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As I sit here writing this, it’s Winter Break in my neck of the woods so my Kindergartener + 3-year-old preschooler are home ALL. DAY. LONG. EVERYDAY.
This means that the baby’s schedule is all off, too.
Fret not my mommy friends. Here are 101 Winter Break activities you can do with your young kids so nobody dies before heading back to school.
#1 Build a Snowman
If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have snow, dress your kiddos in their snow gear and head outside to build a snowman.
Most kids love to help in the kitchen. Let them help you bake cookies or a cake. Give them “safe” activities to do like adding some ingredients or stirring and mixing.
Leave popping your masterpiece in the oven to the adults.
#3 Arts + Crafts
Buy or bring out that craft project you’ve been hiding in the closet. I’ve been saving our Gingerbread House for Winter Break.
Coloring books or plain white or construction paper, crayons, markers or watercolor paint are also great winter day supplies for arts and crafts.
#4 Museum Musings
We have the privilege of living near Washington DC so we have free access to great Smithsonian museums. Pack up the kiddos (don’t forget snacks and drinks) and head out to a local or nearby museum for the day.
Children’s museums might be your best option. Please touch museums are likely the most fun!
I’m an avid reader and my kids love books, too. Turn off the TV. Put away the iPads, phones, and Kindle and read some good old-fashioned tangible books! A Mighty Girl did a 2018 year in review of books that are separated by age + have some great options.
See #6 for other great options in this area.
#6 Check Out the Library
Both in Florida and here in Virginia, I’ve been blessed with wonderful library systems. Check out your local library. Libraries often have creative and imaginative children’s programs.
We’ve done everything from music programs to building your own car out of a cardboard box and supplies so you can watch a movie at the “drive-in.”
Even if the libraries don’t have something going on the day you’re seeking refuge, take your kids to the library. Some libraries have play areas and activity areas in the children’s section. Have them check out books or read a stack of books there! Check out DVDs and watch a movie at home that isn’t on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
#7 Make a Floor Bed + Watch a Movie
Especially when it is a cold, help your kids make a bed on the living room floor with blankets and pillows. Snuggle up together and watch a kid flick.
Add popcorn, of course.
We do this frequently with our kids, cold or not. They love it!
#8 Build a Blanket Fort/Tent
Along similar lines, use chairs and blankets to build a fort — you know, like you did when you were a kid. Bring in the flashlights, books, toys or whatever. Hang out in your tent for a while.
#9 Eat Under the Table
My middle daughter (+ the dog) love to hang out under the dining room table. Our table always has a tablecloth of some kind so it’s a little like a fort/tent for them. (I suspect the dog is there for the food, but…)
Make breakfast, lunch, or even dinner, climb under the table with your kiddos to eat!
#10 Host a Playdate
Odds are you aren’t the only mommy or set of kids about to lose their mind. Invite your mommy friends and their kids over for a playdate.
If you’re really lucky, one or more of your kids’ friends will invite them over to their house, instead, for a playdate. (This happened for my oldest today so she is at her friend’s house as I type this.)
#11 See a Hockey Game
My girls love to watch hockey. We watch it on TV. We take them to hockey games. They even watch my husband play hockey with his amateur hockey team.
#12 Have a Dance Party
Put your fave tunes on your phone, radio, or SmarTV + JUST dance. My girls love to dance + sing so this is always a big hit for at least a few songs.
#13 Take a Walk/Hike
It might be a little cold outside but you can still bundle up + take a walk. Walk a nearby trail or a trail in your neighborhood. If you have sidewalks, simply take a stroll around your neighborhood.
Check out the animals that are left roaming around in the winter weather. Remark on the condition of the trees, plants + bushes now that the winter weather has set in.
#14 Host a Tea Party
Set up your kid table + chairs. Put on some fancy duds. Serve “tea” from a teapot in teacups. Use a real tea set or plastic kid one–your call.
Pull out + put together that puzzle that’s been hanging out on the shelf. My girls especially enjoy the big, huge floor puzzles. They seem to equally enjoy the smaller ones that we can do on the floor or the table.
#16 Play a Game
Play a board or card game that is age appropriate. My kids got a deck of Go Fish cards for Christmas from my sister-in-law. It was good for a few hands of Go Fish with each of the older two girls before they went back into the box.
#17 Paint Rocks
My oldest received a rock painting kit for her birthday. This provided hours of fun for the two older girls. You can just as easily use rocks you find outside along with the paint, brushes + art supplies you already have to decorate the rocks. Take them with you on your next walk to place in “public.”
#18 Go See the Lights
Find the best houses or neighborhood in town. Load everyone into the car + take a tour of the lights around the holidays. My kids only lasted for about 4 or so houses this year but they truly enjoyed checking out all of the festive lights + decorations. Some of the houses really went all out!
#19 Drink Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows
Buy + make hot cocoa with the mini marshmallows already in it or add your own! Make sure it cools off enough so the kiddos can drink it without burning their mouths but this is big, tasty fun for all ages.
#20 Go Ice Skating
Indoor ice rinks are just as fun as outdoor ones so find one in your area + don some skates with the kids. Even if your kiddos aren’t able to do it on their own, most rinks have walker-type things they can use to help support them while they skate on the ice. Pack their bike helmets for safety!
#21 (Carefully) Roast Marshmallows
Roast marshmallows over your fireplace or outside fire pit. My kids don’t really like the taste of the roasted marshmallows but think roasting them is a ton of fun.
#22 Have PJ Day
Stay in your PJs all day!
#23 Donate Toys
Spend a day or half a day cleaning out your child’s room. Throw away old + broken toys. Put toys that you can donate in a box. Drop it off at Goodwill or a local women’s shelter. This clears the clutter + can make room for new items that might be coming their way at Christmastime.
#24 Gaze at the Stars
Head out on a clear night to do some stargazing. My girls also get a big kick out of the moon–especially when it is “following” us as we drive in the car.
#25 Pop Popcorn
Buy old fashioned popcorn kernels. Put some oil in a big pot. Add the kernels + a pot top. Your kids will get a big kick out of watching the kernels pop + explode into fluffy popcorn they can eat in front of the fire or while you snuggle in to watch a movie.
#26 Visit the Fire Station
Set up a tour/visit to your local fire station. You can also be on the lookout for the dates that they offer these. They usually let the kids tour the firestation + climb around on the truck. Sometimes they even offer a fire safety talk + dress up in their uniforms + gear so the kids can see what they look like in it + learn the use for each piece of equipment.
#27 Watch Planes Land + Take Off
We have a couple airports close by + a couple of spots where you can park the car to watch takeoffs + landings. Positioned correctly, the planes literally take off + come in for a landing RIGHT over your vehicle.
#28 Build It at Home Depot
Home Depot offers free kids classes on some Saturday mornings. Check the schedule for your local store. Kids build something new at each class, which is a great way for them to get some hands-on experience with tools.
#29 Indoor Play Places
When it’s cold outside, it can be hard to head to a playground, which makes indoor play spaces great! Our local rec center has low-cost indoor play days. where they set up soft obstacle courses for kids that are crawling up to about age 5.
Paid indoor play places are also a fun option.
#30 Scavenger Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt + have your kids search the house for the items on your list. If it’s a nice enough day, this is also easy to do outside for items they can find naturally (a funny-shaped twig, a leftover leaf, etc.).
#31 Eat Ice Cream Sundaes
Build ice cream sundaes. Add sprinkles, fudge, or your favorite toppings to your fave flavor of ice cream + enjoy a cold treat on a cold day.
#32 Make Shadow Puppets
You can open the shades to let the sunshine in or head outside + use the natural light to make shadow puppets.
#33 Build Indoor Snowmen
Use marshmallows, stick pretzels + chocolate chips to build edible snowmen. You can also opt for the non-edible kind with glue, pom poms, felt + twigs.
#34 Have a Snowball Fight
If you have a snowy day have a snowball fight.
#35 Go Sledding
Another snowy day activity, go sledding down a hill.
#36 Make Smores
Roast marshmallows. Add graham crackers + chocolate bar pieces to make smores.
#37 Swim Indoors
Head to a local swim place, rec center, or indoor pool for some indoor swimming.
#38 Take a Bubble Bath
Put on your bathing suits and take a bubble bath. Add bath or pool toys for some extra special fun.
#39 Make a Rainbow
Add food coloring to pasta + then add the pasta to a sensory table or big plastic bin. Put cups, measuring cups + scoopers for some homemade sensory fun.
#40 Decorate a Cardboard Box
Decorate a cardboard box any way you like. Turn it into a car + then watch a movie in a drive-in theater. Create an aquarium. Build a house.
#41 Make Paper Dolls
Cut out paper dolls + clothes. Color + decorate the clothes. Dress the dolls.
#42 Go to the Movies
Find a crybaby matinee or a movie for kids playing at the theater. Take the kids to the movies. Most have seats for kids to sit in the movie seats without them folding up on them + it doesn’t matter if there’s chatter, meltdowns, or fidgeting.
#43 Create a Picture Book
Fold + staple or put a ribbon spine on some paper to create your own book. Have your kids color the pages as you write your own story with them.
#44 Play with a Doodle Mat
Use a large clear plastic shower curtain. Place it on the floor + give your kids dry erase markers for their own giant doodle mat.
#45 Kiddie Pool Ball Pit
Drag the kiddie pool inside. Fill it with plastic balls, pom poms, balloons or cotton balls for some ball pit fun.
#46 Make Crayon Wands/Shapes
Gather up + melt all of your old, broken crayons. Soak straws in the melted crayons + let dry. You can also use cookie cutter to shape the crayons into hearts, stars, etc. so they can color with fun-shaped crayons.
#47 Paint in the Tub
Buy or make bathtub paint. Let them paint in the bathtub + just wash it away when they’re done.
#48 Make Wrapping Paper Roll Swords
Turn wrapping paper rolls into swords. Decorate the tubes as you wish + then have a sword fight.
#49 Have a Pillow Fight
Bring out the big bed pillows to have a pillow fight.
#50 Indoor Hopscotch
Make an indoor hopscotch mat to play hopscotch. When you’re don playing with it, roll it up + put away for later.
#51 Pots, Pans + Spoons Band
Make music with items you find in the kitchen–like pots, pans + spoons.
#52 Backwards Day
Eat breakfast foods for dinner + dress with your clothes on backwards. It’s sure to bring out the giggles.
#53 Make an Activity Jar
Use slips of paper + a jar or large craft popsicle sticks + a jar. Help your kids write down activities or chores on the sticks or slips of paper. Put them in the jar. On a day when they say they are bored, have them pick an activity from the jar.
#54 Jump Rope
Bring out the jump rope + skip rope. Clear enough space so they don’t knock anything down in their efforts!
#55 Cuddle in Front of the Fireplace
Snuggle up in a blanket bed in front of the fireplace. Read, watch a movie or take a nap.
#56 Ice Experiments
Fill different containers with water. Add food coloring + put them in the freezer. The kids are fascinated as it transforms into colored ice. Let the ice melt for colored water.
#57 Plant an Inside Garden
Gather pots or a planter, potting soil, seeds or flowers. Help your kids plant a garden + watch it grow.
#58 Make Playdough
Homemade playdough can be fun to make with the kids. Then, you can play with it!
#59 Bowl at Home
Set up plastic jugs or a tower of plastic cups like bowling pins. Have them roll a ball to knock them down.
#60 Go Bowling
Head to your local bowling alley to play a couple frames of bowling.
#61 Paper Plate Ring Toss
Cut out the center of paper plates to make the rings. Create the tower by taping a paper towel or toilet paper roll to the center of a paper plate. Play ring toss.
#62 Pop Bubble Wrap
Save up the pieces of bubble wrap that come with your package deliveries or buy some rolls of bubble wrap that you can roll out. My kids love to jump up + down, run + jump + pop the bubble wrap with their hands.
#63 Freeze Bubbles
Blow bubbles and place them in a container, on the bowl of a spoon or on the bubble wand. Place the bubble or bubbles in the freezer.
#64 Help with Chores
I’m not sure how long this will last but my 3-year-old + 5-year-old love helping with chores! They put their own clothes away, help put away the dishes (like silverware) + vacuum. You’ll have to choose age-appropriate chores but it’s like a game to them.
#65 Rubber Band Can
Use colored rubber bands and have the kids stack them around a tin can. This is great fun, builds a rainbow + is good for sensory motor skills.
#66 Ribbons in a Bottle
Cut different ribbons into strips. Kids can spend hours trying to push the strips into the small neck of a plastic bottle. As an added bonus, this is a great activity for fine motor skills.
#67 Magnet Fun
Use a magnetic easel or your refrigerador. Use letter, animal + shape magnets to teach your kids their letters, shapes, colors + animals! My girls also have doll magnets that they can dress up with magnet clothing, shoes + accessories. Not only is this a great activity for home but also makes a great road trip activity.
#68 Pom Poms Through a Tube
Tape a paper towel roll to the wall (at the height your child or children can reach). Put a bowl, bucket, or bin on the floor under the roll opening. Have them drop colored pom poms through the top of the tube so it lands in the bowl underneath.
#69 See a Play
Find a kid-friendly production (like the Nutcracker or Cinderella) in your area. Take the kids to a live theater production.
#70 Cotton Ball Snow Art
Help your kids create snow art with cotton balls, construction paper + glue. They can make snowy clouds, snow balls or snowy scenes with the fluffy fun stuff.
#71 Sponge Paint
Cut up sponges. Give the kids some paint + construction paper. Let them create picture with the sponges dipped in paint. You can glue on googly eyes, ribbon, glitter or sequins to complete the pictures.
#72 Make a Bagel Bird Feeder
Tie a string through the hole of half a bagel. Spread peanut butter or nutter butter on both sides of the half bagel. Cover with birdseed. Hang from a tree to watch the birds that have stuck around for the winter have a feast!
#73 Duct Tape Ball
Make a ball out of colored duct tape. You might have to start out the center of the ball + then help them wrap pieces of tape around it to create a ball.
#74 Washi Tape Art
Give them different color rolls of washi tape. Have them apply strips of washi tape to pictures to add new elements to the pictures, such as a fence to a picture of a farm or whiskers to a cat picture. You can buy a reusable activity book + washi tape set by Melissa and Doug.
#75 Build Painter’s Tape Tracks/Town
Use painter’s tape to build a roadway, track or an entire town on the floor. Your kids can use their own feet, toy cars, trucks + vehicles to play on the pretend track or town.
#76 Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground
Blow up a balloon + pass it back + forth to each other. Don’t let the balloon hit the ground. A variation of this is balloon volleyball. You can use a string tied to two chairs to create the volleyball net.
#77 Walk Like a Penguin
Blow up a balloon. Have your kids put it between their legs to walk across the room like a penguin.
#78 Build an Igloo
Give your kids a plate, a stack of ice cubes, a paintbrush + small cup of water. Have them build an igloo. They can use the water between the cubes to help get the ice cubes to stick together.
#79 Make a Letter Book
Use a notebook or binder with clear protector sheets. Print, draw or create each of the letters of the alphabet. Have your kids color + decorate each letter. Find object pictures or draw objects on the sheet for each letter that starts with that letter. Assemble the letters in order in the book.
#80 Listen to an Audiobook
While you’re crafting, drawing, riding in the car or just hanging out, listen to an audio book for kids. My kids especially love the nighttime audiobook that helps them fall asleep but any kids’ book will do. You can buy the books from places like Audible or borrow them from the library to download on one of your devices (like an iPad or smartphone).
#81 Play Dress Up
Whether you drag out the costumes or dress up clothes your kids have or give them yours or your husband’s clothes + shoes, dress up can provide hours of entertainment. They change outfits a million + one times + they role play with each of the different costumes they wear.
#82 Ping Pong Ball Catch
Use Solo cups + a small ball. Toss the ball + have your kids try to catch it in their Solo cup (doesn’t have to be a red Solo cup).
#83 Silly Selfies
Take silly selfies of you with your child or kids or have them take their own selfies (which is silly enough as it is). Print out the pictures onto paper + let them draw on their faces (making hats, mustaches, makeup, etc.).
#84 Puzzle Piece Hunt
Hide all of the pieces of a wooden puzzle around the house. Have your children hunt for the pieces + then match them back to the slot where the piece goes on the board.
#85 Paint Chip/Color Match
Pick up some strips of paint chips from your local hardware or paint store. You can also use construction paper. Have your kids hunt around the house to find items that match as closely as possible to each color. You can set a timer on your phone or the stove to see who can match the most items in a short period of time.
#86 Crepe Paper Maze
Tape crepe paper strips across a hallway to create a “Mission Impossible” type maze. Have the kids try to get through the openings of the crepe paper strips without touching or breaking the strips.
#87 Island Hop
Make islands around the living room using pillows, blankets or other items. In between islands is the water. The kids can hop from island to island. If they touch the floor they fall in the “water.”
#88 Laundry Basket Basketball
Have the kids shoot “hoops” with any type of ball into a laundry basket. Of course, if you have an indoor kids’ basketball hoop, you can use this instead!
#89 Dryer Sheet Ice Skating
Put one dryer sheet under each foot to create “ice skates.” Kids can skate around on a bare floor without scratching it.
#90 Make a Calendar
This is a great way to teach your kids the months of the year + the days of the week. You can make the calendar sheets yourself or print blank ones from online. Help your kids to write the name of the month + the days of the month in the right slots. Have them decorate the month with stickers or drawings that represent holidays or special dates of the month.
#91 Pillowcase Race
Kids fit perfectly into a pillowcase for a pillowcase race (like an old-fashioned potato sack race). You can use painter’s tape or masking tape to mark the finish line on the floor.
#92 Blow Bubbles
Bring out the bubbles + all of the fun bubble wands. Have an inside bubble blowing par-tay! Turn up the music + dance with the bubbles. See who can catch the most bubbles, catch one of their nose, toe or other body part + who can pop the most bubbles. Added bonus, popping bubbles may help clean parts of your house–gratis 🙂
#93 Parachute Sheet
Parachute play is always a fun activity at birthday parties for kids. Turn a top sheet into a parachute. Have the kids + adults grab each corner for some parachute play + fun!
#94 Action Dice
Make dice out of cardboard boxes (big + small enough for little kids to roll). Write + draw activities on each side of the dice (Do 5 jumping jacks, skip in place for 3 seconds, do 2 push ups, etc.). Take turns rolling the dice + completing the actions.
You can also do themes, such as animals. Draw or print, cut + paste an animal on each side of the dice. They have to act like the animal they roll.
#95 Fashion Show
This can be fun with new clothes that the kids just received or costumes/dress up clothes. Everyone dresses up + there’s an adult announcer. You announce the fashion show as each child takes their turn walking the runway.
#96 Go on a Bear Hunt
You can read “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” first, or not. Hide a stuffed teddy bear around your house. Have the kids search + hunt for it. You can tell them if they are hot or cold to help them find where you hide it.
#97 Musical Chairs/Spaces
Use kid-size chairs felt circles or even wash cloths to make “spaces.” Play a game of musical chairs.
#98 Walk Like a __________
Pick different animals + walk down the hall or around the house like that animal. Some options can include people walking such as like a ballerina or a baby. Dinosaur, elephant, frog, + penguin are fun options.
#99 Cosmic Yoga
Turn on YouTube videos of Cosmic Yoga episodes. Your kids will spend hours following along doing yoga poses with the out-of-this-world yoga instructor.
You can also opt to do some yoga poses with your kiddos. It can help you relax + your kiddos will get a big kick out contorting their bodies into animal poses. If you head on over to Jen Reviews, you can find a pretty comprehensive guide Yoga for Kids — poses included 🙂
#100 Camp Inside
If you have the room to erect your real tent, go for it! Otherwise, you can use the blanket fort or a bed fort for a camping experience. The kids can sleep in the “tent” in their own room or the living room, complete with sleeping bags + pillows.
#101 Pom Pom/Button Tin
Use a muffin tin. Cut + place colored paper in the bottom of each tin. Give the kids a bunch of buttons or poms poms. Have them sort + match the color of the buttons or pom poms to the color of the paper in the bottom of the tin.
You can download the 101 Winter Bucket List for Young Kids + check off your items as you complete them!