I’m not sure about where you live, but here in our parts winters can feel long and gloomy! We try to get outside when we can, but often the weather makes this a little tricky. We usually get our fair share of snow and ice and some years January feels like 3 months instead of just one. We have screen time rules in place in our home. No screens unless we’ve done all our school work, read, practiced piano, made sure our toys are picked up, and we’ve played outside/been creative in some way, but even with these rules in place sometimes their hour screen limit tends to stretch itself during those long winter days. I thought with January fast approaching it would be helpful to compile a list of screen free indoor activities so I have something to fall back on when I need an idea and maybe it’ll help you too! Here are some of our favorites.
Candle ROLLING: We love rolling beeswax candles especially during the fall and winter months. I buy my kits from etsy. You can find the one I normally use here.
LANTERN MAKING : We made lanterns last winter. All you need is glue or mod-podge + glass jar – I like to use my oui yogurt jars + scraps of tissue paper. Then you simply paint the glue on the jar to attach the pieces of paper. Once it’s dry just pop in some fairy lights or a tea light candle.
PAPER SNOWFLAKES : I use to love making these as a kid and now love making them with my boys. You can also make the brown paper bag stars I shared in this post.
WINDOW STARS : I talked about how to make the window stars in this post here.
WATER COLOR PAINTING : My boys love painting and will paint for hours sometimes. Water color is our favorite!
BUILD A FORT: Nothing like a good ole’ fort during the winter time. My boys love bringing their pillows and toys inside with a small battery lantern and pretend they a re camping!
LEGOS AND MAGNA TILES: We recieved several new legos sets for Christmas so I see hours of lego fun in our future!
PUT ON A PUPPET SHOW OR REENACT YOUR FAVORITE PLAY OR MOVIE
HOMEMADE SUET BIRD FEEDERS: We have made these several times before. I have a recipe saved on Pinterest. These a simple to make and look so pretty hanging in the trees.
BIRD WATCHING: If you feed the birds I guarantee they will come…and probably a squirrel or two as well. We love looking out our windows and keeping watch of the birds. It’s a great opportunity to journal about the birds you see as well
MAKE CARDBOARD BOX SPACE SHIPS: My boys love this. Usually I’ll let them have a box that came from the mail but if all else fails you can always buy them cheap from Home Depot in their packing department. I let my boys draw all over them with crayon and markers and they will literally play for hours.
CREATE A TREASURE MAP: Another fan favorite. I’ll give them a big roll of craft paper and let them draw their own treasure map and we hide things and then follow the clues to find them.
PUZZLES: We love puzzles. I personally love the folk art style ones and thankfully my boys love them too. We just recently started this one.
BOARD AND CARD GAMES: You can never go wrong with a board game. Some of our favorites are Sorry, Monopoly, Raccoon Rumpus, Connect Four, Guess Who, Sequence and thats just to name some.
PLAY DOUGH: You can try making your own or just use some from the store. My boys love making our own and adding in our own colors.
Play Dough Ingredients:
1 cup water // 1 cup flour // 1 tablespoon vegetable oil // 1/2 cup salt // 1 tablespoon cream of tarter // 4 drops of food coloring – you can use regular or natural like this one
AIR DRY CLAY: We love using air dry clay for all sorts of things. We make ornaments for different holidays or use it to correspond with lessons in school.
BAKE SOMETHING: We love baking just about anything, but chocolate chip cookies is definitely a family favorite!
MAKE A MEAL TOGETHER: We are currently studying the 50 states. I think it would be so fun to use a state or country and make a meal to correspond with that place.
WRITE A LETTER TO A FRIEND: Whenever I need something simple that the boys can do on their own I have them write a letter about what we’ve been up to that week and send it off to family or friends. It’s a sweet gesture and it’s helping improve their letter writing skills.
LEARN A NEW SKILL: I personally love learning new things and practicing and exploring new skills. My older son has been asking to learn how to tie different knots, so I think we are going to practice our knotting skills this winter and I’ve been wanting to learn wool felting!
PLAY RESTAURANT: I like to give my boys a little notepad and they take our orders and prepare meals for us with their play food.
HAVE AN INDOOR PICNIC: My boys love picnicking inside during the winter. Lay a blanket on the floor, play some music and grab your favorite snacks!
TAKE A TRIP TO THE LIBRARY, MUSEUM OR PLANETARIUM. I KNOW THIS ISN’T TECHNICALLY IN YOUR HOME AND IT MAY COST A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY, BUT STILL A FUN A RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE INDOOR ACTIVITY.
I hope these ideas are helpful and maybe you even found a new one you haven;t tried yet!! I’d love to hear how you stay busy while cozied up during the long winter months.