Surviving Being Stuck at Home 101: Indoor Activities to Stay Busy And Happy

We have so many snow day activities for you!

As a child I used to beg, beg, BEG the newscaster to issue those glorious words on snowy days… “School is CLOSED!” Even as a teacher, I used to silently pray that I would see the name of my district appear in the list of closings due to inclement weather. 

Now, as a parent, I realize the bittersweet nature of a snow day.

Surviving a Snow Day 101

Sure, we don’t have to hurry out the door on snow days. There are no lunches to pack or carpool lines to navigate. No one will notice if the family lives in their pajamas  for the entire day.

But you do have to entertain your children without losing you mind. That is no easy feat some days, my friends.

When frigid temperatures and cold winter weather strike, we have activities to prepare you to keep children occupied and parents sane.

dog birthday

Snow Day Activities

  • Host a stuffed animal birthday party. Have children plan a birthday party for their favorite stuffed animal. They can draw invitations, create party decorations and then cook (with a parent’s help) a tasty treat for everyone to enjoy at the animal’s party. Be sure to sing “Happy Birthday” and have a candle for everyone to blow out!
  • Finger-paint with shaving cream. Pour a good amount of shaving cream onto a large cookie sheet and add a few drops of food coloring. Let kids finger paint, creating a masterpiece of peaks and valleys out of the colored shaving cream. This is a great way to help toddlers learn their colors.
  • Have a dance-off. Dig through the family music stash and put on some fun dance tunes for the family to enjoy. See which family member has the best moves. This is a great activity everyone will enjoy and it (hopefully) will burn off some of the pent-up energy.
  • Step into the kitchen. Having to stay indoors is a great time to bake or cook with children. Children learn about measurements, practice their stirring skills and have to demonstrate patience when helping in the kitchen with mom or dad. Baking bread is a great kitchen activity for children to enjoy alongside a parent.

These activities would be fun any day!

  • Draw a map. Roll out a large piece of butcher paper (the backside of wrapping paper works great for this activity) and have kids draw roads and buildings on it, creating a map they can use for toy cars or small toys. Perhaps create a map of a town, the zoo, or even Disney World. Children will love making their own map and then will have great fun playing on it.
  • Wash” the dishes. Fill the kitchen sink with warm water and bubbles and have kids wash their play dishes. Water play is enjoyed by all children, especially when they are assigned an “adult” task like doing the dishes. Keep safety in mind with this activity. Be sure to place towels on stools where kids are standing to keep them from slipping. Also, remind them never to turn on the faucet themselves as they might get scalded by the hot water.
  • Hallway relay races. Even when provided with a variety of indoor activities, children still need the chance to run and play. Host a family relay race down a long hall or in a large room. Have different themes for the races, such as having to wear large shoes while running or running backward. Time each race and see who can run the fastest and the  slowest.
  • Write a book. Staple a few pieces of construction paper together to make a blank book children can use to write a story about their life. Have them trace their hand, draw a picture of a favorite activity and attempt a self-portrait.

Warm Indoor Activities

  • Pull out the reserve. Hopefully there are a few Christmas presents or small trinkets tucked away that children have yet to enjoy. Pull out these new things and let children experience them for the first time.
  • Go craft crazy. Rather than sitting down for a structured craft, let kids create their own. Pull out the glue, scissors, paper, string, and any other odds-and-ends and let kids put their creativity to work. Little ones can improve their scissor skills by cutting everything possible while older kids can  create a host of inventions by using the materials provided.
  • Make a play date. Remember that other parents are stuck at home with kids as well. If road conditions allow, call up some friends and invite them over for a winter play date. Encourage them to come dressed in their pajamas, serve pancakes and hot chocolate and make paper snowflakes together. Let the children entertain each other for a bit while adults enjoy some quality conversation.
  • Get ready for Hollywood. Help children make a homemade movie by acting out a favorite book or even creating their own screenplay. Film these stories on the family video camera, download to the computer and send to family and friends to enjoy!
  • Bring the sandbox indoors. Playing in the sandbox is not merely limited to the summer months. Place sand in a small plastic tub, toss in a few cups and small toys, and let children dig for buried treasures. Turn this into a math lesson by measuring out sand in different increments. See how much sand it takes to fill various containers!

How do you keep kids entertained while stuck inside during the winter months? Leave a comment and share your ideas!


  1. I love this. Obstacle courses and treasure maps are a hit at our house. Ugh…have to go hand out snacks…

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