Winter is full of wonders. Especially when your child is first old enough to enjoy the seasons, it can be absolutely breathtaking for them to witness their first snow, to check out icicles on the back porch, or to make their first snowman.
But as the months go on, it can become monotonous to look out the window and see white. When it seems like there’s no where to go and nothing to do with your energetic toddler, try out some of these fun winter activities to stay occupied!
There are literally thousands of ideas for DIY sensory bins on the internet! Just browse until you find one that is doable for you and would excite your child. There are ideas for every interest imaginable, and many are so simple to create and can keep your child entertained for hours on end! Just think of all the TV you can watch while your kid learns with no effort on your part.
Build a Fort
On a blustery day there is nothing more fun than building a fort with blankets and chairs. Your child will use their imagination in numerous ways, and you might get to score a nap out of the deal! When your fort is done, you could turn on a good movie, or just bring their toys inside and hang out together. Anything you do will be fun in a fort!
Send Them Into the Snow
If the day isn’t too horrendous and the wind is low, bundle that toddler up and send him out into the snow. One of my favorite parts about snow when my toddler was just learning to run around was that he couldn’t go quickly or far when there was a foot of snow on the ground. I could just send him out the back door and know he wasn’t going to go far. An added bonus was that I could hear his boots crunching in the snow. If you don’t have good outside toys, bath toys work great for snow. Set up a few on the back porch and let your child scoop and play with all the snow.
I found this activity about few years ago and it’s changed our life! It’s amazing how much more exciting a bath can become when it’s all one color. Some days I don’t put a lot of effort into it and I just squirt some food coloring in with the water and soap… but there are other days I get very into it. I collect all the water proof toys in the house of a certain color, dye the water, and make bath paints (out of shaving cream… see activity below!) all of one color. We started doing this when my toddler was barely 1 and he learned his colors really quickly after we began. He is 3 now, but he still enjoys the fun of having a colored bath every once in awhile. This is also perfect for a chilled day as they can keep warm and toasty in a hot bath while also learning and having fun.
This activity really only works on a very cold and frigid day (under 12 degrees) and with no wind. To learn all about how to make them, check out this post.
Build a Snowman Together
There’s just something magical about making a man out of snow. Collect some items to decorate your snow human with (hat, gloves, carrot, buttons, etc.) and help your toddler make a little snow buddy. Better yet, read Frosty the Snowman before you do this! They will love imagining that Frosty is their best friend while they play outside.
Snuggle Up With a Good Book
There’s nothing more wonderful to do in cold weather than to snuggle up with a blanket on the couch and enjoy a book. If you want to, go to the library to collect some new reads, then cuddle into the couch corner together and explore other worlds while you keep warm.
Make Snow Ice Cream
Quite honestly, I thought this idea sounded disgusting. But last winter we were SO bored and desperate for something to do. We tried out this recipe and it was so tasty! My toddler loved collecting the snow for it and helping mix in the sprinkles before he ate it. It was seriously delicious and so easy to make!
Make a Ball Pit
If you have a kiddie pool sitting in the garage from last summer, wipe it down with a wet rag, then fill it with plastic balls. Voila! DIY ball pit! If you don’t have, or can’t afford, plastic balls, just fill it with toys. It will give your kids somewhere new to play.
Have a Movie Day
Just like reading books, there’s something magical about snuggling on the couch and watching a classic movie. Pop some popcorn, grab your favorite candies, and snuggle in for a film. If you want to be a super cool mom, let them skip nap time one day and do this instead.
Shaving Cream Bath Paint
This is one of my favorite things to do when we have color baths, but you can use at any time and store them in the linen closet if you make it in bulk! Simply add food coloring to shaving cream and give your child a paintbrush. They won’t ruin anything in your bathroom with it and it will provide endless amounts of play time in the tub.
I have to laugh every time I think about how well this entertained my 2 year old. It was actually an accident! I gave him a bowl and a spoon to collect some snow for when we made snow ice cream. Every day afterwards, he asked for a bowl and a spoon to take outside. He would fill that bowl with snow and then dump, and repeat that the entire time he was playing in the snow (and of course he grabbed a few spoonfuls for snacks in between). It was amazing how much this excited him so I figured it was worth adding to the list!
Grab some empty spray bottles at the general store. Fill with cold water and food coloring. Send your kid outside with them and they can paint pictures in the snow! It’s such an easy and fun way to explore their creativity when chalk is out of the question.
Hot Cocoa Tea Party
Make a big batch of hot cocoa, grab some graham crackers and marshmallows, and sit down to a formal “tea” party”. Add in a game like Candy Land or Hi Ho Cheerio and you’re all set for an afternoon of fun.
We love to whip out the coloring books when we get bored. Focus on improving your child’s fine motor skills and teaching their colors.
Go to the Library
There’s no better way to spend your time than at the local library. It’s a great lesson in responsibility for kids to have to return their books on time and take good care of books that don’t belong to them. It’s also wonderful to expand their horizons with books you may not have purchased yourself. They can learn about other cultures, families, and all about how the world works! There’s no better season than winter to get to the library more often. When the world slows down around you, fill it with exciting stories.
And of course, play dough is always a good option, regardless of the season. Motor skills, creativity, and color identification are all great benefits of playing with play dough together. To add to the fun, get out some cookie cutters and let them cut out different shapes!