Indoor Wintertime Fun!

Sledding and skating are great winter activities, but kids tend to spend more time indoors in the winter. Help your children beat the boredom (and burn off some excess energy) with these low-cost ideas.

  • Obstacle course-Kids can go under the couch cushions, through the kitchen chair legs, and around the rocking chair. Is the floor lava? Are there sharks in the water? Can they complete the course walking like a crab? Kids develop a variety of skills from obstacle courses, including body awareness, coordination, and sequencing skills. They also receive sensory input, which assists with self-regulation.
  • “Laser” maze-Use crepe paper and masking or painter’s tape to create zigzag patterns down a hallway. This activity can be made easier or harder based on the child’s skill level. It can be varied to keep things interesting by including a timed element, devising new ways through the maze, or “rescuing” stuffed animals along the way. How many animals can be saved in one trip?
  • Bring the outside in-When it’s too cold to enjoy the snow outside, why not bring the snow inside? Create a sensory bin with large tub. You may want to place a shower curtain liner under the tub to prevent spills. Use eye droppers or spray bottles with colored water to make designs in the snow. Hide small plastic toys in the snow, pretend they are fossils, and use tools such as a small spoon or toothbrush to dig for the toys.
  • Toy rotation-Create a toy rotation using boxes or plastic containers, and then bring out one box per day for the child. This can create a “newness” for the toys. Consider varying the contents of each box to promote all areas of development. For example, a box can contain a gross motor toy, such as a ball, a fine motor activity, such as art supplies, a thinking toy, such as puzzles and Legos, and a variety of books.
  • Painter’s tape-Painter’s tape can be used for a variety of activities. Have your child help you create a bean bag toss on the floor. Create different shapes and allot different points for different shapes. Painter’s tape can also be used to create a road for vehicles. Get creative with turns, one-way streets, and furniture obstacles (if driving cars on the furniture is allowed). A painter’s tape spider web in the hallway is easy to create. Have the kids crumple up pieces of paper and toss them at the spider web. How many can they get to stick? Which works better—big pieces of paper, or small pieces of paper?

This time of year can be difficult when everyone’s cooped up indoors, but with a little planning and a few low-cost supplies, you can fight boredom and promote development and creativity at the same time.