Noses are red, fingers are blue, if you’re stuck inside, we have some activities for you!

As Wisconsinites know, the winter months can bring plenty of uncertainties!  Is it going to snow 10 inches?  Will it be 20 below?  Is my car going to start?  Will school be cancelled tomorrow?  Whatever the uncertainty, if your child is stuck inside due to inclimate weather, we’ve got some fun winter themed activity ideas for you and your family to try at home!  


 Have a picky eater? 

  1. Winter themed snack- Have fun taste testing white foods that can look like snow including: potatoes, rice, vanilla yogurt, popcorn, vanilla ice cream, cauliflower, bread, white pasta, white cheese, and milk. Challenge your child to explore other foods with different textures and colors to make “tracks in the snow” by adding food coloring or different textures into the mix. 
  2. Ice Cube Jell-O Painting- Sprinkle some Jell-O powder on a large piece of paper. Next, allow the child to spread an ice cube over the powder. As the ice cube melts, the Jell-O will become more like “paint”.  This activity can both decrease tactile defensiveness and incorporate a fun way to explore new flavors. 

Messy tactile play

  1. “Snow” Sensory Bin- fill a container with shaving cream (or cotton balls) as “snow” (feel free to add food coloring of your choice).  Next, place trinkets within the container and have your child search for the items.  Add large spoons to “shovel” the shaving cream or cotton balls.  This activity is great for all ages, as it works on visual motor skills, fine motor skills, motor planning, and tactile play.
  2. Frozen Foam Dough: Combine a 12 oz. box of corn starch and a 10 oz. bottle of shaving cream. Set this dough by placing it in the freezer for a few hours before using.  This activity incorporates executive functioning (i.e., following directions, planning, impulse control) and tactile play.  It’s also a good way to make “smart guesses” about the outcome, temperature, and texture of the science experiment. 

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

  1. Beat the Clock Winter Dress Up Game- This fun activities of daily living (ADL) game is great to play alone, with friends or with family!  It helps children improve their skills required for dressing.  To start this activity, create a personal record sheet to record names and times of each dressing attempt.  Next, start your stopwatch and record the amount of time it takes each child to get dressed (can be daily clothing or winter gear).  Finally, track their progress!  It’s not a race against their peers, but a chance to reflect on how much their dressing skills have improved and have fun at the same time!
  2. Winter Paper Doll Dress-Up- What a better way to work on fine motor, sequencing and ADLs than by creating a paper doll?  We encourage you to draw an outline of a body and cut out little paper clothes to cover the bodies. 

Get moving!

  • Indoor Snowball Fight-  Who doesn’t love a snowball fight?  When it’s too cold outside, re-creating a snowball fight indoors can be a great way to have fun in a group setting, while staying warm.  Collect some white paper and ball it up (as many as you wish).  You can split up into teams or play one on one!  The rest is up to you to create some fun! 
  • Build an Indoor Igloo- Building an indoor fort is a great way to get kids up and moving to regulate their systems before settling in for the night.  Engaging your child in tasks such as, pushing or pulling furniture and crawling, can provide appropriate input to their bodies after a day of being stuck inside.  Try this before bed or nap time and read a book while in the “igloo”. 

Whether your child is stuck indoors due to a snow day or it’s too cold outside to play, the above activities can ensure a fun and exciting day inside, while still playing in the “snow”!  To learn more about the importance of play, and how kids learn by playing, check out this awesome tip sheet from the American Occupational Therapy Association!