As temperatures continue to drop, spending time outdoors can become less appealing to families – especially those with young children. At WIC, we know it can be a challenge to keep children occupied while everyone is cooped up; finding new and exciting activities will help bust up boredom. The following activities are fun and interactive ways to burn some energy and ignite some creativity.
Activities for Preschoolers:
- Hallway Hopscotch. Create your own hopscotch pattern using masking tape. It’s an easy and fun way to get your child moving on cold winter days.
- Jell-O Excavation. Encourage your child to have fun with this sensory activity. Add plain, unflavored gelatin to a mold. Then, follow the instructions on the box to create the gelatin mixture. Add small plastic animals or cars and let set in the fridge for up to three hours. Once the gelatin has set, remove (if possible) from the mold and let your child use their hands or other tools to ‘excavate’ the animals.
- Pointillism Art. Using q-tips and paint, this activity is great for developing fine motor skills. Let your child create a painting using only the q-tip as the brush.
- Color Mixing. Let your child experiment with colors! Using small amounts of paint to create new colors is a great way to introduce color theory.
- Spider Web! Using masking tape, create a spider web that spans a door way. Crumple paper to use as light, easy to throw balls; see who can get the most to stick to the web! This activity is good for practicing gross motor skills.
- Indoor Bowling. Find objects around the house to use as pins (soda bottles and paper towel tubes work great!) and create a safe bowling alley.
- Cardboard Construction. Round up all the boxes in the house and put your children’s imagination to work! With some creativity, a box can transform into a castle, a car, or even a rocket ship!
- Make Butter! This is a great activity that everyone can be involved in. Add heavy cream to a mason jar and secure the lid tightly; give your child the jar and have them shake, shake, shake away! Within a couple minutes, you will see butter forming! This is a fun and delicious way to get your child involved in the kitchen.
- Straw Javelin Throw. A very simple idea that results in a lot of fun! Use straws as javelins and see who can throw them the farthest. For extra fun, have your child create targets that they can aim their ‘javelins’ for.
- ABC Yoga. Challenge your child to create the letters of the alphabet using only their body. This activity is a fun way to incorporate movement and creativity!
Activities for Older Children:
- Old Fashioned Thaumatrope. You may ask, what is a thaumatrope? They are fun optical, toys that teach children about visual perception and optical illusions. Have your child draw two complimentary images (a bird and a birdcage are classic) and then cut them out as two identical circles. Fix the circles, image sides out to a straw. When rubbed between the hands, the images rotate and appear to be on the same card. Have fun experimenting with different pictures and spinning speeds!
- Create an Abstract Self Portrait. There are no limits on creativity when constructing this self portrait. Create a portrait as unique as yourself using magazine clippings, torn construction paper, glitter glue and even buttons.
- Indoor Obstacle Course. Design a unique indoor obstacle course to burn off some excess energy. Create a list of obstacles that gradually become more difficult to challenge your child. Tasks such as: Crawl under or over a row of chairs. Ring toss. Do a handstand. And skip in place while singing are popular for different developmental stages.
- Make a Time Capsule. Make and preserve memories with your child using a time capsule. Gather favorite items and include predictions about the future. Have fun creating memories for the future.
- Snow Ice Cream! Be adventurous and make ice cream using fresh snow! Collect 8-12 cups of CLEAN snow and put into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the snow. Then using a wooden spoon, fold in 10 ounces of sweetened condensed milk. Once the milk is combined, it is time to taste! Leftovers can be stored in a plastic container in the freezer.
- DIY Felt Finger Puppets. Have your child use their creativity to bring finger puppets to life. Only felt, scissors, glue and markers will be needed for this activity. Trace your child’s finger on a piece of felt, have them cut around the outline and using glue, fold and secure the puppet. A clothespin can be used to hold the puppet shut while it’s drying. Finish it off by decorating the puppets and have them put on a show!
- Sock Snowball Fight! Roll up clean socks into balls and use as ‘snowballs’ in a fight.
- Indoor Camp Out. Because it is winter, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go camping still. Set up a tent in your living room and fill it with blankets and pillows to create a cozy environment. You and your children can create a campfire using paper towel tubes and a flameless candle. Complete the experience with spooky stories and oven-made S’mores.
- Build a Balloon Rocket. Race your balloon rockets inside the house! How to construct a balloon rocket: blow up the balloon, gently tape a straw to the top of the balloon, when you are ready to race just release your balloon to see how far it will go. Experiment with different placement of the straw and the amount of air inside of the balloon.