Winter in Texas can be tricky. While it may be winter for most of the rest of the country, we still have the mix of warm days where no jackets are needed followed by an abrupt cold snap that has you running for hats and gloves. It can be unpredictable and those cold and icy days seem to always sneak up on me.
When the winter weather brings ice, snow, cancelled school or too-cold-for-outside-playting temperatures, what do you do to keep busy and have fun indoors?
Here are some of my go-to ideas for indoor fun on a cold day. I suggest purchasing some of the materials ahead of time (though you may have some around the house already) and keep them on hand for an indoor play day. All of the materials can be purchased on your next trip to the grocery store/Target/Wal-Mart.
Materials needed: baking soda, conditioner.
When you want to play with snow, but don’t want to freeze your hands, you can make this simple and fun indoor snow. Two ingredients: baking soda and conditioner. That’s it! Mix 3 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of hair conditioner and pour out onto a tray, into a large bin or even on a clean cookie sheet. You can add a few of your child’s favorite figurines and let them play. It’s cool to the touch (but not as cold as snow) and moldable. It can be stored in an airtight container or baggie and used again another day. Tip: if it dries out, just add little more conditioner and you will be good to go.
Materials needed: flour, baby oil.
Cloud dough is sort of like sand but much softer. It’s moldable and smells lovely. Similar to the indoor snow, you can make it and play with it on a tray, in a bowl or on a clean cookie sheet. It’s made by mixing 2 cups of flour and 1/4 cup of baby oil together. To add a little magic, add in some fine glitter. Ours is FULL of glitter, you just can’t see it. We have used sand castle toys and play dough rollers with the dough. It can be stored in an airtight container or baggie.
Snow Ice Cream
Materials needed: fresh snow, milk, vanilla, sugar.
Ok so we don’t get a TON of chances to collect snow in Dallas, but when it does snow, you can bet we will be making snow ice cream! As soon as you see it snowing, set out a clean bowl to collect snow (or collect about 4-5 cups of clean snow). Set that in the freezer while you prepare the other ingredients: mix 1 cup of milk, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add your snow to the mixture until it is about as thick as ice cream. Sprinkles optional (though in our house they are more of a requirement).
Cosmic Kids Yoga
I play this on an iPad or the TV when the girls seem restless and need some physical activity. These are really fun kid focused yoga videos found on YouTube. If you have access to the internet – you have access to Cosmic Kids Yoga. The teacher tells an engaging story and as the kids act out the story, they are learning different stretches and exercises while using their imagination. My 5 year old loves these videos, especially Mimi the Mermaid and Popcorn the Dolphin. My 2 year old is starting to follow along a little more and enjoys doing them alongside her sister.
Sometimes when the weather is snowy or wet we bundle up and play in the garage. If we back both cars into the driveway it gives just enough space for a 5 and 2 year old to ride their bikes and scooters round and round. They absolutely love when we blow up the bounce house in the garage. I suggest checking out toy stores and Facebook resale groups for great deals on smaller bounce houses. Honestly, it has been one of the best kid purchases we have made. We found our Little Tikes version on a mega sale at Toy’s R Us a few years ago and are so glad we snagged it.
Fellow contributor Gabrielle wrote a while back about some really fun obstacle courses she sets up at home for her kids. Check out her post for inspiration but this is an easy activity you can do with items in your house to get your kids moving around.
How do you stay busy (and sane) when the weather keeps you indoors? Share your best ideas in the comments below!