Oh, the weather outside is frightful….and so are your kids because they’ve come down with cabin fever! Here’s my tips for keeping your kids happy, engaged, and active even though you and your wallet just want to hibernate!
Free winter coloring pages: A Google search for ‘free winter kids coloring pages’ will certainly turn up some cute images but be ready for pop-up ads and hidden membership fees as well as some frustrating formatting and printing issues. That’s why I’ve been using Crayola’s website for all my coloring page needs. It’s been the most user-friendly website. Literally, just click , print, and it’s time to thaw out the crayons for some fun!
Free Kid’s workouts: I’m delighted to share with you some winter themed Cosmic Kids Yoga and Jack Hartmann videos. Burn off some excess energy doing the Penguin dance or taking a Yoga journey with Joybob the Polar Bear! Check out the links below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf0uKmKwnKs (Jack Hartmann Penguin Dance)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE1NEiVf2Gk (Cosmic Kids Winter Super Yoga)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSZvMHlw9vs (Cosmic Kids Pedro the Penguin)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP9jd1Ug2y4 (Cosmic Kids Joybob the Polar Bear)
Fun in the snow: Kids love snow and will stay out there for hours playing! Don’t forget to thaw out later with a cup of hot chocolate!
We love sledding,
ice skating (outside at Lincoln Park or inside at Fox Valley Ice arena https://fvia.us/),
hiking through the woods looking for animal footprints in the snow,
and adding food coloring to water to see how it looks when it freezes!
Not pictured is snow Chaulk, available at Target or on Amazon.com for four to eighteen dollars. You can simulate it with food coloring and water in a squeeze bottle or follow the recipe at the link below to save yourself a few bucks!
Science fun: Last year on Amazon.com I found a winter themed Crayola science kit that my daughter LOVED! https://www.amazon.com/Crayola-Artic-Chemistry-Activities-Educational/dp/B07MFW6Y1R/ref=asc_df_B07MFW6Y1R/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=366336121651&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1114734738900215009&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9021516&hvtargid=pla-788490786186&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=77371437598&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=366336121651&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1114734738900215009&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9021516&hvtargid=pla-788490786186.
It runs about twenty-five dollars so it’s not bank-breaking, but it does cost a bit more than most of my activity ideas. I felt it was worth every penny because it got my daughter really pumped about science and STEM principles. Of course, you can probably find the chemicals to emulate these experiments for cheaper at American Science and Surplus https://www.sciplus.com/ if you know what you’re looking for.
Pin the carrot on the snowman: I hacked this game together out of left-over art supplies one desperate afternoon. It’s obviously based on the ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ game. I used foam circles, pipe cleaners, and pom-poms to make this cute little snowman. For the carrot nose I cut the tips off some orange foam stars. Use a bandana or dish rag for the blind fold and there you have it!
Play Doh: For three dollars at TJmaxx/five dollars at Meijer I found these delightful little igloo Play Doh kits. They come with the Play Doh modeling compound, molds, framework, and a little penguin friend so that you can assemble your very own ice fishing village.
Target had these snowmen Play Doh kids for about four dollars (pictured below, right). Inside the snowman mold are two colors of play Doh that kids can use to build and decorate their own frosty fellow. Below, left are those bubble poppers that all the kids are mesmerized with. This one was offered at Five Below for five dollars and is in the shape of a snowman. They are bizarrely entertaining- think reusable bubble wrap.
Snowman nails: I am far from a nail technician, but I came up with these Frosty nails last winter. You will need white, black, and orange nail polish (available at Walgreens) and a steady hand!
Baking fun: There is nothing that I like to do better on a cold winter day than heat up the house with an oven full of cookies. Target had winter snowflake funfetti cupcake kits this year. Cake mix is sold separately from the frosting and sprinkles. You can make the mix into cookie dough, cupcakes, or cakes. Pictured below, right is our funfetti melting snow man cupcakes. I used leftover candy corns for the noses and right before serving added pretzel sticks for the arms. Pictured below on the left are some random white cheddar Cheetos in the shape of snowflakes (available at Walmart).
Below are our funfetti cookies. Top picture is what happens when you don’t chill the dough because your kids are too impatient. Below is what happens when you freeze the dough for a few minutes before you put them in the oven.
Themed baths: What feels better at the end of a cold winter day than a nice hot bath? When you’re three, you may need some additional incentive to get in the tub though. Here’s the fun winter bath stuff I found (left to right): blue soap that looks like chunks of ice and winter snowflake champagne bottle bubble bath was from Walgreens. Winter snowball/sledding rubber ducks were from Oriental Trading Company- wait for the free shipping folks! Winter blue bath paint was courtesy of the Target dollar bin. Blue sugar cookie scented bath foam came from Walmart. Snowman bath bomb was from Target and the Elsa, Frozen bath sprinkles were from The Dollar Tree.
Crafts: Toilet paper tube snowmen are easy and fun to make. First paint the tube white or blue, let it dry. Wrap the top in black electrical tape to make the hat. Glue on google eyes and add a mouth and buttons with black magic marker. Lastly, punch a bit of orange pipe cleaner through the cardboard to make the carrot nose.
The igloo idea was stolen from my kid’s daycare. Use scissors to cut a paper plate in half and then cut a little arch in the bottom for the door. Make your ‘ice blocks’ with a black marker and color them in with a blue marker.
Magnetic snowmen: Found this neat kit at Walmart for two dollars. If it’s just too cold out or there’s no snow your kids can build their own indoor snowman on the fridge door. I wouldn’t recommend these for the real little littles because of the choking risk. For babies and young toddlers, you can pick up some felt strips from The Dollar Tree and cut them into snowman shapes. This is a great educational opportunity for working on shapes and colors!
Activity and learning books: I found Frozen addition and early mathematics books in the dollar bin at Target. They were great for both my three and six year old to get pumped about mathematics. My mom found these shimmery window markers from Crayola. They dry looking like they were made of ice so my daughter, of course, pretended she was Elsa. They are safe to use on all glass surfaces including windows and mirrors and are relatively easy to clean up with Windex, but I would strongly recommend supervision if you don’t want the whole house colored.
Pinecone birdfeeders: So easy and cheap to make! Pinecones are in piles on the ground everywhere around here so part of the fun of this activity was taking a winter pinecone collecting walk. Once you have your pinecones, then all you need is a piece of string, yarn, or twine, some peanut butter (if anyone is allergic to peanuts then sub in sunflower butter or honey), and some birdseed or corn. You can buy pre-cracked corn if you want, but my kids had way more fun cracking it with a hammer in the garage….you decide if you want your kids wielding a hammer or not. Coat your pinecone in your ‘sticky medium’ and roll it in your birdseed or corn. Attach a string and hang it outside. The birds, squirrels, and even raccoons will thank you!
The library: You can score two great activities in one trip. The first is hanging out in the library, looking in the fish tank, playing some board games, and finally checking out the books. The other is bringing the books home and getting cozy and warm while reading them. If you can’t decide what to check out, then take a peek at one of my other posts: Kid’s Winter Book Review for some ideas!
The alphabet game: For instructions on how to play check out some of the posts from my other blog: Mind of Marie. You may enjoy: The Alphabet Game: Winter, The Alphabet Game: New Year’s, The Alphabet Game: Christmas, and The Alphabet Game: Thanksgiving. This is a great, free way to engage you and your children’s minds and have fun learning letters, sounds, and sentence structure.
Hope my mountain of winter ideas helps keep you and your family from getting stuck in an icy rut….get my ‘drift’?