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Great Winter Activities for Kids

Updated on March 23, 2012

After all the fun and excitement of the Christmas holidays are over, the cold, gloomy days of January and February set in, and kids get bored. Winter activities for kids seem hard to come by, and you might be frustrated by complaining children. They’re often stuck inside for several days in a row, plastered in front of the TV or video game.

Outdoor activities for kids

Of course, if you live where it snows, and if it’s not too cold outside, your family can enjoy outdoor activities for kids. These include sledding, snowball fights, and ice skating, along with making snowmen and snow forts. If you don’t have snow, or if the weather is just too nasty for outdoor activities for kids, consider engaging in some of the winter activities for kids suggested below. Some of these can function as either indoor activities for kids, or as outdoor activities for kids.

Scavenger hunt

If you have more than one kid to entertain, try a scavenger hunt. If the weather is sunny, you can do these as outdoor activities for kids. Make a list of items for each child to find: pinecones, leaves, feathers, old birds’ nests. Give each kid a copy of the list, and provide a small prize for the one who finds all the items first. As an incentive, you might want to offer a group prize if everyone completes the list.

If the weather is bad, you can have an indoor scavenger hunt at the mall or at the public library, making them indoor activities for kids. Of course, for safety reasons, you’d need more than one adult to supervise the children.

The lists can be tweaked to address different ages. For young kids, make the items easy to find. Older kids should be provided with a challenge.

Indoor activites for kids - Movie day

Turn you family room or living room into a cinema for an afternoon or evening winter activity. Let your kids invite their friends over to see a favorite movie. Your kitchen could become the “snack bar.” Serve popcorn in cute little popcorn bags or boxes, which you can find at dollar stores. Juice boxes, candy, nachos, pizza slices, and/or hot dogs could also be served. If you prefer to use healthier items, serve raw veggies and dip, air-popped popcorn, and grapes, strawberries, and orange slices.

Make sure there’s plenty of seating for everyone, and turn out the lights!

Skating rink

If you have a carport, garage, or paved drive, turn it into a skating rink. Clear everything out so the kids will have enough room for roller skating, and supply some music to skate by. Roller skates are inexpensive, so you won’t have to invest a lot of money in buying skates. This type of winter activities for kids is a great way to provide some healthy exercise and get them away from the television.

Indoor activities for kids - Crafts

Simple crafts are a great way to spend a few hours, and it will allow the kids to use their imagination and creativity. A very simple activity is to have the kids add some “bling” to t-shirts, handbags, plain white canvas sneakers, backpacks, or jeans.

All you’ll need are some E-6000 glue, along with some acrylic rhinestones, fabric paint, beads, and/or some decorative patches. Yes, boys can do this, too! Patches with themes like army, cowboy, hunting, and fishing are readily available at craft stores.

Interactive stories and educational activites for kids

Interactive stories aren’t only fun – they’re also educational activities for kids. Kids have to use their imagination, along with skills like sequencing and cause-and-effect. This can work for almost any age, as long as you keep the story line age-appropriate.

Just gather the kids around and begin a story. Each child adds to the story in turn. The story should have a definite beginning, middle, and end.

Other educational activities for kids include watching videos about other countries and cultures, working with chemistry sets, and building models of historical planes, trains, and ships.

Indoor activities for kids - Plays

When my three daughters were young, they used to love performing plays. Choose a favorite story book with dialogue, and you can serve as the director and the narrator. Assign parts and let the kids dress in simple costumes. If you don’t have enough kids, invite friends or relatives over.

Once the kids have their lines down, video tape the performance and let the kids watch it.

Field trips

Short field trips around your community is another great way to pass a winter day and can be excellent educational activites for kids. Think aquariums, museums, galleries, and public playgrounds. Many public libraries also provide educational activities for kids, especially on the weekends, so you might want to check there.

Think “outside the box,” too. It might be interesting for your kids to see how candy is made, for example. Many candy kitchens allow patrons to watch the candy-making process and sample their creations.

If you have a group of children, your local fire station or police precinct might be willing to give the kids a quick tour, along with information about how to be safe.


There are few better ways to pass a couple of hours than doing volunteer work with your kids. They’ll learn important aspects like sharing, compassion, and responsibility. Call ahead and arrange a visit to a nursing home, or help out in a soup kitchen. Another way to help the community is to have your child choose one of his toys that he no longer plays with and take it to a local Goodwill Store or Salvation Army Store and let him donate it himself.

If your kids are into animals, most shelters are always looking for volunteers. They need people to help feed, water, and clean cages, which might not be your kids’ idea of fun. But many animal shelters also need people to exercise and play with the animals, which will help the potential pets learn socialization that will make them more adoptable. In most cases, these would be wonderful winter activities for kids.

Outdoor activites for kids like sledding and snowplay provide fresh air and exercise.
Outdoor activites for kids like sledding and snowplay provide fresh air and exercise.
Visiting aquariums and museums are great indoor activities for kids.
Visiting aquariums and museums are great indoor activities for kids.

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