Coming up with winter activities for kids isn't always easy. We've compiled a list of creative and eco-friendly ways to keep them occupied during the colder months.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, the winter months can feel like they drag on at a snail’s pace. If you have children, winter may seem even longer. To make the most of the season, we’ve compiled a list of winter activities for kids to keep them occupied throughout the colder months.
Winter Activities for Children in the Snow
For those living in areas where snowfall is abundant, there are so many exciting winter activities your kids can enjoy. Some may require adult assistance, but they’ll be well worth it.
- Snow Paint: Add natural food dyes to cups filled with snow, and have your kids use these new paints to make watercolor pictures.
- Yeti Footprints: Using leftover cardboard, cut out large footprints and attach them to your kid’s boots. Let them go rogue in the backyard or the park and watch their faces light up as they create giant footprints in the snow. When you’re finished, you can compost the wet cardboard.
- Snow Volcano: This winter activity lets kids get creative with their snow-sculpting skills. Have them make a large volcano-shaped sculpture out of snow, and then combine baking soda, vinegar, and some natural easter egg dye for color in the middle and watch it erupt.
- Outdoor Winter Playdate: Have your kids invite some friends over to play out in the snow. While they’re out enjoying themselves, you can prepare some homemade hot cocoa for when they come back inside to help warm them up.
- Shovel a Neighbor’s Sidewalk: Depending on the age of your kids, you can teach them how to pay it forward by having them complete this random act of kindness.
- Go Sledding: This is one of the most beloved winter activities for kids. If you don’t already own a sled, ask friends or family if you can borrow one or look to buy one second-hand.
- Snow Spray Paint: Fill reusable spray bottles with colored water and watch your little one make art outdoors using the snow as their canvas.
Outdoor Winter Activities for Children
You don’t need snow to enjoy spending time outdoors in the winter. Some enjoy winter much more when there isn’t much snow around. These winter activities for kids can be done no matter which climate you find yourself in.
- Make Frozen Suncatchers: Collect natural items like berries, twigs, branches, pinecones, or flowers. Place them in a pie plate and fill it with water, then store in the freezer until frozen through. Remove from the pie plate and hang your creations from a tree branch outside and watch the sun glint off the ice.
- Visit a National Park: We’ve listed the 10 best national parks to visit in winter, but they aren’t the only ones to go and see. Get out and visit a national or state park, as they are bound to be much quieter than in the summer months. Hiking in the winter can be just as fun!
- See the Lights: Go for a walk to see all the decorated houses in your neighborhood. Many people don’t take down their Christmas lights/decorations until the winter is over, so you can enjoy this activity for several months. Winter is also a great time for stargazing, as the nights are so long. Stargaze in your backyard, or head to a dark sky park for ultimate views.
- Identify Trees: Winter is an ideal time to learn more about the trees in your area, particularly evergreen trees. Tree bark identification is one method, but you can also recognize trees by their needles. You can download a free tree identification app to help you learn more about them or read some books about trees.
- Freezing Bubbles: Bubbles are a fun activity at any time of the year, but blowing bubbles in the winter brings an extra element of fun as you can watch them freeze. This winter activity for kids does require cold temperatures — 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Check out our 3 bubble solution recipes.
- Plan a Winter Scavenger Hunt: There are unlimited online resources for scavenger hunts, and they can be tailored to suit the age range of your kids. Consider adding a prize element to create some friendly competition between kids.
Indoor Winter Activities for Kids
Sometimes the days are just too cold, or the weather is too poor to head outside to play. Luckily there are several indoor winter activities for kids that are just as fun as their outdoor counterparts.
- DIY Bird Feeder: Our feathered friends need help in the colder months to get the right amount of food. Have your kids make some homemade suet for birds – it will keep them occupied, and it will also provide a much-needed food source for local wildlife.
- Make Maple Taffy: Although this recipe feels more wintery when snow is used, you can achieve the same results without it. Maple taffy is a popular treat throughout the winter months in New England and Canada, but you can enjoy it right at home.
- Brew Evergreen Tea: This winter activity for kids does involve going outside, so you can incorporate it with another activity, like a winter scavenger hunt. Once you’ve foraged for spruce tips, you can brew some tea to get a healthy dose of vitamin C. Use ½ cup of spruce tips for every 3 cups of water and steep for approximately 10 minutes. If you have some needles left over, learn more about other ways to use pine tree needles.
- Create a Winter Garland for Wildlife: Birds aren’t the only ones that need some extra nutrients throughout the winter months. Make a garland of food using items like popcorn, dried fruit, or even some pinecones with peanut butter.
- Bake Festive Cookies: Certain flavor combinations are synonymous with winter, so lean into that and enjoy baking as a winter activity for kids. Try our vegan Christmas cookies, no-bake Christmas treats, vegan peppermint chocolate cookies, or vegan gingerbread cookies.
- Go Camping: Set up your tent in the living room or basement and enjoy an indoor camping experience complete with sing-a-longs and s’mores. This will help keep your children entertained and allow you to start planning for the next time you go camping as a family.
- Get your DIY on and make some colorful paper stars. These origami crafts make great decorations all winter or use holiday-themed paper to make them Christmas stars.
- The Ultimate Sustainable Camping Packing List
- Salt Dough Ornaments Recipe: A Fun Holiday Project for Kids of All Ages
- Eco-Friendly Toys for Kids: 5 Sustainable Gift Ideas
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