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Active Indoor Activities for Kids in the Winter

Bitingly frigid weather poses pitfalls for young and old alike. As a parent of young children though, the challenge lies in how to keep your active kids entertained indoors when the temperature is too extreme outside. They’re bound to get cranky due to boredom unless you engage them with compelling activities. Therefore, the CuteMonster™ team has come up with a list of ideas to diminish the possibility of kids plunging into cabin fever meltdown.

Active indoors games:

  • Duck Duck Goose – a classic which only requires a small space and a couple of participants.
  • Musical Chairs – A few chairs (small stepping stools work well too) and music.
  • Play Catch – Make use of an open space. Soft bean bag or plush balls. Can roll the ball or catch. Mix it up based on the ages of the kids.
  • Hop Scotch – Might require some assembly of a board. Check out the following link from Nick Jr. for a Backyardigan’s Hopscotch board. http://www.nickjr.com/crafts/backyardigans-hopscotch.jhtml
  • Jumping Jacks – Not only do they get exercise, but you can incorporate counting games into the mix.
  • Build a fort – Make use of pillows, sheets, etc. to build a fort. From there the kids can choose to create a game. Storm the castle anyone?
  • Have a Music Jam – Play guitar? Even if your playing causes the neighborhood dogs to sing, it doesn’t matter. The point is to just break out some instruments, play them, and let them belt out some songs to their heart’s content. If you don’t have any instruments on hand make use of pots, spoons, pillows, boxes, etc. Basically anything that can be safely used as a percussion instrument.
  • For kids 3 and older, the Nintendo Wii offers interactive entertainment which really gets kids moving and excited. I’m not usually a proponent of video games for young children, but this particular game console is geared towards active compelling fun play for kids.

When the children are ready to cool down you can always direct them to more sedate interactive activities such as craft building, painting, coloring, drawing, card games, and more. Reading books with them can also be used as a catalyst for imaginative play. Perhaps they can act out the stories. The possibilities are endless.

I’m sure there are plenty of other great ideas out there. Please comment below with your ideas for safe, fun, and compelling active indoor activities for kids.

  • Shoebuf

    Great suggestions. My personal favorite is building a fort in the living room. Kids love it. My son’s stuffed elephants act as sentinels to guard fort and prevent entry to little sisters. Our version of musical chairs includes Mommy or child singing a song instead of using CD or MP3 player. Kids love that too!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for commenting. Glad you mix up the fun. Keeps the kids interested no matter what the weather may be outside.

  • I am with Shoebuf. We played our Wii and built a fort during last years Snowmaggedon. That saved me from utter meltdown.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for commenting DCUrbanDad. Building up and tearing down a fort can be a lot of fun and probably cathartic for parents and kids alike.

  • Well… It’s been in the 70s here in Phoenix… but I still need good activities to keep my little ones busy. I love the list you provided! In order to wind mine down after a good play session… we often read together.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for your comment Kelly. That’s a great idea to hold a reading session after play time. They’ll be less likely to be distracted from sheer exhaustion. 🙂

  • Uncle Ant

    Jumping Jack flash…great idea. Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome Uncle Ant. Thanks for writing a comment.

  • Wahdaholic

    this is great for my children,

    • Anonymous

      That’s great Wahdaholic. I’m sure you’ll come up with some new ideas on your own. Just a matter of trial an error.

  • Throw them outside with a sled. That’s what my parents did to me! I used to come back soaking wet and happy!

    • Anonymous

      Good advice Eric. Sledding is great fun for all ages. For younger kids though that are more sensitive to prolonged exposure to the elements, ideas for indoor play are essential to keep everyone content.

  • Volk17

    We picked up an Xbox Kinect that our 4.5 and 20mo old just love. They ask to play the “running” game where they basically run in place. There’s also soccer. Both have saved our bacon during the few snowstorms here in Denver when it was too cold to go outside.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing Volk17. It seems the Microsoft Xbox Kinect has really…um..connected with parents and kids alike. 🙂 The premise of the player being the game controller works well for young children.

  • Just yesterday we made sock puppets and a theater to perform in. Let the kids glue the eyes on and decorate the outside of the theater. Show time came and the smiles were endless!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for proving another great example. Sock puppet creation is relatively hassle free. The kids can get involved in making them. And the story can be whatever the kids imagine. Good stuff.

  • Jaimi Erickson

    Turn on the music and dance to it as well as use toy instruments or household items that can be pretend instruments to rock out!  


    • Anonymous

      Great idea Jaimi.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Loved duck, duck goose!

    • Anonymous

      It is fun.  One of those games kids any age can play together instead of squabbling over a toy.  

  • Michelle

    I like to give the jumping jacks a goal… 100 motions is what I call it! We change exercises every 10… So ten jacks, ten push ups, ten twirls (they love that one), ten burpees, etc, last ten are always calming breaths 🙂