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Cabin fever is a real thing that not only hits adults but it bothers kids too! Pin this post and keep it as a reference of activities you can do to entertain kids in winter. Most use items already in your home or require little purchases happen but make sure to sure out this post of our favorite arts and crafts items to see what we pulled out to make some activities happen.
If you’re new here then chances are you haven’t had the opportunity to read through part 1 and part 2 of my “10 activities to entertain kids in winter” posts so go ahead and do that now! You’ll see that many of these activities change with the growing ages of my kids but some can be adapted for different age groups as well.
- Sensory Bins – Use a large tub or even your summer water table as a container and fill it with a theme. Could be as simple as all the pieces to your wooden puzzles and have them sort it back out. Find everything you can in your toy room that’s blue and create a winter blues bin to explore! Or fill it with Easter eggs (as I know I’ve mentioned this is a good activity year round) to make things like a letter match.
- Pattern play – This can be an activity jumping off the previous one. Now that Brielle is older she’s understanding the concept of patterns and missing parts. Write out patterns on your paper roll, leaving spaces for the kids to fill it in with their materials. Consider writing the alphabet but leave a few missing. Or break out your colored math tiles and create a pattern of colored blocks asking them to fill in what’s next. Red, Red, Blue, Red, Red, ____
- Paint in new places – If you normally have kids paint sitting down at a table, consider changing the positions and paint standing up at an easel. Or, if you’re brave, consider bathtub painting! We recently did this and besides the paintbrushes and fingerpaint we used, I also gave them a wash cloth and spray bottle each to clean up. Who knew the spray bottle would’ve been the biggest hit! Once they were done, they were already in the right place for an actual bath and I cleaned the shower walls later that night. If you’re worried about staining, use shaving cream instead!
- Paint with new materials – Dig around your craft bin or kitchen utensil drawer and try painting with new textural materials, like plastic forks, luffas or potato mashers! Or paint on bubble wrap to see the new pattern it will make.
- Contact paper wall mural – Peel the adhesive covering of a piece of contact paper and adhere it to your wall with painter’s tape with the sticky side of the contact paper facing out. Give them space pieces of tissue paper, magazines or junk mail and encouraging them to rip it up and add it to the wall. If they’re older, draw designed on the contact paper and have them fill out different sections with different colorful bites. See our contact paper activities ideas here!
- Dot to Dot tracing – this was a huge hit when the Elf on the Shelf brought this activity in December so I was all about breaking it out again this cold winter season. Draw words or shapes on a paper roll and let them dot away!
- Play Doh activities with a theme – Instead of dumping your bin of play doh toys onto the table, give them a select few items within a theme. Throw in some Googly eyes or pipe cleaners and have them make monsters. Give them pieces to your potato man and have them invent their own Play Doh man. Give them a plastic fork and have them make patterns. Limit the options and see what they can do to get creative!
- Clean – This may seem like the opposite of many of my above activities that include making a bigger mess or pulling out toys from your organized space but use the time to teach them to clean! I’m not sure if everyone’s kids are into this but both my girls fight over who can “sweep up the crumbies” in the kitchen when I bring out the little dustpan and brush. Same with the vacuum! Sure they don’t do as good of a job as I could do but I’m not going to argue for them wanting to help! I also give them each a little cloth and pretend to spray dust spray on it and they’ll “help” me dust the tabletops and entertainment unit.
- Spin art. We’ve been pretty addicted to ours as of late. The action of making the art is fun but after you’re done, turn them into different things, like gift tags, turkeys or hearts!
- Create a trail. Have them take out blocks or their little characters and line them up all the way down a hallway. You can use this activity to discuss like objects or learning about classifying things into categories.