Ideas to Keep your Kids Entertained During the Winter

December 28th, 2010 in Crafts, Friday: Play!, party time

Hello those of you visiting from CBS Channel 2 News! To go along with my segment this morning I wanted to re-post this long list of ideas that I posted last year to keep your kids entertained during the winter.

Last year around this time I asked my blog readers….

What activities do you do with your kids when you are stuck in the house during cold weather?

(You know, so you don’t LOSE YOUR MIND)

Here are all the wonderful ideas you all submitted last year:

1.Buy games and tuck them away just for the cold months

2. Collect new cookie recipes. Let them choose one each to use on cold “Cookie Days”

3. Lego competitions. Set the timer and then start building. Everyone is a winner for the best of something, like the most creative or the biggest. Put a star label next to the Lego creation of what category they won. Take pictures of the family member with the prize Lego creation to put in a scrap book for another day when stuck inside.

4. With your kids, go into the pantry and fridge and pull out all the ingredients that look good to you. Go to http://www.supercook.com/ and type in your list of available ingredients. It comes up with a fantastic recipe for everyone to cook together!

5. Make collages. Give them a glue stick, old magazines, and any large sheets of paper (easel paper, construction paper, even newspaper works) and it will keep them busy for awhile.

5. Forts:

-Build a fort out of furniture, blankets, and sheets. Imagine with your kids and create an undercover world complete with tunnels and little rooms. Make it as big as you can and then spend the day in your little world. Bring in pillows and flashlights, dolls and stuffed animals. Read books. Bake cookies and eat them inside your fort. Bring in popcorn and a movie on a DVD player and make it a movie theater. Pretend that you are knights and princesses in a castle. Pretend you are animals inside your dens or that you live in a magical world.

-Make a giant blanket fort in the biggest room of your house! First take your dining room chairs and randomly place them in your open room. Second, grab a lot of rubber bands (newspaper rubber bands work the best for us!) Last, get all of your blankets and comforters out of the closet and tie them with the rubber bands to the tops of the chairs. Enjoy army crawls and tea parties all under the new sky line!

6. Go into the toy room and make discoveries — “That’s my FAVORITE toy! I didn’t know where it went!”

7. Puppet shows.

8. Have tea parties (lots of warm drinks with honey).

9.Lay out a blanket and have a picnic in front of the warm fire.

10. Bake yummy foods that keep the house warm and good smelling.

11. Play with yarn and lots of material.

12. Family drawing time.

13. Give the dolls and toys warm baths (scrub downs in a sink of warm bubbly water).

14. Hold dance parties in your living room.

15. Have surprise birthday parties when it’s no one’s birthday.

16. Hold a tea party in the bathtub

17. Take very long baths where the toys equal the amount of water in the tub.

18. Clear all the furniture out of a big room and lay out your picnic blanket. Sit on the blanket while you pop popcorn in the middle–with the lid off! It doesn’t
get much more fun than a dining room full of popcorn on a rainy day.

19. Build a castle out of a box.

20. Turn your baby pool into a ball pit.

21. Scavenger hunts and treasure hunts with different ideas each time. Find different colored leaves. Find a round rock and paint a face on it. Draw a picture and take it to a neighbor. Practice writing the alphabet or phone #’s . Try to incorporate learning letters, cooking, painting etc. so that it would take a little while to complete. At the end of the hunt have a small prize that you have bought ahead of time. Or even have the prize be running through the sprinklers, going to the park or other fun things close to where you live. You can make the treasure hunt to help your kids make their chores fun and not so boring. Sing a song while you empty the trash or have them close their eyes while making their beds.

23. A grand tea party where every stuffed animal and doll is invited. Everyone dresses up and maybe creates hats to wear. You make tiny food to eat. You read books and dance to music.

24. Invite good friends over for the day and create a castle out of gigantic boxes and add tunnels to crawl through, almost like a maze. Hopefully you have an empty basement or a large room to do this in, so it can be kept up for a while. The children could decorate/draw art on the outside of the boxes. You could turn out the lights and the kids could use flashlights to find their way around in the dark.

25. Plan a day when you do things different- backwards, such as dessert first. Or have breakfast for dinner.

26. Have a reward day for good work. Organize one closet or clean the fridge and have a reward – watch a movie, go to the movies, make a favorite treat.

27. Make up a musical play and put on a show for parents or friends.

28. Go through your clothing or stuff and gather items to donate to charity.

29. Have a day where you learn about another country and plan a small celebration.

30. Pull out a new coloring book.

31. Memory games

32. “Secret projects” for daddy. Do art projects for daddy to find when he gets home. Choose work that teaches/reinforces colors & shapes for toddlers.

33. Let the kids decorate the floor with masking tape (you can usually find a roll for $1 -2). After they’re done make letters, numbers, and shapes. Play games like “who can find the circle” and have them run to stand on it.

34. Get old toothbrushes and a bowl of soapy water and let them ‘clean money’. They just love to scrub at it and to play in the water.

35. Make homemade play dough. Each kid can have their own color and use cookie cutters to play with it.

36. Crafts: Buy a plastic file folder box. Inside, put construction paper, beans, beads, feathers, markers, glue, popsicle sticks, foam shapes, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, water paint, etc. Pull it out to make lunch bag puppets, music shakers, pictures, story books, or anything random.

37. “Fairy forts.” Dress up in your fairy wings and dress up clothes and have a picnic in your fairy forts.

38. Finger paint with pudding.

39. Make a suncatcher.

40. Read.

41. Play vocabulary building games online at sparklebox.

42. Draw and doodle.

43. Have your kids look at old photos of themselves.

44. Another treasure hunt idea: Start by drawing a map of your house. Plant clues. Dressing up is optional- though definitely encouraged. Have the prize be anything from snacks to letting them wear your real jewelry for a day!

45. Play school or have a grocery store using items from the pantry.

46. Decorate window with winter-themed stick-ons.

47. Make a fun chore day complete with fun prizes.

48. Watch a movie or two with fun snacks!

49. Playdate exchanges with other parents taking turns is fun. The children have lunch and play while the parents talk and have lunch

50. Rearrange the rooms ( bedrooms ) of the children.

51. Finger-paint.

52. Muffin pan meals.

53. Prepare holiday shaped paper for kids to scribble or stamp on.

54. Save milk and juice jugs. Organize pasta, clothespins (anything that’s not a choking hazard) and let them put the pieces back and forth between different containers.

55. Build tall towers with blocks, turn on the record player and have a dance party knocking over the tall towers.

And for the top three ideas I thought were the cleverest, with #1 being the winner!

#3Get inside your fort and then turn on the TV. But turn the sound down. Then turn on the radio or a cd, as if the cd/radio is the soundtrack for the SpongeBob or whatever you’re watching. The ways it can match up are hilarious and the kids think it’s so funny.

#2Plan a whole indoor camping experience for the kids. Make forts, do indoor friendly smores [using spreadable marshmallow cream and a microwave] and project movies on the wall. It’s almost like you are camping in the summer!

#1 Have a carnival. Drugstores sell a huge roll of tickets (like 1000 tickets for $4.00). The kids set up their own booth. Have hula-hooping, snacks, dropping a ball into a vase, hop scotch on the rug outlined in masking tape, a coloring booth, etc. Have new activities each time and let your kids run it.

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21 Responses to “Ideas to Keep your Kids Entertained During the Winter”

  • Emily H.
    December 28th, 2010 at 6:09 am

    What a great list! But wait, aren’t you going on tomorrow? I am SO confused! ;)

  • Betsy
    December 28th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    What GREAT ideas! I think we may have to test out few!

  • Rochelle
    December 29th, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Amazing ideas! Fun!

  • Amy D
    December 30th, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Love the ideas you shared Vanessa. Thanks!

  • Susan
    January 10th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    What a lot of good ideas. Thank you. Please add my e-mail address to get your blog. Susan steveac@bellsouth.net

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