When those blustery days spent inside leave your Little itching for screen time, bust out one of these powered-down activities instead. From sporty balloon ball games to playful potions they can mix themselves, these easy activities keep kiddos busy and engaged on a cold day. Keep reading to see them all.
photo: Clang Boom Steam via flickr
1. Have a ball.
Break out those leftover birthday party balloons and let your little athlete play balloon ball games until she runs out of steam. Try balloon basketball (pool noodles make great hoops!). Or grab paper plates and paint sticks to DIY a simple racquet so she can play balloon tennis. We’ve also got balloon soccer (hint: use painters tape to mark the goals on the floor) and balloon baseball on our list.
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
2. Cause a scene.
If clear contact paper isn’t one of your crafting staples yet, add it to your list. Simply mount the contact paper, sticky side facing out, using painter’s tape. Then set out a tray full of winter-themed baubles (think wintery colored sequins, pom moms, ribbon pieces and tissue paper) for your tot. He can use them to build snowmen, snow forts and glittery blizzards on the window over and over again.
3. Deliver tons of fun.
Between all the holiday and New Year’s cards your family receives in December, your Little is all about snail mail. Let him make and send his own special messages to friends and family when you set up a play post office at home this winter. Stock it with plenty of envelopes, stationary he can customize and a DIY stamp template that he’ll need to ensure his mail makes it to its final destination.
photo: The Protagonist Studio via Flickr
4. Get moving.
Pull out that pizza box from Friday night’s casual dinner—its got a job to do! Turn it into the base for your aspiring artist’s active art station, where roll-able objects like matchbox cars and marbles create fridge-ready messy masterpieces. To let your mini-me make one, place a thick piece of paper on the bottom of your box, and have your petite Picasso dip marbles or matchbox car wheels in cups of paint. Then it’s time to let them roll—back and forth over the paper as they make their way from one wall of the box to the other, and back again.
5. Let it snow.
Cutting paper snowflakes is always a favorite winter activity for your sidekick. In fact, you’ve got a whole stack waiting to be strung up or taped to your window right now. Take your excess paper creations and use them to make a crafty snowflake wreath, designed by Erica at What Do We Do All Day. It’s the perfect craft to keep around all winter long!
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
6. Hit the nail on the head.
Grab a pair of safety goggles and put your older artist to work making a string art template. You’ll need a small square of wood, a trusty hammer and a handful of nails to do this project. Then figure out how to easily transfer some of your kiddo’s favorite shapes onto the work surface. It’s okay to stick with easy-to-map-out patterns like circles, squares or triangles too; they work just as well. Then loop colorful floss around the nails making ornate patterns as you go. Creativity’s the name of the game here, and no matter which path your pattern takes, it’ll look amazing!
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
7. Suck it up.
We’re crushing hard on this relay game, and know your Littles will too. All you need is a few packages of Smarties candies, paper plates, and straws. To set up the game, place the paper plates on either end of your playing field, relay-style, a pair for each person. Then empty out one package of Smarties onto the starting end plates. Using the straw and some serious suction, have kiddos transfer all the Smarties from the starting plate to the finish plate, no hands allowed. It’s serious fun that ends with a sweet treat.
photo: Briony via Flickr
8. Hop to it.
Indoor hopscotch is just what your little monkey needs on a blustery winter day. Design a board using painter’s tape on the floor to make the squares and the numbers. Then have your mini-me toss a soft ball or crumpled paper onto a square before she hops from one end to the next. Psst … if you don’t have wood floors, use construction paper pieces to make a colorful playing board that works just as well.
9. Cut the deck.
Help your wiggle worm expend that winter energy. Grab a standard deck and pull out all the face cards, aces and jokers. Then assign a movement to each of the remaining numbers (think: 2=jumping jacks, 3=skipping, 4=touching toes, etc.). Once you’ve got the movements down, give your tot a quick workout by flipping through the deck and calling out the movements as you go. Remember to use the number on the card to let them know how many “reps” they get to do. They’ll be ready for naptime after you make it through the deck!
photo: Bar Rucci via ArtBar
10. Mix up magic.
Make like Snape and transform a dreary winter day into a magical one with a potions station. To set it up, gather open items from your kitchen and bathroom, like shaving cream, lotions, spices and baking soda (extra points for creativity if you label your finds as magical elements, like the eye of newt or crushed beetles). Then give your budding potions master a bowl and a spoon to mix up her wild creations. Check out our favorite pretend magical potion ideas here.
Which activity do you think your kiddo would like to do? Tell us in a Comment below.
— Allison Sutcliffe