Winter is here, which means it’s time for snowball fights, sledding, and snowmen! We asked HOMER’s learning experts to give us some fun and educational indoor winter activities to use when the weather outside is frightening. Keep reading for some inside ideas that are guaranteed to bust boredom and burn off extra energy!
1. Have a Snowball Fight
If you’re looking for an indoor winter activity that can involve the whole family and burn off extra energy, try a snowball fight! If your kids are ready to play rule-based games, divide up into teams, set a time, and follow these rules.
Make the Snowballs
Find some paper that you are going to recycle and scrunch it up into balls — this is great for building fine motor skills.
Set the Playing Field
This game is quite active, so you might want to clear some space for running around. If you are playing in teams, divide the room into two using tape.
If there are several of you, divide up into two teams — parents vs. kids is always a great way to go!
Start the Snowball Fight!
If your kids aren’t ready for rule-based games, have fun throwing paper snowballs at each other and running around the room. If your kids are old enough to understand rules, divide the snowballs up evenly between the teams and set a timer. Whichever team has the least snowballs on their side when the timer goes off, wins!
2. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
Using snow and ice to create sensory activities is a fun way to enjoy winter without risking sniffles.
Keep it Simple
Take some snow from outdoors, put it on a cookie sheet and let your child play with the snow to engage their sense of touch.
Add Some Color
An easy way to get your child to pay attention to what they are seeing is to incorporate snow “painting” into the activity. Fill sauce or spray bottles with water and a few drops of food dye and let your child show off their creativity. For younger kids, squeezing the bottles or the spray triggers helps them practice fine motor skills.
Bring the Whole Thing to Life
Use pipe cleaners, small sticks, buttons, and baby carrots to make mini snowmen.There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but we can imagine a lot of kids will be making their own mini Olafs!
3. Control The Seasons: Go From Winter to Summer
There are many ways to build storytelling skills, but a diorama about winter and summer is a classic way to introduce your child to the ideas of the changing seasons, build fine motor skills, and build their vocabulary. This activity might take a few days to complete, so it’s great for a weekend when you’re stuck indoors.
Create the World
Take a shoebox and turn it on its side. Then, gather some small blocks to represent houses and small toy people and animals to act as characters in your winter wonderland.
Winter is Here
Fill the bottom of the shoe box with cotton so it looks like snow. Then put the block houses and characters into the scene. You can even get some confectioners sugar or flour to sprinkle over the world so it looks like it’s snowing.
Add some Winter Fun
Build up the winter scene by making a snow family from white cardboard circles. Once you’re ready, your child can play with their characters to really make the scene come alive! They can make it extra festive by having their characters drive to their friends’ houses for holiday fun.
Switch Over To Summer!
Make a second diorama showing a summer scene. Instead of cotton for snow, use flowers and greenery to decorate the scene. Then, get your characters to do summer activities. For example, you could fold tea towels to make picnic rugs and take your characters on an “outdoor” picnic.
Compare and Contrast
As you make the summer diorama, compare it to the winter one. For example, you and your child can talk about winter fun vs. summer fun; how are they different? And how are they alike? This kind of conversation encourages kids to compare and contrast, which is a great way to learn new things!
4. Stuffed Toy Sleigh Ride
This imaginative role-play activity builds creativity and imagination, and it gives kids the chance to be the “adult” taking care of their stuffed toy sledders.
Make the Sleigh
Give your child a wicker basket or cardboard box (a shoebox will do nicely) to make their sleigh. Put two holes in one side and run a strong string through the holes to make a pull-cord for the sleigh. If your child wants to make it extra special, they can decorate it with drawings or stickers.
Take the Toys for a Ride
Using things around the house, help your child build a sleigh ride for their toys. You could use pillows or cushions to create a hill, and you could even use cotton balls at the bottom of the hill for the sledders to use as snowballs. As they take their toys on a sleigh ride, you could sing a song together — if you want a break from “Let it Go,” try Jingle Bells!
As your child is taking their toys on their sleigh ride, you can help them think about what their toys might be experiencing. For example, you could use some towels to make the bottom of the sled soft and to keep the toys warm. If a toy falls out of the sled, you could suggest that it needs to be comforted.
5. Make Snowmen… That You Can Eat!
This tasty activity builds fine motor skills, imaginations and helps your child learn size order and size vocabulary… and did we mention that it’s tasty?
Build the Body
Get a small bowl, medium bowl, and a bigger bowl. In each bowl, put a layer of vanilla ice cream. Make it not too thick and not too thin, you want just enough to hold the decorations in place.
Decorate the Snowman
Once the three bowls have begun to look like a snowman, start decorating! Cheerios can be eyes, other cereals could be buttons, a small apple slice would make a good mouth, and of course, you’d use the traditional carrot nose.
As you make the snowman, use size language like “smallest,” “biggest,” or “big,” “bigger,” and “biggest.”
Once you’ve made your snowman, it’s time to enjoy eating it before it melts!