have around the house. This winter project will become a special keepsake for the whole family.
- Glass jar with lid (make sure the jar is large enough to fit your hands inside.)
- Floral clay
- Small waterproof figures for the snow globe (plastic house, buildings, trees, people...)
- "Snow" (glitter, small plastic stars or flowers, etc.)
- Hot glue gun
- Paintbrush and paint
Get full instructions on how to make your own DIY snow globe by following the steps on our Homemade Snow Globe Activity Sheet.
8. Make Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes
The best part of being home all day when there’s a snow day is getting to throw on some warm and cozy pajamas, watch TV and drink some delicious hot cocoa!
Hot chocolate is one of the easiest things for kids to make. Here’s a simple hot chocolate recipe for kids that takes less than 10 minutes:
Ingredients: 2 cups milk ( or milk alternative), 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
How to make hot chocolate:
- In a bowl add milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine
- Pour mixture into nonstick saucepan and heat over stove at medium heat (heat for 5-7 min until milk is steaming but not boiling)
- Once hot chocolate is heated, remove from the stove, cool for 1-2 min and serve in a mug with your choice of toppings (we suggest whipped cream and marshmallows!)
Have even more fun with this project by adding different flavors to the hot chocolate like cinnamon, candy canes/peppermint sticks or caramel sauce!
If your kids have a really big sweet tooth, pair your hot chocolate with one of our favorite holiday cookie recipes!
9. Make Snow Ice Cream
You scream, I scream, we all scream for snow ice cream! Making homemade ice cream is part cooking and part science experiment.
Ingredients: 8 cups snow, 1 cup Milk, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 1/3 cup sugar (optional: sprinkles, chocolate, or other flavored syrup).
How to make snow ice cream:
- This will require mom or dad collecting some clean snow first and putting it in a large bowl
- Mix sugar, vanilla extract and milk together in a separate bowl.
- Pour milk mixture and vanilla extract over the snow.
- Mix until you reach ice cream consistency.
- Add ice cream toppings and enjoy!
For more winter fun ideas, check our our printable Winter Fun Checklist!
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Hello there! My name is Brittany McCabe. I am a mama to a five-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl who married my high school sweetheart.