50 fun winter activities for kids! Beat the chill with games, crafts, and outdoor adventures for half term, winter holidays, and beyond.
Keeping the family entertained in the winter months can feel like quite a challenge at times. With the weather less reliable, shorter hours of daylight and bank balances feeling squeezed, it can be tricky to think of enough ways to burn off all that youthful energy. But, don’t worry; we’re here to help!
We’ve rounded up 50 ways to keep the kids busy – indoors, outdoors, in the snow. Whatever your winter looks like, wherever you’re based, and whatever age(s) your children may be, we’re sure we have an idea (or 10) here to help keep them happy. What will you do first?
Outdoor Winter Activity Ideas
Wrapping up against the elements and getting outdoors for some fresh air (maybe even some sunlight) can be such a tonic in the winter months. Here’s a little inspiration for how to encourage the kids outside.
1. Winter Scavenger Hunts Outside
Wrap up and head outside for a winter scavenger hunt. Great for getting fresh air and taking time to stop and look at the beauty of the winter world. There’s things to look for in both urban and rural settings. Either work to complete the list together or race to see who can finish first. You could even set up a photo scavenger hunt and then make a journal or collage from all the photos taken. We’ve created free printable Winter Scavenger Checklists for you to use.
3. Prepare A Bird Bath
Of course, the birds need water too. So why not set up a bird bath for them with a shallow dish containing water for the birds to use to drink and bathe. Be sure to check it regularly to make sure it doesn’t freeze. And it should be cleaned once a week at least to avoid risk of contamination.
4. Go Ice Skating
Fun at any time of year but the outdoor seasonal rinks always make ice skating an even more special occasion. Check out our interactive map of UK Ice Rinks to find your nearest.
5. Take A Winter Walk
Get outside, stretch legs, and get some fresh air. Blow away the cobwebs and use up some of the kids’ pent-up energy! We’ve got lots of fun ideas to make the walk a little more appealing if you have some reluctant participants!
6. Have A Winter Picnic
We all associate picnics with sunny summer days. But a winter picnic can be rather fabulous too, and certainly a bit different. Fill a flask with soup or hot chocolate, grab some blankets -to sit on and curl up in, and head outside. Bring along a waterproof sheet as well if you have one to pop under the ground sheet. Consider taking a game along to play or pair it with a winter walk or scavenger hunt. You could even cook some sausages or sausage rolls and wrap them up in tin foil and tea towels.
Enjoy the winter night sky on these long, dark nights and learn about the constellations you can see. You may be able to simply stare out of the window at home but it’s more fun to wrap up warm and head outside into the chilly night for a crystal-clear view of the stars. Apps such as Star Walk 2 Ads+ will help you decipher what you can see. Look out for the International Space Station too (it looks just like Santa testing out his reindeer team and sleigh!).
8. Go Foraging
Go foraging in your local park or woodland and see what you can find. Gather a few pinecones for crafting, and items to make table centrepieces or a winter wreath.
9. Set Up Garden Winter Olympics
It doesn’t have to be in your garden of course, nor do they have to be the traditional winter Olympic sports, but an outdoor agility course of sorts is a great winter activity to set up for the kids.
Add a sign at each station explaining what you need to do. Then grab a stopwatch and set a timer for, say 60 seconds a time, and have the kids rotate between the different activities. From star jumps, to throw & catch and balancing/bouncing a ball on a tennis racket, there’s no end to the stations you can create. A great way to burn off excess energy!
10. Enjoy A Winter Bonfire
There’s something about setting up a bonfire (or even a BBQ) in the winter months. Huddle around and toast marshmallows. Cook sausages for hot dogs. Or add potatoes in foil to the embers for a delicious baked potato supper.
11. Make A Snowball Treasure Hunt
Hide pretend snowballs (paper, pom poms, or cotton wool) around the garden or park to be found. Like a wintry Easter egg hunt!
12. Have An Ice Egg Hunt
If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not have an Ice “Egg Hunt” instead. Fill balloons with water, and add a few drops of food colouring to each (the filled balloons don’t need to be too big). Leave them outside overnight if it’s below freezing, or pop them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, cut the balloons to remove them. Then hide the ice eggs around the garden to be found. (There’s a natural time limit set by the melting ice if the weather is warmer!).
13. Hit The Slopes
Of course, it doesn’t have to be winter to try out an indoor ski slope or outdoor dry ski slope. But it’s certainly the season for it. Whether it’d be your kid’s first time on the slopes or a chance to brush up existing skills, this is a great way to spend a winter-themed day.
Winter Activities To Try Inside
If the weather outside is frightful or you’re looking for something to do at home, here’s a few ideas for adding a wintry theme to your indoor activities.
14. Indoor Winter Scavenger Hunts
There’s no need to be outside to enjoy a winter scavenger hunt – we’ve got three indoor ideas for you to try too. From searching for items in the home and looking for winter icon cards to peeking out of the winter window to see what you can spy, there’s something for every age group.
15. Winter Picture Pairs
How about a game of Winter Picture Pairs? Talk about the wintry themed items as you take turns searching for the pairs on the table. Print two copies of our indoor winter scavenger hunt cards for a complete free set of picture pairs to use.
It’s the perfect time of year to watch the birds in your area. Look through the windows at home whilst you stay nice and warm, or head out with a picnic blanket and flask of hot chocolate to see the birds in your local park. Grab some binoculars and a bird book to discover more about the birds you see.
17. Make Paper Snowflakes
Such an easy winter craft! Do you remember making paper snowflakes when you were younger? See how intricate a shape you can make without the paper falling apart! Then stick them on your windows for an instant snow storm!
18. Create Snow Spray Scenes
Upping the ante on the paper snowflakes, why not decorate your windows with wintry snow spray scenes. Use stencils and online tutorials to help your children design their very own winter wonderland. Then sit back and marvel at the view of the winter sun setting and rising through the snow spray picture. Check out our chat with the Original Snow Spray Artist, Tom Baker from Snow Windows for more inspiration.
19. Make A Hot Chocolate Station
Hot chocolate is most certainly NOT just for Christmas! And in fact a hot chocolate station for the early new year seems like a jolly good idea to us. After school treats, movie night, winter warmers after walks out in the cold… –there’s all sorts of reasons to enjoy a Hot Chocolate in January and February. And what a lovely treat to set up once all the Christmas decorations have come down.
20. Read A Wintry Tale
What better time of year to snuggle up and be taken away to a magical world by a story?! Lean into the season with a wonderful winter-themed book to enjoy reading together with your little one.
21. Watch A Winter Movie
If you’d prefer why not enough a magical winter movie night instead. Grab your comfiest throws, get everyone in their PJs, choose some tasty movie snacks (may we suggest our Easy Christmas Snack Mix – it’s not just for Christmas 😉) and cosy up on the sofa to enjoy a wintry film. Here’s some winter movie ideas for you to explore.
22. Have A Clear Out
Get your spring cleaning underway early with a winter declutter. Perfect if bedrooms and playrooms are a little fuller after new Christmas arrivals. Take advantage of the hibernation season to get things cleared out and organised for the year ahead. Check out our ideas for where to sell and pass along items no longer wanted.
23. Get Baking
These cooler winter days are perfect for getting kids busy in the kitchen with some fun baking and cooking activities. Get online and find some new recipes, or return to old favourites. We’ve got plenty of inspiration that works well beyond the festive season. May we suggest our chocolate biscuit cups (perfect for using up extra Christmas choccies) and our snowdrop coconut macaroons.
24. Make Valentine’s Day Treats
Perfectly positioned around February half-term time and at that stage in the year when we all need a little pick-me-up, Valentine’s Day is the ideal excuse for a little homemade gifting and card creation. Oreo Truffles make a fabulous Valentine’s gift and are brilliant for getting little hands involved. Just saying…!
25. Make DIY Snow Globes
Create homemade snow globes in old jam jars. There’s lots of simple tutorials on Pinterest. And they look so cute on the sideboard or even dotted down the middle of the table as a centrepiece.
26. Use Your Christmas Tree
Put your real Christmas Tree to use after the decorations come down. There’s so many ways you can make use of your tree. Make mulch from the pine needles and put it over plants in the garden, or even try some pine needle tea with the kids! Or slice the trunk and decorate to make coasters and ornaments. Lots more ideas for how to use your Christmas tree here.
27. Create A Winter Journal
Encourage your children to create a journal for the season. Fill it with drawings, thoughts, things they’ve found, anything they want that links to winter. They can use it as a diary of wintry activities they’ve enjoyed. Or tell them stories and ask them to draw the pictures to go with the tales. Draw pictures of winter wildlife they’ve spotted or use leaves and twigs as templates to create patterns. Anything goes in a journal. Let their imagination run wild!
28. Indoor Camping
Set up a tent indoors, make s’mores in the oven, and tell campfire stories, play games, and sing songs.
29. Build A Frozen Castle
You’re never too old to build a fort! Give it a winter theme by constructing a frozen castle instead – find as many white sheets, blankets, and pillows as possible to create your winter masterpiece. Chat about who lives there and what magic the walls of the castle might possess as you build.
30. Design A Puffy Paint Snowman
Even if there’s no snow outside you can still get busy making a snowman! A fabulous, sensory craft activity to enjoy at home. This one’s great for even the very littlies to get involved. Use the textured fluffy glue-shaving foam mix to create the snowman shape and then have fun decorating him with things you can find around the house. Free printable template and all the details here.
31. Have An Indoor Snowball Fight
Use scrunched up paper balls, cotton wool, or even homemade pompoms as your snowballs and have a snowball fight. It’ll bring out the child in any of us!
32. Make Pinecone Decorations
Decorate foraged pinecones with small pom poms, biodegradable glitter, and anything else you can find. Attach some ribbon and hang them on a bare branch for a cute winter display. Or save them for next Christmas.
33. Make Fake Snow
Fake snow can be good value for money (a little messy, but worth it!). Make some with your children and then have fun together creating imaginary snow scenes, or “painting” the snow with diluted food colouring and paintbrushes.
34. Create A Winter Playdough Play Scene
Build a winter playdough play scene for your child to enjoy some pretend play.
- Make or buy some white playdough, or use some fake snow.
- Find some arctic or winter toy animals
- Forage a few pieces of winter foliage (fir, pinecones, etc)
- Add some other fun play pieces – sparkly stones, snowflake cookie cutters, etc.
35. Play Pin The Nose On The Snowman
Draw and cut out a snowman on a large piece of white paper or card. And create a carrot (or other!) nose on a piece of orange paper. Then play this wintry version of “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” by taking it turns to blindfold each player and seeing if they can get the nose in the right place. Spin players around a few times for an extra challenge!
36. Create Winter Bunting
Using seasonal fabric scraps or even just wintry-coloured card (blues, white, grey, etc.), cut triangles to make bunting. Glue them to a ribbon and hanging the bunting up in your home. A great way to use up and repurpose material oddments too.
37. Design A LEGO Winter World
Grab all the winter-coloured LEGO pieces from the box and create a LEGO Winter World. It could be a snowy hillside complete with children sledging and enjoying a snowball fight, an Arctic world with polar bears and walruses, or an ice palace with all the clear pieces of LEGO.
38. Make A Frozen Treasure Hunt
Add some small (durable) toys to a deep dish, fill it with water and freeze. Add some blue food colouring for extra effect if you like. Then let your children excavate the frozen toys as the ice thaws.
39. Paper Bag Stories
Everyone adds a few wintry-themed items to a paper bag (from inside or outdoors) and hands the completed bag to someone else. Then take it in turns to reveal what’s in your bag and come up with a story that includes each item.
40. Make Air Dry Clay Decorations
We love air dry clay. It’s so easy to use. Create some air dry clay decorations with your kids. Use snowflake cutters for pretty, seasonal designs. Or press pinecones, fir, or even cable knit sweaters into the clay to leave winter patterns.
In The Snow
If you’re in a true Winter Wonderland, surrounded by snow and ice, these are great winter activities for kids to try.
41. Build A Snowman
How could we NOT include this one?! The iconic snow masterpiece. Build a snowman together and dress him however your children would like. Of course, if you’re feeling creative, there’s no need to stop at a snowman – there’s a whole world of snow sculptures to craft …!
42. Go Sledding or Tobogganing
Release your inner child and join the younger members of the family in a whizz down your nearest snowy hillside.
43. Snow Painting
Fill spray bottles with diluted food colouring and get the kids painting the snow! Unleash those inner budding artists.
44. Frozen Bubble Experiments
If the air is cold enough, bubbles you blow should freeze. Give it a try and watch what happens!
45. Catch Snowflakes
We all know that every snowflake is unique. Try and catch some falling onto black felt and have a look with a magnifying glass to see if you can spot the differences.
46. Make Ice Art Sculptures
Fill different shapes of containers with water, add food colouring, and let them freeze outside. Once frozen, use them to create colourful ice sculptures.
47. Have a Snowball Fight
Another classic of the seasonal snow activities. Either split into teams and aim for each other. Or set up a “shooting range” and see how good an aim your children have!
48. Create Frozen Suncatchers
A wonderful idea from Run Wild With My Child. Forage for some wintry foliage and other natural items (berries, leaves, pinecones, etc.). Lay them out on plates and then add water before leaving them to freeze (or putting them in the freezer) to make beautiful frozen suncatchers.
49. Go For A Snowshoe Hike
Head off for a hike, snowshoe style! Your kids are sure to enjoy the sensation of walking with snowshoes. Get out and enjoy some fresh air and exercise in the winter wonderland.
50. Make Snow Angels
The quintessential snow activity! A great sensory activity for anyone. Lie down in the snow and move your outstretched arms up and down to create an angel pattern.
Looking for more inspiration?
- 15 Ideas To Get The Kids Out On A Winter Walk
- Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Our Pick Of The Best Winter Movies To Watch With Kids
And be sure to check out our Printable Winter Mindful Moments – with 30 suggestions for some pause, rest and reflect during the winter months.
From snowy adventures that turn your back garden into a winter wonderland to cosy indoor crafts that bring the magic of the season inside, there’s no shortage of ways to make wonderful winter memories. So, whether you’re wrapping up to explore the frosty outdoors or snuggling up for some creative time inside, we hope these activities have inspired you.
Which winter activities are you going to try with your family? Do share with us in the comments below or tag us in photos or videos online – we’d love to enjoy the wintry fun with you. Time to lace up those boots, grabs the mittens and get enjoying.