How to Keep The Kids Busy When It's Too Cold Outside

smiling little boy in cardboard box costume

Don’t panic! That brain freeze you are experiencing right now, while the kids are whining, “I’m bored” for the hundredth time already that day, won’t ever happen again. I've got you covered.

With three children, I am constantly trying to come up with creative things for them to stay entertained and out of trouble. No parent wants a bored child in a house, something always gets broke!

But there are simple ways to avoid those brain freeze moments with this list of some common and not so common fun, activities below.

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From cardboard playhouses, rocket ships, to a milk carton flower pot; you can make hundreds of craft projects with the kids out of your recycled goods. Why not use newspaper to make paper airplanes. Paint cereal boxes as monster feet. Toilet paper roll into a mini-golf course in your living room. Have a few empty milk cartons, set up a mini-bowling bottle game.

It doesn’t cost a thing to use your recycled goods and it creates endless hours of craft time. You can even give your little ones a glue stick and pile up the recycle next to them and see what they can create on their own. My kids love a good glue session with cardboard and newspaper. Make sure you clear the fireplace so they can display their masterpiece afterwards!


Kids love baking cookies, bread, muffins, and cupcakes, especially when they get to decorate them and eat them afterwards but how about creating a bake-off with homemade Play-Doh or slime. Kids love making either of these and then playing with it afterwards. Don’t forget the glitter, it takes Play-Doh and slime to the next level. Just don’t get it near your carpet, trust me, you will be giving your carpet a short haircut if it dries.

We have all been told once in our lives to stop playing with our food. Well, now children are actually encouraged to play with their food. So go on, break the rules and build a castle using marshmallows and pretzel sticks. Make trail mix with the kids and then hide gummy worms in the bottom and have them fish them out. Make jello jigglers in rainbow colors and before you slurp them into your mouths, make them dance on the table for a puppet show.


Don’t know what to do with those old stinky socks? Give them a good wash, fill them with dry beans for a game of bean bag toss. Create an obstacle course. Have a scavenger hunt. My kids love indoor camping and building a fort with blankets as their tent.

There is always family board games to play that are a big hit on those cold winter days too. I am sure most of us have a cupboard full of these just waiting to “finally” be played.

Card games are fun but why not build a castle out of a few decks of cards for an even more challenging card. Make sure not to play if someone has a cold, sneezing and coughing are not allowed.

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If you can handle messy play, sensory activities are for you. These are always my kids’ first choice despite my toes curling with my messy play phobia. So I try to contain the mess as much as possible without ruining their fun.

The bathtub is an excellent place to start if your new to messy play. Get bath crayons so they can display their artistic talents. Fill it up with foam or bubbles so they can play pirates at sea hunting for treasure, don’t forget to drop water toys in the bubbles so they have something to hunt for, or perhaps not finding anything might take them twice as long. How about giving them shaving foam to graffiti the bathtub walls. Although you might need a few cans or this could be over far too quickly.

Want to be a risk-taker? Fill a box up with sand and hide small toys in it for a real treasure hunt. Just don’t fill the bathtub with sand. It’s not a pretty clean up job, an old shoebox is better. Give them a tiny shovel to make it like being at the beach. In fact, we like to dress like we are going to the beach with our swimming suit, sun hat, and beach towels. That’s the beauty of playing with your imagination, kids can go wild with it.

What do you do on a cold, winter day to entertain your little ones? Do you opt for movies and popcorn or go all out with a mad scientist sensory experiment in the bathtub?

These are only a few of the activities we keep handy on a list to pick from when we are bored. As the kids get older, we add to our rainy day jar where they can suggest activities to do on pieces of paper, fold it and we draw from the jar. You never know what your jar might make you do!

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