If you’re looking for snow day activities for kids, you’ve come to the right place!
With the weather getting colder by the day, it’s hard to deny the fact that winter will soon be here. On the one hand, this means the holidays are close and we have lots of cozy days and nights with family and friends to look forward to. But winter also has a tendency to bring sicknesses and terrible weather with it, forcing us to stay inside for days on end.
Last winter was a particularly bad one here in Toronto. We had record breaking amounts of snow and ice, and lots of school closures. As a working mom, I spent many nights and mornings obsessively checking my phone for school updates, wondering how I would juggle my work deadlines while simultaneously keeping my daughter entertained and finding ways for her to burn off energy so she didn’t climb the walls.
It was definitely a balancing act on my part, but I soon learned that the more prepared I was, the smoother our day went. I paid attention to the weather reports and made sure to stock up on groceries and other provisions if there was a risk of a snow storm so we didn’t have to brave the elements unless we wanted to, and spent 10-15 minutes creating a daily plan for my daughter and me when a school closure occurred. I feel really overwhelmed when we’re stuck at home and have hours of time to fill, and found it extremely helpful to organize our day into chunks so we had some sort of structure in place.
On snow days, we used the mornings to tackle household chores before heading outside to shovel snow to help us burn off some energy, and then I enforced an hour or so of quiet time so I was able to tackle some work tasks. After lunch, we typically went back outside to go sledding, and then I organized some independent activities for my daughter to engage in while I caught up on my emails and got dinner on the table.
It wasn’t perfect, and the day typically fell apart at one point or another, lol, but I consistently found that things ran much smoother when we had some sort of plan in place.
If you’re looking for snow day activities for kids to help keep your little ones (and you!) from climbing the walls when the weather forces you inside, I hope this collection of ideas inspires you!
11 Indoor Snow Day Activities for Kids That Burn Energy
As I mentioned earlier, we had recording breaking amounts of snow and ice here in Toronto last winter, and since it was also a very cold and bitter winter, there were days when it was way too miserable to be outside for extended periods of time. As much as my daughter wanted to build snowmen and go sledding, it wasn’t always feasible, making the 2 of us feel even more cooped up.
I found it really helpful to organize crafts my daughter could enjoy independently, as well as some activities that would force her to get up and move. This helped her burn off energy and steam so she wasn’t climbing the walls, which was a win for both of us!
Here are 11 indoor snow day activities for kids designed to burn off excess energy.
1) Dance party magic
Sometimes a simple spur-of-the-moment dance party is all it takes to get your kids moving and help them burn off steam. Crank the tunes and encourage them to do silly movements, like shaking their head from side to side, jumping up and down, and hopping on one foot. We have Sonos speakers in all of the main areas of our home and stream music constantly, and when I catch my daughter getting irritable and rangy when we’re cooped up inside, I simply turn the volume up so we can get our wiggles out!
2) Tightrope walking
All you need is a bit of masking tape and a little imagination, and you can make all kinds of tightrope obstacle courses around your house using your child’s favorite toys. A simple example is to have your child walk from one end of the room to another with an object in each of his or her hands, and then have him or her stand on a step stool at the end of the ‘tightrope’ and bend over to place each object into a bucket. Leave the tape in place for the day so you have a quick option to calm your child when he or she becomes irritable or frustrated!
3) Egg races
If you have a little extra room for your kids to move around, like a long hallway or an open basement, consider setting up some fun party games, like egg races (we love this egg race play set)! Start with a simple race across a room or hallway, and then make the game more difficult by asking your child to switch between their right and left hands, walk sideways, walk backwards, etc.
4) Fun with balloons
Blow up a few balloons and let your younger kids hit them across the room, and if you have older children, grab a couple of fly swatters and challenge them to a game of balloon tennis!
5) Animal walks
Animal walks are another one of my favorite indoor snow day activities for kids as you can make it as serious or silly as you want. Write a bunch of different animals on different pieces of paper, throw them into a hat, have your child choose one, and then have him or her walk across a hallway or open room while pretending to walk like the chosen animal. See how long it takes for you and the rest of the family to figure out what the animal is before giving someone else a turn!
6) Hula hooping competition
If you’re looking for cooperative indoor snow day activities for kids, a fun idea is to challenge your children to a 5-minute hula hooping competition. Don’t be afraid to join in – it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and challenge your core!
7) Exercise ball fun
If you’re looking for simple indoor snow day activities for kids, an exercise ball is a fabulous tool as you can do so many different things with it. Ask your child to lie on his or her tummy on the ball and sort objects from one container to another, have him or her sit on the ball and then lie backwards and reach their arms above their head to retrieve objects off of the floor, see how many times he or she can crawl over the ball, ask your child to give you a ‘massage’ by lying on the floor while he or she rolls the ball up and down your back, get him or her to push the ball up a flight of stairs…the possibilities really are endless!
Choose 5 actions (sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc.), write them somewhere visible in the order you’d like them completed (5 sit-ups, 4 push-ups, 3 jumping jacks, etc.), yell, ‘5-4-3-2-1!’ and have your children get up and get moving!
9) Create an obstacle course
One of the challenges I have with kids activities is that my daughter loses interest pretty quickly, which can be frustrating. A great strategy is to combine multiple ideas together into an obstacle course! You can do this in the basement, or split it up over 2 or 3 floors of your house, requiring your child to walk up and down the stairs in between sections. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – as you’ve seen above, there are heaps of things you can do with masking tape and an exercise ball – and the more exciting you make it for your child, the more he or she will want to participate.
10) Stair scavenger hunt
We’ve written an entire post on indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts for kids, but if you’re looking for something quick and easy to organize when your little one is climbing the walls, this is a great option to try. Using 2 puzzle sets (for example, you can use this wooden number set by Hape as well as this wooden number puzzle by Lanka Kade), create a scavenger hunt on your staircase (in this example, your child would be matching numbers). Have your child choose 1 puzzle piece from a bucket and then walk up the stairs to find the matching piece. Ensure he or she doesn’t use the hand rails while walking up and down the stairs, and that he or she crouches down into a squat position when picking up each puzzle piece to make it more challenging (and to burn my energy). As an added twist, have your child assemble both puzzles on the floor while standing on a stepping stool!
If you need calming indoor snow day activities for kids, yoga is a great option to consider. We love this YOGI FUN Kids Yoga Cards Kit as it has illustrated cards to teach kids how to perform each pose.
11 Quiet Indoor Snow Day Activities for Kids
When you think of indoor snow day activities for kids, you probably gravitate toward things like coloring, playing with playdoh, reading, and watching movies. All of these ideas are fun and fabulous, but since your child probably already does a lot of these activities after school and on weekends, I find it helpful to have creative ideas at the ready to mix things up.
If you’re looking for quiet activities you can enjoy with your kids on bad weather days, along with some independent ideas to keep them busy while you grab a little time to yourself, here are 11 ideas we love.
1) Dictionary scavenger hunt
If you’re looking for educational activities to keep your kids learning when they’re stuck inside, Hunter’s Teaching Tales has the perfect idea to give your kids extra practice with their dictionary skills. Grab your dictionary and keep this idea in your back pocket for snow days.
2) Cardboard marble run
This activity on Little Bins Little Hands is one of my favorite snow day activities for kids as it requires planning and creativity, and the options really are endless. Your child can use painters tape and tape cardboard tubes to the wall, then watch as they drop marbles down each tube and find out where they are going to land.
3) Frozen oobleck sensory play
Frozen oobleck can be made from cornstarch, water and food coloring (or without the food coloring if you don’t have any on hand) and provides endless hours of melty, gooey, messy fun. Oobleck is based on the Caldecott Award winning book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Suess and feels like gooey playdough. Check out the details on Learning and Exploring Through Play. Your kids will love it!
4) Board games
There are a lot of fun board games you can enjoy with your kids – here are some of our favorites!
- Learning Resources Lil’ Lemonade Stand-Off. I’ve never met a Learning Resources game or toy that has disappointed me throughout my career as a mom, and this game is no exception. It’s a memory building game designed for kids aged 5 and older, and while the premise of the game is simple enough for kids to grasp and play without adult supervision (if you have more than one child), the cards can be quite challenging!
- Operation. This is a great game to help kids work on their fine motor skills! Players take turns removing wacky ailments from the game board using a set of tweezers, and have to be careful to remove each piece with precision so as not to set off the buzzer. This is an oldie but goodie your kids will love.
- Scrabble. Scrabble is a great game for kids who struggle with planning and organization. As the game progresses, they must strategize and anticipate how they can build their own words off of those already played by others. This is also a great game for kids who struggle with spelling and/or vocabulary, making it another one of my favorite snow day games!
- HedBanz. If you’ve never played HedBanz, you’re in for a REAL treat. Not only is this game fun, the question and answer premise behind this game will also challenge your child’s critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills. This is definitely high on my list of board games to play with your kids.
- Stare! Junior. This game will challenge your child’s memory, concentration, and imagination all at the same time. Players are given 30 seconds to stare at an image on a card, and then the card is flipped over and another player asks them a series of questions about the image to see how much they can remember. It’s heaps of fun!
5) Button bracelets
This activity on Red Ted Art is a simple, wearable craft for kids to create. This project will walk you through how to use string to make a two-layer button bracelet. It’s completely customizable in terms of size and color, making it a great gift idea to boot!
6) Osmo Genius Kit
While I like to find ways to get kids off their electronics, the Osmo system has really captured my heart. It teaches so many important concepts in a fun and creative way, and if you’re looking for independent activities for kids that challenge their problem-solving activities, the Tangram game is one of my absolute favorites!
7) Window Writing
If the weather is miserable, give your child some window markers and ask him or her to brighten up your view!
8) Taste testing
This is a great mindfulness activity for kids as it helps them stay in tune with their senses, which can help them calm down and relax. To play, place an eye mask over your child’s eyes, and then ask him or her to use only their sense of touch, taste, and smell to figure out what food he or she is eating. You can make this as easy or hard as you would like, and it doubles as a fun way to get kids to try new foods!
9) Guess what’s in the bag
Fill a paper bag with various objects and ask your child to stick their hands in and guess what they are using nothing other than their sense of touch. This is a great sensory activity and can be extremely calming as it forces kids to focus only on the task at hand. Just be sure to tread carefully if your child has sensory sensitivities – if you add textures that cause him or her stress, it will have the opposite effect you’re looking for!
10) Mindfulness Labyrinths
Mazes are one of my favorite calming activities for children, and they are high on my list of recommended indoor snow day activities for kids. I found this collection of ‘mindful labyrinths’ on Teachers Pay Teachers, which can be used as finger labyrinths or completed with a pencil.
11) Straw painting
If your child struggles to remain calm and collected when he or she is cooped up inside, straw painting is a great activity to try. When a child takes deep, meaningful breaths, they unconsciously bring themselves back to a place of calm. All you need to do is plop some watered down watercolor paints on a piece of paper, and then ask your child to spread the paint around by blowing air through a drinking straw. It’s simple, fun, and effective in getting kids to calm down and concentrate.
I hope this collection of indoor snow day activities for kids inspires you to find fun and creative ways to help your little one burn off steam and stay engaged when you’re cooped up inside for hours (or days) at a time!
This post contains affiliate links.
If you found this collection of snow day activities for kids helpful, please share this post on Pinterest!
And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun at home with your children, please follow our Kids board where we share all kinds of great ideas we find each day!