Keeping Children Active During Winter

Two adorable young boys peeking out of a cardboard box

Keeping children active during winter days might have you reaching for toys that beep, buzz, move, and groove. However, children can tire of even the most flashy toys after some time. As a parent, you have probably seen your child open a brand new toy during the holidays only to play with the box it came in!

When you’re looking for fun boredom busters to use when your children are stuck indoors, look no further than a few simple supplies you may already have in your home. With these household items, you can keep children active during winter days and have a really fun time as a family!

Using painter’s tape…

How Far?
In a long hallway, lay down a strip of painter’s tape every two to three feet. With these simple measurement lines, your children can explore distances with a variety of activities. How far can you jump? Which car rolls the farthest? How far can you toss a bean bag?

Hands On As We Grow, a blog that promotes hands-on activities for children, has even more ideas of games to play.

Build a Track
Use painter’s tape to create a track on the floor. Make it as small or big as you’d like; contained in one room or throughout several rooms. Add some twists, turns, obstacles, and ramps throughout to make it extra entertaining. Navigating the track with cars and trucks is a quiet activity that can keep your children busy for quite a while.

Using balloons* or beach balls…

Make Parachute Popcorn
This activity works best with at least four participants. To create a “parachute,” have each child grab one corner of a bed sheet and spread it out wide. Toss a few balloons, beach balls, or other light-weight balls into the middle of the sheet. As the children flap and wave the parachute up and down, the balls will start to fly around (like popping popcorn). Play until you’ve “popped” all the balls off the sheet and then start over again!

Target Your Letters and Numbers
Find a supply of colorful Post-It notes and write a single letter or number on each sheet using black marker. Stick them randomly on a door at differing heights. Call out a letter or number and have your children hit the correct sheet using a balloon or beach ball. For older children who are doing simple addition, call out a math problem (“What is 2+4?”) and have them target the sheet with the correct answer.
Blogger, Modern Parents Messy Kids, offers even more indoor beach ball activities to try.

Using plastic cups…

Stack them up / Knock them down
Building pyramids, towers, and other large structures using plastic cups are simple indoor activities that will entertain your children and bring out their “inner engineer.” But, maybe just as entertaining is finding fun ways to knock them down (with the builder’s permission, of course!). Here are some fun activities for knocking down a plastic cup pyramid:

  • toss ping pong balls at the tower
  • blow it down using a straw
  • blow up a balloon* (but don’t knot it closed!), point the opening at the cups, and release the air

Practice Number Order
Find 10 or 20 plastic cups. Using a black permanent marker, label each one with a number 1-10 or 1-20, and then stack the cups in a random order. Let your children unstack the cups and organize them into the correct number order.

For more ways to keep your child active during winter, check out the Activities section on our Parent Resources page.

* Be aware: Balloons are a choking hazard for infants & toddlers. While they may be used, children should always be supervised and if a balloon pops, all pieces should be picked up immediately so they do not put pieces in their mouths.