Chill out: 15 winter activities for kids to beat cabin fever

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Winter is a unique season with many opportunities to engage kids in indoor and outdoor adventures. Whether you want to bundle up and go outside or cuddle up by the fire inside, these winter activities for kids will help fill your season with cherished memories of time spent together.

A family is sledding down a snowy hill.
Sledding. Photo credit: Yayimages.

From snow forts to baking, this article explores various ideas to help keep your kids entertained this winter. So cozy up with a blanket and prepare for a season of unforgettable moments both inside and outside with your children.

Indoor activities

When it is too cold to go outside, try some of these winter activities to entertain your children. Have them choose something new to do each weekend and see how many you can get through before the season is over.

Hot cocoa bar

Get out your fun coffee mugs and set up a hot cocoa bar for the family. Have a variety of toppings to choose from such as sprinkles, whipped cream, chocolate chips, caramel sauce and small candies. Help your children make their hot cocoa and customize it with their favorite toppings and flavors.

Movie night

A family sitting on a couch watching tv.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Pop some popcorn and cozy up on the couch to watch movies together. Watch a movie that takes place in the winter such as “Frozen” or “Ice Age” to stick with the winter theme.

Play board games

Break out the board games for some friendly competition or just play for fun. Teach your kids a new game or play a family favorite. If you don’t own many board games, check out your local thrift stores or large retailers for games that cost less than $10. 

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Build forts

Use pillows, blankets, chairs and other furniture to build forts. Build with your children or allow them to be creative. Limit the number of blankets they can use or rooms they can be in to keep it more manageable. Kids can read or play with their toys in the fort for the day. 

Bake or cook

Bake cookies or brownies or cook a meal together. Give your children a few recipes to choose from or make a boxed mix together. Either way, they can practice reading and following directions, while making delicious food you can enjoy as a family.

Science experiments

Father and son playing with slime.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Conduct simple science experiments together. Many experiments use household items so they don’t have to cost anything. Science experiments can be messy, but they don’t have to be. Do what you’re comfortable with and have fun.

Make crafts

Use various odds and ends or leftover crafting supplies to get creative. Kids can make snowflakes and cards or use their imagination to make their own creations. You can also purchase craft kits online or at craft stores.

Have a dance party

Put on some kid-friendly tunes and dance around the living room. Make up your own moves or watch videos to learn some new ones. Take turns picking the music for some variety.

Create an obstacle course

Using pillows, blankets, chairs and other household objects, put together an obstacle course. Kids can jump over pillows and crawl under tables to get through the course. Set up some rules ahead of time to keep everyone safe and all objects intact.

Indoor scavenger hunt

Create a scavenger hunt by making a list of objects or clues for kids to find certain items. Make it more challenging for older kids by writing riddles for them to solve.

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Outdoor activities

Although many parts of the country are cold, outdoor winter activities for kids are still possible as long as you’re dressed for the weather. Be sure to check the forecast before setting off on your adventures.

Ice skating

A woman and her son are skating on the ice in front of a house.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Many cities and counties have outdoor ice skating rinks and ice skates can usually be rented for use while there. Check your local city’s website to see if there is one in your area.

“Ice skating is our family’s favorite winter activity. As we don’t get snow in California, experiencing winter through being on ice brings lots of joy to my kids. We put on warm hats and gloves and pretend that it’s cold.” 

— Tamara, Thriving In Parenting

Winter nature hike

Take your family for a hike on a local nature trail. Each season, the trails and their surroundings look slightly different. Look for animal tracks in the snow and icicles on the trees. Make sure to wear proper attire for the weather. 


After it snows, grab a sled or two and go sledding down a local hill or mountain. Bundle up and be prepared to climb the hill after going down. If there isn’t a lift, smaller children may need to be carried back up the hill.

Winter picnic

Fill some travel mugs with hot cocoa, and some with soup, bundle up and head to the park to play in the cold. If there’s snow, bring sleds so you can pull the kids around for some extra fun. 

Build a snowman

If it snows in your area, help your kids build a snowman. Add accessories like hats and scarves as well as things found in nature like rocks and sticks. Mix food coloring with water and add some color to your snowman.

“My favorite winter activity with my kids is playing in the snow. The simple free pleasures of crafting snow angels, building snowmen, and engaging in the occasional snowball fight are memory-makers. This is a cherished childhood memory for me, and I’m delighted that my kids are creating their own lasting moments through this winter tradition.”

— Cindy, Visit OhioToday

Final thoughts

The winter months can seem long, but keeping busy with these fun winter activities for kids can help it go by faster for you and for them. Write some of the ideas above on small pieces of paper and have a child pick one from a hat or a bowl to help decide which activity to do. Before you know it, winter will be over.

Heidi is a Certified Elementary School Teacher in the Inland Northwest and has been teaching for 17 years. She is also a vintage recipe blogger at, where she focuses on recipes that are at least 50 years old, many from her grandparents’ kitchens. When she isn’t teaching or baking, she loves spending time with her husband and three kids.

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