100 Indoor Activities For Winter
We live in Iowa. This means three things: corn, nice people, and cold winter days. I have always dreaded winter’s arrival, but I dread it even more now that I have kids. The short days, the case of cabin fever and seasonal affective disorder are hard and the role it plays in our mental health is real. During the cold winter months, it is hard to enjoy outdoor winter activities, so I am always brainstorming fun things and new ideas to spend the extra time indoors.
As we spend more time than we would like indoors as a whole family, I have gathered some great ideas for those days or weekends we get snowed in or it is too cold to go anywhere. Trying to avoid screen time can be difficult, but there are many indoor activity ideas. Grab a family member and see how many you can cross off this giant list of fun winter activities. The best part? For many of these fun activities you probably already have the supplies at home!
Here are our 100 fun indoor activities that we reserve for wintertime:
- Scratch color paper
- Color forms
- Cardboard blocks
- Cardboard playhouse – or make your own with large boxes.
- Obstacle course. Use pillows, LEGOs, or whatever to make an obstacle course. This is a fun activity for all ages.
- Watercolor sheets
- Boxes. Stop by your local grocery store if you are in need of boxes. Usually the larger the box the better according to kids!
- A movie theater in the living room is always a good time on a snow day.
- Create an indoor picnic and tea party.
- Create a hot chocolate bar. Nothing beats hot cocoa on cold days.
- Soup day. Spend a day making and trying all kinds of soup. Let kids help pick out recipes and make them.
- Kids yoga (or any other exercise “class”). Check out Youtube for so many great options. This is a great option to provide plenty of physical movement.
- Game day. Grab a fun game and play board games all day. Some of our favorites include: Don’t Spill the Beans, Uno, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Connect 4, Don’t Break The Ice, and Disney Hedbandz.
- Over-the-door basketball hoop game.
- Indoor baseball. This is not for those with glass houses.
- Bag toss
- Balloon/beach ball volleyball and dream of warm days.
- Playing with ice is full of indoor fun during winter weather days.
- Baking soda and vinegar. Makes for some really fun and cool science experiments. Little hands will stay busy for hours.
- Make your own Play-Doh
- Puff Paints. Grab bags from Dollar Tree or cheap t-shirts to use.
- Sensory bins are so much fun for little kids. Gather items around the house such as cotton balls, toilet paper rolls, and other small objects.
- Tents. We’ve been known to set up our camping tent in the middle of the living room on long gloomy days which provides hours of entertainment. Grab a good book and read snuggled up in the tent.
- Make a blanket fort for some indoor fort fun.
- A dance party is the best way to get some physical activity and a good workout.
- Hot Wheel races which is always a fun idea.
- Dirty cars which include chocolate pudding and little cars.
- Crayola tub paints
- Window markers and save those works of art on your windows. They will look beautiful on sunny days.
- Insta snow or baking soda for fake snow. Or better yet create an indoor snowball fight for some winter fun.
- Potions Party
- Slime is always a great time.
- Play with shaving cream.
- Scavenger hunt. Have one child hide a toy (of any size, of their choosing) and the other kids find it.
- Make your own decorations. If it is before the holiday season, make some Christmas decorations for the home.
- Gym day with mattresses. Lay the mattress on the floor (we have been known to move ours to the living room) and let the kids jump around.
- This one is for the parents, create a happy hour at home and enjoy a wine tasting!
- Kinetic Sand
- Create your own treasure hunt.
- Hide n’ seek
- Indoor ball pit. You can buy one or make your own with a kiddie pool and plastic balls.
- Cooking. Bake up your favorite goodies or try a new recipe for a meal. This is a great option for older children.
- Dress up and use your imagination in a fun way.
- Play restaurant at the kitchen table.
- Bake and decorate cookies. A homemade baked treat is always a good idea and the perfect excuse to indulge in some sweets.
- “Lazer” Maze or indoor obstacle course.
- Paint your own canvas.
- Make noodle necklaces and color your own noodles.
- Lava lamp experiment
- Puppet theater (you can easily make your own with a cardboard box) and put on a puppet show.
- Chalk drawings – Use sidewalk chalk or classroom chalk and draw on a roll of craft paper.
- A slide inside (a Little Tikes slide works great)
- Water table/bin. Grab little bins from around the house and create the perfect activity for little ones!
- Bouncy ball paintings
- Make your own bouncy balls
- Make masks out of paper plates
- LEGO’s fun
- Hot potato
- Simon Says
- Cookie cutters. Paint with them, play with play dough, and make cookies. So many fun options!
- Flour “sand”
- Muffin Party
- Pizza Party
- Pet Rescue Center
- Make your own games
- Chocolate sensory play
- Grow capsules
- Water beads
- Shaving cream paint
- Salt dough ornaments/3D figures
- Hatching eggs
- Painting birdhouse(s). Nothing like working on a spring project in the middle of winter.
- Face painting
- Pudding painting
- Pillow fight
- Car wash
- Make your own wooden blocks
- Water bottle shakers
- Play grocery store
- Kool-Aid snow painting is a great way to bring the cold weather indoors. Or make some ice cream with fresh snow.
- Play dinosaurs
- Bop Balloons. Dollar Tree has three packs!
- Paper airplanes. Make them and have races.
- Colored rice and noodles
- Make your own music video/video/play/etc.
- Make cardboard swords a fun and simple craft.
- Play pirates with cardboard swords.
- Make your own puppets. Use brown paper bags and decorate or grab some popsicle sticks and make puppets.
- Crossword puzzles/word find/checkers (great games for older kids)
- Make your own crayons. Use up those half-broken crayons, an ice cube tray, and the microwave.
- Build things with mini marshmallows and toothpicks
- Fun with flashlights. Take advantage of the sun setting early (incredibly early) and save some electricity. Use flashlights to make shadow puppets (followed by a game of “can you tell what I’m making?”) or play hide n’ seek in the dark or my kid’s favorite (which always ends in someone getting hurt) is tag in the dark.
What are your favorite winter activities?
About the Author
Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raised here. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book author, and co-director and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time, Ashlen enjoys exploring all Des Moines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.