Indoor activities for kids during the cold winter months can include art projects, reading, baking and cleaning. There are also a number of great places that are perfect to visit in during the cold weather months and winter days.
I wanted to share some of my tactics for keeping myself sane during stay-at-home days. Please note that I am not, by any means, an expert on indoor activities for kids, but I try to be creative and enjoy my time with my children.
This fall, we had to keep both our children home “sick” for the day. They weren’t sick, as in, “laying in bed and sleeping all day”, but sick enough not to go to school and not sick enough to make me think, “What in the world am I am going to do with two kids during the winter when we can’t go outside? I need to find some indoor activities for kids and find them fast!” Like any modern mom these days, I escaped to my favorite idea generator, Pinterest to learn about more indoor activities for kids that I can store in my arsenal for those cold, chilly winter months ahead! I started pinning some ideas and keeping track of what I wanted to do to prepare myself for the holidays and wintry days ahead.
Tip: Check out my “Crafty Kids” board on Pinterest for even more ideas.
Top 12 indoor activities for kids
- Art Projects: Painting or drawing is one of our kids’ favorite activities. We typically get a big plastic outdoor tablecloth, you know, the ones with the material on the back to keep them from slipping. You can find these on sale towards the end of the Summer. We have an easel that we use, but sometimes, I find great deals on blank canvas frames at the local craft store and I let them go crazy (these great for gifts to family members). Typically, we let them paint in the nude with just an apron and a diaper/underwear (because they are young and don’t really know how to keep themselves clean during art project time). This decreases my mommy stress with less ruined clothes afterwards. For a little extra fun try making your own finger paint.
- Cooking and Baking: Absolutely my go-to kids activity to do. Break out all the ingredients for really anything you want to cook and let the little ones help with the parts that are safe for them. As a teacher, I know this is also an amazing way to show my kids how the skills and content they are learning about in school connects to real life. This is also a great way to get them to try new and exciting foods. We all know kids can be persnickety, but if they have a stake in making the meal, they might just be fired up to try it.
- Movie Night: As an easy activity to keep kids busy for a while, most movies that are geared towards the preschool and elementary school crowd are no more than 90 minutes, but why not make it more of an evening with hot cocoa and a slumber party? Try making these fun movie pillows or, if you have time to plan in advance of a winter storm, try a Disney-themed movie night.
- Dance Party: As another indoor activity for kids, this may or may not be my own way of reliving my own childhood, but I love having dance parties with my family. My daughter actually received a karaoke machine for Christmas. Turning up the music and letting all your cares go out the window is like therapy for a winter’s day. Use some oldies, but goodies, and relive some of your favorite childhood memories with your own children. You can get really crazy and rowdy and let the kids dress up and put on a performances as well. For the ultimate dance party, try a family talent show!
- Cleaning: If you are stuck in your house for any length of time, you will probably begin to notice your floors need cleaning. There is dog hair all over the couch and the laundry is about 5 loads deep. Not to mention, the laundry that did not get put away from the previous 5 loads is still left in a laundry basket, left to be put away. Well, at my house anyway, this often happens. So, I have started having the kids help with with cleaning and organizing. Giving kids responsibilities around the house makes them an active member of your family and helps them to learn that cleaning up and keeping a house in perfect condition does not magically happen. I really like this list of chores for kids because its broken down into age groups. Please be sure to try these as one of your own indoor activities for kids in your arsenal of things to do with your children.
- Build a Fort: Easy, cheap, and provides loads of fun as one of our indoor activities for kids to engage in. Grab your dining room chairs, a large sheet or blanket and let your imagination take you on various adventures.
- Put on a Play: Similar to the Dance Party and the Fort, this is one of those fun indoor activities for kids to let your imagination go wild. Grab some clothes from your closets or the kids dress-up box, you can even let your kids make up the characters. Playing make believe is wonderful for children’s development.
- Reading: As a teacher, I cannot stress enough how important reading is for children and what a great excuse it is to sit down in a comfy chair and start reading to your child as one of our favorite indoor activities for kids. You can start with a short story or even a chapter book. Really, any book will do. Talk to them about the book and get their feedback. Ask questions about the colors, shapes and names of what they are looking at. Engage them as you’re reading. My husband’s favorites are Go Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. In fact, he reads Green Eggs and Ham at varying speeds just to be playful with our kids. It really cracks them up and makes them laugh as he is reading it to them. This is one of my favorite indoor activities for kids.
- Create your own story and illustrate it: As one of my go-to indoor activities for kids, I know that kids love books and they love to color. Put those two together and write your own story. You can have them draw the illustrations and, if you really want to get crazy, you can eventually scan all the photos and have it made into a book. I have made some for families through Hullabaloo Stories in the past. For your day at home, however, you can simply put all the pages together with a bit of ribbon or string and a hole punch. Help your children write out the words and draw what they are seeing in their minds. This is among our top picks for indoor activities for kids to encourage creativity and imaginative play.
- Interview your children and have them interview you: This is a great indoor activity for kids to encourage the growth of your child’s imagination. You can do this to get information for creating a birthday present or just to learn about each other on a deeper level. It’s always a fun game. I always enjoy this one when selecting indoor activities for kids to do with my own children.
- Go on a scavenger hunt: One of the teachers at our preschool does a fun twist on a traditional scavenger hunt for one of her indoor activities for kids. She adds on one thing at the end, asking the kids to think through which item is in the wrong place. This goes along so well with teaching them about clean up responsibilities because they begin to learn that all things have a place. For younger kids, print out pictures of the items you want them to find and for older kids, have them practice their reading skills by just simply writing a list of items to find.
- Card and Board Games: Candyland, Hasbro’s Connect Four, Go Fish, using something like this Melissa & Doug Classic Card Game Set, Checkers, puzzles, and many more are appropriate for the preschool crowd. Try your hand at playing some fun board games with your kids, this can lead to many hours of fun, but a word of caution, once they start playing games, they will not only beat you but want to keep playing again and again. For a fun twist, try this life size Candyland game.
Top places to take your kids in Northern Nevada, Reno, Truckee Meadows and beyond for indoor activities for kids during a cold winter day
- Discovery Museum: Hands down, one of the best places in Reno, Nevada to spend the day with your entire family.
- Coconut Bowl: A fun way to spend the afternoon, ask the staff to help you with bumpers and other aides to help kids bowl. Also check out their “glow bowling” for the older kids. Coconut Bowl also offers much more than bowling check out our post and their website for more information.
- Kids n Art: A new local art studio designed just for kids. They even offer camps! Do some art without making a mess in your house. Sounds like a great snow day to me! They even offer adult classes.
- The Playroom: who doesn’t love an indoor playroom place to play, all the toys and equipment to wear your kids out while you have the opportunity to sit back and watch them revel in new discoveries.
- The Clay Canvas: an activity better reserved for older children and toddlers who are able to be around breakable objects.
- The Children’s Museum of Northern NV: Located in Downtown Carson City, Nevada. This museum is Northern Nevada’s oldest children’s museum and an entirely play-based great afternoon outing in our state’s capital, Carson City, Nevada.
- Movie Theater: Typically there is always a movie suitable for younger audiences at the movie theater. Most theaters have booster seats for the little ones and who doesn’t love a bowl of movie popcorn? Check your local theater for listings.
- National Automobile Museum: Kids love cars and going to see them is among our many indoor activities for kids. They just love them. Mine always try to sneak in the driver’s seat. The minute I unbuckle their car seat harnesses, my two year-old always tells me, “I dive”. Meaning, “I drive”. He wants to be a race car driver, I just know it. I took both my kids and my car-enthusiast father-in-law to the National Automobile museum last February. I can’t honestly say who had more fun, my father-in-law or my son. This museum is a pretty cool place. I would only caution that most of the cars are for looking at and children can’t touch them. So, be aware of that, ahead of time, to make sure your kids understand why they cannot “drive” all the cool cars and hot rods.
- The Library: As I mentioned before, I love reading with my kids. Sometimes however, you feel like you have read the same book one too many times and just have get out of the house as one of your indoor activities for kids. So, often times, we will go to the library or our local bookstore to pick out some new books to add to our rotation. Check out your local bookstore or library for story time. Most places have a set story time and activities related to the story that is read that day.
- Build a Snowman or Go Sledding: Admittedly, this is not one of our indoor activities for kids, but who can resist going outside and playing in the freshly fallen snow. Bundle up and dive in. You can even sled down your own driveway or just pull the sled down the street. It’s a great workout for you and the kids will wear themselves out; then you can start a warm fire and put on some hot cocoa, and a movie or better yet… nap time!
So there you have it. My survival guide for the cold winter months for indoor activities for kids when I am trapped inside a lot with my children and do not want to lose my mind and go daffy. Share with us, what do you do to keep your marbles, I mean active indoors with your kids in the winter?