Whenever anyone mentions indoor winter activities for kids, my mind immediately goes to reading The Long Winter from the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my girls when they were young. Specifically, I recall the description of the family struggling through a bleak Midwest winter with no firewood or coal. With typical pioneer ingenuity, Pa comes up with a plan—burn hay to keep busy and stay alive.
So that’s what the family does for winter entertainment and survival day after day—they twist hay into tight “sticks” to keep the home fires burning.
Can you even imagine? Maybe it was the fact that I was raising four young children in the Midwest, but the very idea of keeping them entertained and alive by having them twist hay sticks all through the cold winter months shot jolts of horror through me. That plan would have lasted approximately 4.5 seconds before complaining and revolt broke out.
Thankfully, twisting sticks of hay isn’t high on the list of winter indoor activities for kids these days. But as parents, we are equally challenged to find indoor educational activities for kids at home, especially those not involving screen time.
As effective as screens are at keeping our kids occupied during the long winter months, they may not always be the best option. According to research, unlimited phone use and kids—both older and younger—aren’t always the best match. If your child struggles with screen use, Troomi can help! With screen time limits, no social media, and website/contact SafeListing™, your child can learn to have fun without their phones.
So, if you’re looking for some indoor educational activities for kids at home that don’t involve tech, check out these popular options.
Screen-free Winter/Indoor Activities for Kids
Read a book. This can be done as an individual or group activity. Some of our best family memories involve reading books together.
Play board games. Good Housekeeping offers a list of the 33 Best Board Games to Play, According to Experts and Testers. Some of the top sellers for 2022 include Double Ditto, T.A.P.E.S!, Do You Really Know Your Family, Wordle the Party Game, and The Mind.
Host a talent show. Don’t let those piano, drum, or tuba lessons go to waste. Gather family and friends together for an evening of musical (or other) entertainment, amateur style.
Have a pillow/sock fight. If you have the space, encourage your kids to put their anxious energy to good use with fun competition games like pillow fights or sock fights. Just make sure all the table lamps are safely stowed to avoid accidental breakage.
Build a fort. Or any other fun, adventurous creation. Blankets and pillows provide hours of fun. You can also use materials like crepe paper or yarn to create obstacle courses or mazes to navigate.
Get artistic. Print off coloring pages or create original artwork with paint, crayons, or magazine pictures. Kids could even get creative with Play-Doh or prepackaged art kits from the local hobby store.
Play flashlight hide and seek. A fun game of sardines, capture the flag, Simon Says, indoor bowling, or hot potato works too! Or really any fun night game you can think of that can be done safely indoors.
Learn or practice a handicraft. Bring back the art of friendship bracelets, boondoggle (Napoleon Dynamite, anyone?), crocheting, knitting, cross-stitch, and the like. Don’t let those old-time traditions die with this new generation.
Create a tape road system. Give your kids some painters’ tape and let them test their engineering skills. Encourage them to make a road system for their matchbox cars. And if they’re not into cars, they can use the tape to create hopscotch or other creations on the kitchen floor.
Have a dance party. Turn on some favorite tunes and party like it’s 2022 (because 1999 is so last millennium!).
Learn to cook. Help your kids learn something new that will not only get their creative juices flowing but also give them skills to last a lifetime. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Kids To Cook for some great ideas.
Write it down. Encourage your kids to write things down. They can practice by writing letters to family members or friends, writing out a short story longhand, or even practicing the ancient art of cursive or calligraphy.
Just Get Creative
Whatever you decide to do, just encourage your kids to put their phones down and have some fun with a few of these indoor activities for kids. No twisting hay sticks required.