This article was originally published on dfwchild.com.
On those days when it’s just too cold (or, let’s be honest, we’re just too lazy) to go outside, Mom can beat cabin fever with an arsenal of fun games that have nothing to do with a screen or device. Read on for our roundup of fun and free indoor winter activities, games and crafts perfect for kids of all ages.
Jenga All the Way
Put a seasonal spin on the classic block-stack game. With just a pen, paper and a little bit of tape, you can transform your Jenga set into a heartwarming holiday conversation starter. Write out questions on slips of paper, and then tape the questions onto every Jenga piece. When a player pulls out a block to stack higher up on the tower, they must share their answer. It’s a fun way for your family to reflect on their favorite parts of the season – with the added challenge to not be the one who knocked over the tower!
Gather up bundles of clean socks for an epic indoor “snowball” fight. Choose a room in your house to be the battleground—just make sure that all fragile items like lamps are safe from stray snowballs. While the kids stack pillows to build their protective forts, you can use a blanket to create a line in the middle of the room that the teams cannot cross. Mom, set a timer on your smartphone (we recommend about five minutes per battle) and start the snowball showdown. When the timer buzzes, the team with the least amount of snowballs on their side wins.
Want to skip the long lines and frosty temps without missing out on the fun? Tell the kids slip on a pair of thick socks and get onto the “rink”—er, your living room floor—for ice-skating, minus the ice. Your little one can channel their inner Michelle Kwan or Adam Rippon and choreograph a routine to their favorite song. Added benefit: all that sliding around will be just as good as Swiffering – just discourage any attempts at triple axels.
This fun (and free) DIY game is endlessly customizable. To start, print out a free bingo template or draw a grid on a sheet of paper. (The grid can be adapted for different age groups, but we recommend a traditional 5×5 grid.) Fill in each grid box with a different word or picture. The first one to call “Bingo!” gets to choose what movie that the family will watch. Or, mix in the guessing game “I Spy” so that each bingo slot is a different decoration around the house. In this mash-up game, the player must has to find the decoration on their board and in the house in order to get the point. Get creative with bingo markers—consider using paper snowflakes, stickers or Hershey’s kisses to fill each spot.
Winter Wonderland Adventure
Design an indoor obstacle course using pillows, toys and other household items and furniture. The objective is for your little one to reach the North Pole as fast as possible. Mom can decide if an extra incentive is to complete the mission. Personally, we think you can never go wrong with the promise of a mug of cocoa with extra whipped cream. To spark your imagination for your own winter wonderland course, we brainstormed some obstacle ideas that will challenge your kiddos with stuff that’s already around the house:
– Crawl through the candy cane forest (underneath the kitchen table or some chairs).
– Try out for Santa’s reindeer crew and jump as high as possible over a stack of pillows.
– Go snowball bowling (grab those socks again—this time, your kiddo has to knock over a plastic toy, liter soda bottle or some other non-breakable object).
Snack on Snowmen
Edible activities are a hit for all ages. Fill separate bowls with large and mini marshmallows plus pretzel sticks, sprinkles, candies and whatever else you want to decorate your sweet snowman. Vanilla frosting can be used to “glue” your Frosty all together. If you opt to use toothpicks to assemble these treats, keep a close eye on the kids to avoid any risk of choking.