It can be tough to entertain children when the weather gets wet and cold, but with a bit of creativity there are lots of winter activities for kids that can keep everyone occupied.
From indoor games and crafts, to cold-weather outdoor activities, we’ve rounded up our favourite ways to spend a chilly winter’s day with children. So get the hot chocolate and cold-weather gear ready – winter needn’t stop you from having heaps of family fun!
• Game tournaments. Whether your children prefer video games or board games, it’s easy to organise a friendly tournament by making a leader board, setting silly challenges, and giving everyone prizes.
• Make a bird feeder. The Natural History Museum has a great tutorial on making a simple bird feeder out of a plastic bottle, along with tips for getting the most out of your bird feeder. Keep a chart of the different birds and wildlife you see visiting your feeder.
• Build a fort. Chairs and sofas are good for structural support, while blankets, sheets and towels make walls and roofs. Fairy lights and lamps set the mood, while pillows make the floor a super comfy spot for colouring, reading, or playing games.
• Build with toothpicks and marshmallows. How tall can your children make their structure? Who can build a bridge? This is a simple (and tasty) STEM activity for young children.
• DIY play dough. Flour and salt form the base of this long-lasting homemade play dough from The Imagination Tree.
• Make pet rocks. Go rock-hunting in the park or your yard, then decorate your rock finds with paint, glitter, googly eyes, and whatever else you can find to make a portable pet.
• Homemade slime. Oozy slime is a delight for children – and it’s simple to make at home. Fun Science has several recipes depending on what’s available.
• Make a hallway laser maze and play secret agents. Start small, building your maze out of streamers or ribbon and adding more as your children conquer the ‘laser beams’. Set secret agent challenges to make the game more exciting.
• Indoor snowball fight. Get creative to have an indoor snowball fight using extra large pom poms (or even balled up socks – just hide all the breakables first).
• Puppet theatre. Big boxes are useful for building a stage, while socks make great DIY puppets. Between building the set and planning the play, a puppet production can easily take up an entire day.
• Have a spa day. Break out the towels and robes and do each other’s hair, make homemade face masks, and paint finger and toenails while sipping on cucumber water (or juice).
• Stage an indoor campout. Clear a space to set up a tent inside. Turn off all the lights and tell spooky stories around a torch. Serve hot dogs, marshmallows and hot cocoa, and snuggle up for an overnight sleep out in the tent.
• Winter scavenger hunt. A great opportunity to help children learn to identify things they find in nature, scavenger hunts can be easily be tailored to any environment or season. Challenge your children to find things like leaves from certain trees, acorns, pine cones, or mushrooms. For anything living, a ‘look, don’t touch’ policy is a good idea.
• Stargazing. While the sun sets early, take advantage of a clear evening by wrapping up warm and going stargazing. The National Trust has some great information on what to watch for.
• Chalk art. Wait for a dry day and make your street or local park a bit more cheerful with some coloured sidewalk chalk.
• Build-a-nest challenge. A great activity to get kids thinking more deeply about nature, task them with building a bird’s nest. Set the stage by learning a bit about birds together (RSPB has some good resources), then head to your local park and scavenge for nest-building materials like twigs and dried leaves for the outer layers, and moss and softer materials for the inner layers.
The winter months can be especially trying for children with unsafe homes. Providing a warm, safe environment for such a child can change their life forever. Get in touch to learn more about becoming a carer with Compass Fostering.