Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top 100 Indoor Winter Activities with Babies and Preschoolers

On a cold, blustery winter day I find myself brainstorming indoor winter activities. Bundling up and playing in the snow is a blast of course, but the little ones can only tolerate subzero temperatures and snow in their faces for so long. Help me compile a list as an idea reference for myself and other moms who are starting to get the "Indoor Winter Blues."

Please feel free to comment and add ideas till we reach 100....Get those creative juices flowing!

Criteria for Top 100 Winter Activity List 
1.  Activities must not be specific to any one city or location.
2.  Activities must be age appropriate, lets say ages 0-5 years
3.  Activities must be very inexpensive or free. 
4.  Activities may be for one child or for a group.

Let the list begin...

1.  Story Time - Get together with other moms and kiddos to read books and be sure to use really dramatic and fun voices. 
2.  Make Puppets and Preform a Show - Use socks or paper bags, markers or crayons and make puppets. Preform a show. Take turns letting the the kids direct the puppets, then let some of the parents direct the puppets. Be silly and creative. The babies will even like watching this one. 
3.  Preform a Favorite Story - Pick a favorite children's story and help the children act it out. Get into it...make costumes, practice voices, rehearse parts. 
4.  Movie Time - Make popcorn, turn out all the lights and watch a short movie
5.  Architect In Training Day  - Collect boxes and containers of all sizes and make a city. Draw on the boxes or cover with colored paper to make houses, stores, school, church, cars, buses...ect. Then bring in other props like blocks, toy cars and people and play with the city.
6.  Construction Demolition Day  - Build block towers and tear them down. Have contests for older kids ie. the tallest building, the most colorful building, the biggest building, the building with the most red, the narrowest building, the building that crashes with the loudest sound. 
7.  Color Days - For example, everyone wears blue, read blue books, eat things that are blue (food coloring), play with blue play-doh, play with blue toys, finger paint with blue paint...ect
8.  Letter Days - Similar to "Color Days," For example, the letter "R", wear red cloths, having running races in the hall, read books, pretend to be ravens and rhinos, make up a rap, sit on a rug...ect
9.  Gymnastic Day - Lay blankets on the living floor like a gymnastic mat and do summer salts and "simple" gymnastic routines. Children may love to put on a leotard or leggings and leg warmers...make it fun!
10.  Dance  Party  - Play fun music, dress up and dance, do the hokey pokey, chicken dance...ect
11.  Culture Days - Pick a Culture for example Hmong: Eat egg rolls, Read Hmong Stories, Make a Story cloth (on paper), dress up in costume if possible....There are a ton of resources online for multicultural books and/or activities.
12.  Hospital Day - Pretend to be doctors and nurses, set up a hospital for stuffed animals, make bandages out of toilet paper, check their temperatures, feed them pretend chicken soup....ect
13.  Build Forts - Make your living room into a giant fort, use blankets, couches, chairs...ect. Play in the fort, eat lunch, read books, take a nap "if possible"??
14.  Beach Day - Wear your swimsuits, play in the bath tub, lay towels out on the living room floor, get a small tub of sand and play in the sand at the kitchen table, eat tropical foods...ect
15.  Tour a Grocery Store 
16.  Mall Walk  - take the stroller, a packed lunch and hang out at the mall for the afternoon...(drive to a mall if need be.)
17.  Museums - Go to a museum, many have free days or reduced cost days
18.  Birthday Parties - Get together for birthdays of friends, celebrate and play games, it doesn't have to be a big production, just fun
19.  Dr. PHEOC Days - Dr. PHEOC represents the scientific method....Problem, Hypothesis, Experiment, Observation, Conclusion. You may need to make it very simple, but explore and be scientists. Let you kids wear one of dad's old white shirts with the sleeves rolled up for a lab coat, wear play glasses, use magnifying glasses...ect
20.  Collection Day - Make collections ie. find things in your house that start with "C" and make a pile: (coupons, cookie jar, chair, candle), find all your cars or trucks, find all the pillows, find things that are green...ect. Then of course make the process of putting everything away a game of some sort. 
21.  Laundry Day - As you do laundry dump the clean clothes on the floor and have folding contests, or play peek-a-boo with T-shirts as you fold them (if kiddos are too young too fold. But, help them learn to fold laundry young...even if their folding skills are not great. Don't let them see you re-fold everything they fold if they are helping. Kids are smart, why should they fold if you are going to just re-do it all.)
22. Picnic Day - Eat your meals picnic style on the living room floor. Lay down a big blanket...make fake bugs out of paper if you want too.
23. Make Letters - Make bread dough, edible play-doh, cookie dough or jiggler jello, use letter shaped cookie cutters and cut out letters, make words, spell names....ect. Then bake/let hardern, decorate and eat. Remember this can be healthy....use things like peanut butter, jelly, raisins, fruit pieces and even peas to decorate their creations. Then eat them up!
24.  Drum Circles - Make drums out of ice cream pails, yogurt containers...ect and drum drumming games
25.  Parade Day - Make your own parade for stuffed animals or an audience of your choice to watch. Be creative, use a wagon and make a "float,' dress up, make a band with toy instruments or homemade instruments 
26. Pajama Day-keep your kids in their PJ's all day! This can lead to lots of different activities that you might normally not do. by fellow blogger Christina 
27. Bring Out New Toys-bring out toys the kids haven't seen in awhile and let them go at it! by fellow blogger Christina
28. Bring the Snow Inside - Fill a wash tub with snow. Bring it inside and play with it at the kitchen table, wear gloves and mittens if mini snowmen and other sculptures on a cookie sheet with a large beach towel underneath.  


  1. Pajama Day-keep your kids in their PJ's all day! This can lead to lots of different activities that you might normally not do.

    Bring Out New Toys-bring out toys the kids haven't seen in awhile and let them go at it!

  2. Hello.

    I am a publisher of a new magazine, "First Time Parent" on iTunes and Apple Newsstand. I enjoyed this blog post very much and would like to reprint it in my next "Winter" issue. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.
    Thank you!

    All the best,

    Thank you so much!