8 Winter Activities for Toddlers
It’s December and, if you’re from a region that gets all four seasons, that means you can expect some things very soon (if you haven’t already gotten them, that is): cold and SNOW. This time of year can be really tricky if you’re a caregiver of very young children because, let’s face it, there are just fewer things to do with them during the winter. It’s so easy to get stuck in the same patterns and activities which, when you’re cooped up indoors for months on end, get really old really fast. Plus, I think most of us are probably either super great at or striving to reduce the screen time of the kiddos we care for, so we can’t just watch Frozen all day.
Enter this post. I decided to compile a list of activities to try when coloring and playing dress up just ain’t cutting it for ya anymore. Now, keep in mind that some of these are things I’m looking forward to trying with my kids this winter, so I can’t personally vouch for all of them. I’ve also tried to stick to affordable things because nobody has money for Disneyworld every other day. Hopefully you find something that will help entertain the toddler in your life this winter!
Sifting Snow Sensory Bin: Ok, I don’t know about your kids, but mine go bananas for their outdoor, water sensory table in the summer. Obviously, that’s not going to work when it’s freezing outside, so make an indoor friendly sensory bin instead! Grab a rectangular plastic storage bin with a lid (really any type of container will do, but this way, you can store and reuse it). Then, get the biggest bag of white rice you can find and dump it in. Grab a few things for sifting your “snow”, like little plastic cups or socks, and you’re set! Bonus points if you use Christmas-themed items.
Painting Snow: Dalton is utterly obsessed with spray bottles (seriously, I have to watch my cleaners like a hawk) and would squirt all the liquid out on the floor if I let him, so he is going to love this. Once you have a good amount of snow, grab a few small, cheap plastic spray bottles (think the dollar store), fill them with water, and add a few drops of food dye. Try to get a different color in each one. Then, just have your kiddo spray them on the snow! Of course, there’s a big potential for shenanigans here, so you’ll probably want to use this one with older toddlers and do it with them so you can make sure they don’t spray themselves or anything that might stain.
Christmas Lights: Both of my littles are in awe of all the pretty lights around town. Seeing the joy on their faces and hearing their happy squeals when they spot some is just the best. Driving around, looking at all the beautiful lights is a great activity for those nights when you need a low-maintenance activity that just gets you out of the house. Do some Googling or ask around to figure out if there’s a neighborhood that puts on a great show. If you want to spend a little money, check a nearby zoo to see if they have a light display and grab some tickets.
Snowflakes: Here’s something great to do with a slightly older kiddo who’s able to handle safety scissors. Grab some coffee filters (the non-cone kind would work best) and let your little one cut holes in it to make “snowflakes”. This is another one that you’ll want to help them with, but that just adds to the fun. You could obviously use paper instead of coffee filters, but this way you have the circle shape already made.
Holiday Handprints or Footprints: This was a favorite of mine when I worked at a daycare, because you can do it with all ages. Grab some non-toxic fingerpaint made for kids, a few sheets of paper, and you’re set. I think we all know how to make hand and foot prints, but the fun part here is getting creative with what you make. Maybe put a bunch of handprints in a circle to make a snowflake or use a footprint to make a Christmas tree. My personal favorite was the yellow footprint I used to make a bed of hay for a manger. Pinterest has loads of great ideas for this!
Snowflake Catching: Simple, but classic. The next time you get a good snowfall, pop on your coats and shoes, and head outside. See who can catch the most! Dalton absolutely loved this the last time we did it. I think we were outside for at least a half hour.
Wrapping Presents: Both of my kids love little pieces of paper and tape, so here’s an idea for using up all those wrapping paper fragments you’re bound to have soon. Help your kiddo crinkle them up or try wrapping small boxes or toys. Of course, you’re going to want to precut the pieces, and there’ll be a little cleanup, but I think it’ll be worth it.
Sticker Shapes: Snag a bunch of Christmas-themed stickers (hello, Target dollar spot!) and a few pieces of poster board or sheets of paper. Draw different shapes on your paper, and have your child put the stickers on the lines you’ve just drawn. You could even attach your paper to the wall first, if you don’t mind scraping off a few stickers later.