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Six Indoor Winter Activities for Young Children

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The winter season starts out with so much excitement for parents of young children—the holidays! the snow! the winter breaks! But after the initial burst of winter fun subsides, the reality sets in: you’re going to be stuck inside with your kids, often in a small space, for the foreseeable future.

While we love exploring the outdoors at any time of year, not every day can be a snow day. Luckily, there are so many ways for your child to experience and enjoy the magic of winter without chapping their tiny faces and hands. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite winter activities, many of which we use here in our Vivvi classrooms.

Here are six ways to bring the winter spirit to your child, for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Winter Activities for Infants

  • Winter in a Bag

    This no-mess sensory play allows your little one to play with cold “snow” without having to get bundled up. Your little one can squeeze, squish or use their finger to draw in the squishy mixture. In between playtimes, parents can pop the bag in the fridge so play time is chilly (but not frozen).

    You’ll need:
    1. Gallon Ziplock bag
    2. Cheap hair gel
    3. Glitter
    4. Marshmallows / cotton balls / Orbeez / tapioca pearls

    Squeeze half the hair gel in the Ziplock bag, add other ingredients – and play! Vivvi Tip: If you’re worried about leaks, cover the seam with duct tape!
  • Iceberg Sensory Bin

    If you’re willing to make a bit of a splashy mess, an iceberg sensory bin is a fun foray into winter! Watch as your child splashes in the water and touches and reacts to the large pieces of ice. Your child will use their imagination to make small toy animals interact with the wet and frozen sensory bin in front of them.

    You’ll need:
    1. Plastic bin
    2. Water
    3. Sandwich ziplock bags
    4. Small animal toys
    5. Food coloring (optional)

    Freeze the icebergs ahead of time by filling sandwich bags with water and popping them in the freezer. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to make the water even more wintery!

Winter Activities for Toddlers

  • Feed the Snowman

    Help your toddler work on hand-eye coordination with this exciting Feed the Snowman game that you can make out of an old plastic bottle. Draw a snowman on an empty drink bottle and show your child how to “feed” Mr. Snowman some cotton balls! Yummy! Younger toddlers may feel more comfortable using the hands to fill the snowman up with cotton balls. Once they’ve mastered that, add in a set of tongs for an extra challenge.

    You’ll need:
    1. Empty clear bottle
    2. Sharpies / craft supplies to decorate your snowman
    3. Tongs
    4. Cotton balls
    Vivvi Tip: Bottles like Gatorade or Vitamin Water work best because the mouth is extra wide
  • Snowflake Balance

    Help your toddler get all of their stuck-inside-wiggly-energy out with a fun game of snowflake balance! Snowy months can be hard on little ones stuck inside when all they want to do is run and climb. Clear out a big section of the floor to give your toddler lots of space to work on their gross motor exercise.

    You’ll need:
    1. Painters tape
    2. Basket
    3. Cotton balls

    We like to tape out a big snowflake and show our toddlers how to tip-toe on the lines, walking back and forth across the tape to retrieve and place cotton balls. You can take turns or watch your child do it over and over on their own.

Winter Activities for Preschoolers

  • Winter Sensory Bottles

    Your preschooler will have just as much fun making these winter sensory bottles with you as they have playing with them on their own. They’re also great for holiday road trips: create a whole set of sensory bottles for your child to explore on the drive to grandma’s house.

    You’ll need:
    1. Empty bottle
    2. Clear glue
    3. Superglue
    4. Glitter
    5. Bottle theme decorations

    Fill a see-through empty bottle with half clear glue and half water. Add a fine glitter and the decorations for the themed bottle you’re making. For a Winter Wonderland, add a drop of blue food coloring and shiny snowflake sequins. For a snowy tree bottle, add a small pine branch and tiny white balls for snow. To make a snowman, add white glitter snow to the bottle and decorate the outside with eyes, a mouth and a carrot nose.

    Vivvi Tip: To reduce the risk of a gluey, glittery mess, superglue the bottle’s lid on so your child can’t twist it off.
  • Can you Build a Snowflake?

    Challenge your preschooler to get creative by replicating a picture of a snowflake out of small craft supplies. With this mixed-media art project, they’re honing in on so many skills: recognizing and replicating patterns and shapes, strengthening fine motor hand muscles, being creative, communicating – and so much more.

    You’ll need:
    1. Snowflake images to copy
    2. Silver pipe cleaners
    3. Q-tips
    4. Blue and clear marbles
    5. Blue and white pom poms

    Vivvi Tip: You don’t have to stick to our inventory list here, feel free to use any white/blue/silver loose parts you have on hand.

Vivvi provides child care and early learning for children ages 0-5, with unrivaled flexibility that works for today’s families. Our inquiry-based curriculum is facilitated by warm, experienced teachers in bright, open spaces that let children make big connections to the growing world around them. Find your nearest Vivvi here.

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