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10 fun winter activities for kids

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Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

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Hot Chocolate Recipe

A cold winter night and a cup of hot cocoa fit perfectly together for any occasion. Have a cozy night at home with your little one and share some silly stories over a cup of hot chocolate. Turn off all the lights except one and make shadows on the walls with your hands to put on a shadow-puppet show with your child. Read stories together or make up your own tales!

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Spice up your cup by following this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 packs of cocoa mix
  • A handful of mini-marshmallows
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A topping of whipped cream

Directions

Heat up a cup of milk and add two packs of cocoa mix for that extra-delicious chocolate taste. Then, mix your ingredients well. Next, add a handful of marshmallows and a dash of cinnamon. Finish with a squirt of whipped cream on top.

What are your children’s favorite additions to their hot chocolate?

Make a Donut Snowman

This little snowman is so easy to make and delicious to eat!

Ingredients:

  • 3 mini powdered donuts
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • 1 chocolate wafer
  • 1 large marshmallow

On a plate, stack the donuts to build the snowman’s body. Decorate the top donut with the mini chocolate chips to create a face. Decorate the middle donut with three mini chocolate chips for buttons. Stack the marshmallow on top of the chocolate wafer and place them on the top donut to finish off your creation with a hat.

Looking for a healthier alternative? Try our banana, pretzel and apple version!

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Snowless Snowball Craft

Winter is here, and that means it’s time to make some snowballs! Not everybody gets snow but that’s okay because this craft can be done anywhere. It’s really easy and, more importantly, really fun!

Materials

  • Styrofoam balls (various sizes)
  • White glue
  • White and blue tissue paper
  • Paint brushes
  • Glitter

Instructions

  1. Brush Styrofoam balls with a thin coating of glue.
  2. Cover each ball with the squares of tissue paper (the more crinkly, the better!).
  3. While still sticky with glue, coat each ball with glitter.

You can add wire or string to hang your snowless snowballs on display or glue them together to make a fun sculpture. Encourage your little ones to let their imaginations run wild!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Break Up the Bad Weather Blues

Are you stuck inside because of the freezing temperatures or the rain? Take a step back from the TV, tablet or video game, and shake up your normal routine. When the weather prevents your children from playing outside, provide them with challenging activities and active games!

Girls Playing GameHave a Board Game Competition.

Hold a board game competition in your living or family room. Spend the day playing different games. You can even compete for prizes.

Create an Indoor Obstacle Course.

Create a course with 10 to 15 stations of quick physical or educational activities. One station might require your child to jump on one foot 15 times; at another, your child should sing the alphabet song twice. Use a stop watch or oven clock to time each other and see who can complete the obstacle course the in fastest time or who can improve on their previous best times.

Create Your Very Own Time Capsule.

Spend the day with your child creating and filling a time capsule with items, notes, pictures and other things that are important to you and your child. Then, store it away. On a rainy or snowy day in the future, open it up and share your memories!

Don’t let the weather put a damper on your fun and learning. Make the best out of being stuck indoors with a little creativity and items you already have in your home!

Let it Snow!

Whether your area gets blanketed with snow each winter or you see nary a flake, here’s an activity to help your family celebrate the magic of snow together.

Here are a few tips before you begin:

  • Be prepared for a mess.
  • Cover your work area with newspaper or a drop cloth.
  • Use your kitchen or a tiled area to make cleanup less stressful.
  • Have your child wear a smock or an old t-shirt to protect her clothes.
  • Remember your own childhood and relish the FUN!

Snow Art

  1. Spray shaving cream on a table or placemat.
  2. Let your child finger-paint with the shaving cream.
  3. When your child has completed a design, press a piece of dark construction paper over their shaving cream masterpiece.
  4. The result is a snowy scene!

 

*Children should have adult supervision throughout all activities.

Warm Winter Wishes Craft

This special homemade photo gift is sure to warm hearts this winter! Create one for a special someone or make many to give as gifts to family & friends.

What you need:

  • Sheets of colored paper or craft foam
  • Ribbon or small adhesive magnets
  • Small photo(s) of your family or child
  • Glue stick
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Washable markers
  • Pencil
  • Single hole punch
  • Decorative “winter” craft accessories of your choice

 

What to do:

  • Use a pencil to trace your child’s hand on a sheet of paper or craft foam. Trace each finger individually or around their four fingers together and thumb separately to make a mitten shape.
  •  Carefully cut out the hand or mitten shape, and then trim your photo to fit in the “palm” of the cutout. Glue the photo in place.
  •  Here’s the fun part! Encourage your little one to get creative with washable markers and “winter” craft accessories to add their own decorative touch!
  •  When your child is happy with their masterpiece, either punch a hole in the top and tie a ribbon through it for hanging or attach small adhesive magnets to the back for hanging on the refrigerator.

 

*An adult should oversee all activities.  Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Going on a Treasure Hunt

An ancient treasure map has turned up miraculously on your door step and it leads to a treasure chest hiding in your home! Great for parties or just a fun afternoon activity, send your children roaming around your house or backyard for some fun-filled treasure hunting adventures.

Like a scavenger hunt, create clues that will send the treasure hunters from one hint to the next, eventually ending at the “buried” treasure! Have fun and be creative when writing your clues—use riddles or rhymes—but don’t make them too hard for young children to figure out quickly.

Once you’ve created your clues, set up your landmarks for the treasure hunt. You could use stuffed animals and pretend they’re “wild dingos,” build a totem pole out of empty boxes or fill a small kiddie pool with sand (outside, of course) and encourage the children to dig for their next hint. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to set boundaries, and keep all landmarks and treasure chest within your home or backyard where you can easily supervise.

Cardboard treasure chests can be found in most party stores, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make one using a few supplies from your local craft store.

Baking Holiday Memories

Bake up some warm holiday memories with your children this season. Put on those aprons, the mess is part of the fun! Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet/dry ingredients, while the younger children participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl (be sure to point out that oil and water don’t mix) and by stirring and creating cut-outs with cookies cutters.

Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when it is time to decorate! Festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, pre-cut fondant in holiday shapes (or make your own), gumdrops and more are perfect for little fingers, and make for wonderful holiday cookie decorations. Don’t forget to taste test your creations! Giving and sharing provide a feeling of joy that you can reinforce by having your children deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center.

Word Wonderland

Snuggle up with your little one and share in the adventures of a good book! Children of all ages will benefit from this quality time with you and their imaginations will soar with every turn of the page.

Stick to simple board books with one picture per page and contrasting colors for the youngest readers (Infant to One Year). Make exaggerated faces to express emotion, change your voice, describe everything and point to the items on each page as you make your way through the book. Watch your child for clues as to what part of the book is his/her favorite.

As children grow, so can their stories. Progressively move to longer books and allow your child to interact by pointing to items, turning the pages and even reading some themselves, if developmentally appropriate. Continue to make faces and change your voice for characters or make sounds for objects and animals. If they’re still learning to sound out words, help them along by annunciating sounds in a normal tone and prompting them to repeat after you.

Together, you and your child can learn, laugh and create fond memories as you beat the winter blues, book after book.

Some great winter books to check out: Biscuit’s Snowy Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Welcome Winter by Jill Ackerman, Winter Friends by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick and Winter by Gerda Muller.