9 Fun Activities To Keep The Kids Busy When You’re Snowed In

posted: 01/22/16
by: Courtney Reimer
picture of young girl in the snow

With a massive snowstorm looming you're likely going to be snowed in and stuck inside with kids. Here are some things to do that will keep little hands busy -- and you from losing your mind.

1. Smash colorful non-melting "snowballs." This was a new one for us, but seems to be a great activity from start to finish: first you mix cotton balls with flour, water and food coloring -- you can do separate colors to make it more fun -- then you bake, and then the kids can smash their crusty exterior with play hammers (or other child-appropriate blunt objects). Or just throw them at each other (they're still soft on the inside). Thanks to the Making Boys Men blog for the great idea!

2. Play in a makeshift "sandbox." We found this one on our local Facebook group: when you can't go outside to play in a sandbox, bring the sandbox inside. A less-messy approach to "sand" is to use dry beans from your pantry -- dump them in a baking pan or other oblong container, toss in some sandbox toys or play bulldozers, and you'll have your kids hands busy for awhile!

3. Make snow ice cream. This is a legendary favorite for veterans of long, Midwestern winters. Our family's recipe called for sweetened condensed milk (the canned variety), but Gimme Some Oven shows you, step-by-step, how to do it with a few ingredients you probably already have on hand: sugar, milk, vanilla and salt.

4. Go on a "color walk." We love this idea from Parenting.com, which involves laying down a path of different colored pieces of construction paper (but could also work with dishtowels or washcloths), and challenging kids to walk the path on just one of the colors. They point out it's probably good to tape the pieces down so the kids don't slip!

5. Get a little slimy. This has been called an "essential recipe" for parents, and we'd have to agree: not only is it fun to make, it's fun to play with (and not as messy as its name would have you believe). Family cooking site Our Best Bites has a good blow-by-blow of how it's done. One thing you'll need to make sure you have on hand is Borax -- but if you don't, the geniuses at Wonder How To have a recipe using cornstarch instead.

6. Paint with shaving cream. Now this is one that is guaranteed to get a little messy, but thankfully shaving cream is designed to wash off easily. Kids typically love to play with shaving cream in its "natural" state, but adding color takes it to a whole new level.

7. Repurpose your household items as toys. Working with what you have is every parent's secret motto, but this one gets a special nod for its ability to develop fine motor skills while keeping the kids' hands busy.

8. Make your cereal do double duty. If you're a parent, you probably have some O-shaped cereal on hand. What you probably didn't realize is that it can do double duty as a healthy alternative to those classic candy necklaces AND an activity to keep kids busy. If you want to go one step further, you can also string Os together for a homemade birdfeeder.

9. Make recycling into an art project. This next one is SO simple, and so engaging for your little messy artists. All you need is an empty paper towel roll or toilet paper roll. Added bonus: if you shape the roll into a heart, you've got a jump on your Valentine's Day cards!