When the cold weather hits and you’ve done all the sledding and snowman building your body can handle, refer to this list of indoor activities you can do as a family to keep the fun alive all winter long!
1. Homemade play dough
Not just for toddlers, family members of all ages can delight in making and playing with this soft and squishy stuff. (In fact, playing with it has been proven to actually relieve stress in adults!) Here’s an easy, reliable, no-cook method.
2. Science experiments
If you are looking for a hands-on activity of the educational variety, there’s nothing like scientific experimentation with the kids! Here is a fantastic list of ideas, most of which you can make using common household items.
3. Play a video game together
Relax a bit and let out your inner gamer. Whether you’re playing your kids’ favorite new game or one from your childhood, your kids will appreciate the fact that you’re spending time doing something they love to do. Go ahead and build your dream home in Minecraft or teach your kids a thing or two about Asteroids. Either way, you’re going to look pretty cool.
4. Finger puppet show
Make your own finger puppets or use ones you already have to put on a puppet show! You can easily fashion a “theater” out of a large cardboard box and enjoy performing for each other.
5. Board games or jigsaw puzzles
Don’t let the old-fashioned nature of these activities make you a skeptic! Games like Monopoly, Boggle, Apples to Apples or even a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle can provide first-class entertainment, laughs and a sense of closeness with your family. Younger kids can play Memory or build puzzles with fewer pieces.
Have everyone grab a book, blanket, and nestle into their favorite cozy spots in the family room and read… and read and read! Don’t forget to provide yummy treats. For children who can’t yet read on their own, parents can snuggle up and read books aloud.
7. Sugar-cookie pizzas
Made of a baked sugar-cookie crust topped with cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit, these ”pizzas” are easy, fun to make and prove to be irresistibly delectable. Have every family member choose his or her favorite fruit, slice it up, decorate the pie, and, of course, devour it together! Here’s the recipe.
8. Dance party
If you feel like moving, why not dance to your favorite tunes? Turn your common area into a family dance club by plugging your smartphone into a speaker system, and then get grooving. You’ll release endorphins and wear your kids out by bedtime!
9. Movie time
Hit up your local RedBox for a new rental, put on a favorite family classic, stream a festive flick online during the holidays, or relive family memories through old home videos. Whatever your family picks, don’t forget the popcorn!
10. Create a film together
You don’t have to own a fancy camera or be Spielberg to make a movie as a family. Use your smart phones (or actual cameras) to make it happen. Scary, funny, or just ridiculous, it won’t matter; you are going to love watching it together if only to laugh at how silly (or amazing) it is.
11. Hide-and-seek or tag
Take turns being “it,” scouting out the best hiding spots in your house, and chasing each other around!
12. Decorate a room together
Pick a room you’ve wanted to beautify and do it! Whether it’s painting the walls or furnishing the space with new textiles, let all in the family have some say as to what goes into the project, promoting both creativity and teamwork.
13. Family “jam” session
If any of you play instruments, get them out and start making music together! Play written music or make up your own on the spot. Sing songs with the guitar, play duets on the piano, or make a beat together using percussive instruments or even pots and pans. Let loose and have fun!
Indulge in this traditional Japanese paper-folding craft with your family. Make anything from paper planes to sea animals to clothes! Browse dozens of techniques here.
15. Photo scavenger hunt
Create a list of items (such as this one) for your kids to find and then send them on a timed hunt throughout the house with a camera phone in tow to locate and take a snapshot of each found item. For an extra challenge, assign point values to items, with higher values for things that are harder to find. Offer prizes to whomever earns the most “points” within the time limit.
16. Dress-up fashion show
Raid the dress-up box to create goofy getups and take turns modeling them in front of each other. If you’ve got several people, select a panel of judges to vote for the silliest, fanciest or most creative costume. Award winners with paper plate medallions.
17. Greetings to loved ones
Make greeting cards or write letters to a family member or friend and mail them off the old-fashioned way. Or, collectively compose a questionnaire for your recipient to fill out and mail back!
18. Build something together
As a family, choose and carry out a fun DIY construction project, like building a doghouse, an indoor teepee (like this no-sew option,) or something simpler such as assembling a model airplane or Lego set. For more complex projects, purchase supplies ahead of time and have them handy when inclement weather kicks in.
19. Living room picnic
Take a family picnic to your living room! Spread a blanket out on the floor, and pack lunches just as you would if you were headed to the park. Pack a large basket with sandwiches, juice boxes and other favorite snacks.
20. Indoor campout
Make a campsite out of your living room! Roast hot dogs, pop popcorn, and toast marshmallows in your fireplace, if you have one, or cook them over your kitchen stove and tote them to your “campsite.” Tell stories, sing campfire songs, roll out your sleeping bags in the middle of the room and sleep there instead of your rooms for the night.
Winter may be cold, by it doesn’t need to be dreary or boring. Try out some of these ideas and share your experience in the comments – or better yet, share some ideas of your own! And if you’re looking for even more options, check out the Crafts & Hobbies section of our website.
Image credit: Tinkerbrad