We all know that playing outdoors in the winter is a must, especially these 14 classic winter activities for kids, but what do you do when it’s too cold or too stormy to struggle into the snow pants? Well, you can take a tip from this apartment dwelling family who knows that it’s essential to have a bunch of indoor nature activities at the ready so kids have have the joy of outside, even when you can’t actually head out the door.
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Creative Indoor Nature Activities for Winter
Here are some of our favorite ideas for indoor nature activities for kids:
My kids had great fun playing with thin ice. See how my boys explored a tray of thin ice that we made indoors. They used rocks and toys and it was surprisingly entertaining!
I’m willing to bet your kids love playing with rocks. While they can’t throw rocks inside, one of the most universally loved indoor nature activities is to decorate rocks, or even build with them. This is an especially good indoor activity for tweens. A kid armed with metallic Sharpies can make some super cool Zentangle rocks! Kids can paint on rocks with tempera paint, melt crayons on rocks, or use puffy paint to create vivid designs.
Make Instant Snow! I realize this isn’t exactly “natural,” but my kids LOVE it, and it’s especially great when it is cold outside but there is NO SNOW, which frequently happens here in the Big Apple. Fill up a large tray or tupperware bucket with the stuff, add a few toys and you are all set for an afternoon of pretend play. Later on you can repurpose it as mini winter terrariums. (Note: Do not put it down the drain!)
See how we brought the snow inside for a winter-y traffic jam. Playing with snow inside is a wonderful and sensory-filled way to pass the time.
Make bird feeders to hang out when it’s not too chilly to open the door. We have four bird feeder recipes for you.
Make pomanders with oranges and cloves. It doubles as excellent fine motor practice!
Dry and string orange slices. We did this one year and then set them out in a neighborhood tree. We loved seeing it as we walked down the sidewalk and the process of drying the slices makes the house smell yummy. Get the instructions for drying orange slices here.
A lot of easy indoor nature activities can involve sensory play. Create a natural sensory nature bin for free exploratory play indoors. I like the ingredients in this nature bin for winter. Or you could create a winter sensory bottle for little ones.
Throw all caution to the wind and make evergreen and berry winter oobleck.
You would have to plan ahead for this winter nature ice melt science activity, but look how pretty it is!
Plant something! We plant paperwhite bulbs every year. Follow this simple tutorial for how to plant paperwhites, or grow something from your kitchen scraps. Read about how kids can regrow vegetable scraps. An afternoon spent with a little indoor gardening is always a great way to pass the time.
Need to head outside? Try these:
What do you do to bring nature indoors in winter?
After you’ve spent some time with indoor nature activities, be sure to read some winter-y books! Click on the images below to get some great suggestions!