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11 winter activities to do at home

Winter in Boston always seems to last longer than we think it will. If you're looking for some fun cold weather activities to plan for your kids, you've come to the right place. 

Experts in play

Tufts Medical Center in Boston has experts in creating fun activities that kids love. Our Child Life Specialists offer of a full range of services to kids who are dealing with an illness, injury, disability and/or hospitalization but one of the most important areas that they focus on is play.

Play is a vital component of children’s lives; at all stages of development, play is the major way that children communicate, learn, rehearse, relax and have fun. Play is also a valuable way to help children in the hospital express their feelings and deal with being ill. Tufts Medical Center pioneered the concept of integrating play into the daily routine, and it is an important part of the care Child Life provides.

Winter weather activities

So, what are some activities that our Child Life Specialists recommend beyond the typical standbys or reading or watching TV? Tufts Medical Center Director of Child Life Services, Andrea Colliton provides 11 great ideas:

1. DIY (do it yourself) laser maze

Families could use tape, string, or even toilet paper to create a variety of cross “beams” that children would have to navigate through without touching the “laser.” You could make these hard or easy be adding more “lasers” or by timing the activity to see who could get through the maze the fastest without touching any of the lasers.

2. "Mess free" finger painting

Use a large plastic zip lock bag and add a few blobs of washable paint inside. Zip the top tight and add a layer of tape to give the top an extra seal. Place the bag on a flat service and have the child move the paint around in the bag. This is good for young kids to learn about mixing colors etc.

3. Snow volcano

You could do this activity inside or outside. Take an empty water bottle and add about 3 scoops of baking soda to it. If outside, use snow, if there is any, to create a “snow mountain” around the water bottle leaving a hole at the top that goes directly into the water bottle. Take a cup of vinegar and pour it directly into the hole of the “volcano” and then sit back and watch the volcano erupt. You can also add food coloring to the vinegar for added fun, or bring a bucket of snow inside the house to create a snow mountain in the sink or the tub!

4. Paint the snow

Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of food coloring. Use the spray bottle outside to paint the snow different colors. You could also bring a bucket of snow inside and make a snow man on an edged tray and then paint the snow man with water/ food coloring.

5. Sticky spider web game

Use tape to create a criss cross web between a standard door frame. Make sure the sticky side of the tape is facing the same direction. Stand on the side of the door way that is showing the sticky side of the tap. Crumple up pieces of newspaper/magazines and use as balls. Try to see who can get all of their paper balls stuck in the “web”.

6. Create your own snow paint

All you need is non toxic glue and shaving cream. Mix equal parts of shaving cream and glue into a container and use as paint on colored construction paper.

7. Paper plane flying school

This is a take on the standard paper airplane making activity. Not only would kids make their own paper airplanes, but they would create a variety of contests such as who can go the furthest, who can make it through different sized hoops (or holes), who can do the most loops etc. 

8. Balloon ping pong

Take two paper plates and tape a popsicle stick to each one to make it look like a ping pong paddle. Use a standard blown up balloon to play balloon ping pong.

9. Family treasure hunt

Create a basic map of your house or floor of your home. Have kids help! Take turn hiding something in the house without the others looking and the place an X on the map close by where the item is hidden.

10. Scavenger hunt

Create a list of basic items that need to be found throughout the home (or within one room). Have the kids check off the items as they find them and bring them to one central location. To expand the activity, kids could be timed to see who can get the most items off the list first, or they can win some form of prize if completed first etc.

11. Indoor obstacle course

To help kids get out some of their energy indoors, work with them to create a safe obstacle course that involves climbing, rolling, crawling, and jumping from one part of the home to the other.