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Just for Fun

37 Mess-Free Things To Do When It’s Too Cold To Go Outside

We’ve had  a few days of bitter cold here in Ontario, where the temperature has been hovering around -30C (-25F), and we’ve had a touch of cabin fever too.  Over the years however, we’ve had some fun on those days when it’s just too cold to send the kids out to play.


We’ve come up with a ton of things to do inside, that require very little participation on my part.  So, while the kids keep themselves busy, I can get some extra work in, blog a bit, or browse through the brand new Daycare Forum right here on Welcome To The Zoo!

Things For Kids To Do When It’s Too Cold Outside

1.Pretend the living room floor is lava and jump from one piece of furniture to the next.  First person to touch the floor loses.

2.Build a fort out of cushions and blankets.

3.Have a drawing contest.  Use your favourite cartoon character as inspiration.

4.Write Round Robin stories.  Each kid starts a story by writing one sentence on a lined piece of paper.  Switch papers and write the next sentence to someone else’s story.  Keep switching until each story is finished.  Read aloud and try not to laugh.

5.Put a sock on each hand and gently spritz it with water.  Run your hands over each hard surface in the living room.  Throw the socks in the dirty laundry hamper.  You’ve just dusted the room for your parents 😉

6.Play Charades.

7.Play Crazy Eights.

8.Make up a card game and then name it after your family.

9.With your parents’ permission, use washable markers to draw pictures on your windows.

10.Play Twister, but instead of hands and feet, use your knees and elbows.

11.Ask your parents for a spray bottle of cleaner and some paper towels.  Find every surface in the house that reflects your face, spray it, and wipe it off.  You’ve just cleaned the mirrors, and possibly some appliances too 😉

12.Use cardboard to create a slide on your staircase.  Pile up some pillows at the bottom.  Slide down.


13.Ask your parents to set up a smartphone or video camera on a tripod for you.  Film a pretend cooking video.

14.Film a video on how to draw.

15.Film a video on how to clean your room.

16.Film a video on how to get along with your siblings.

17.Film a video on how you would make the world a better place.

18.Film a video on what you would do if you could go outside.

19.Using Barbies or Action Figures to act out each part, film a video of your most recent trip as a family.

20.Pretend to be a wildlife expert.  Film a video of your pet; use a fake accent and narrate everything your pet is doing.

21.Ask your parents for a spray bottle of cleaner and a cloth.  See who can crawl the fastest while spraying and wiping the baseboard in each room.  You’ve just cleaned the baseboard 😉

22.Using Lego bricks and figures, re-enact your favourite movie.

23.Have a Burrito Race.  Get one blanket for each child.  Roll yourself up like a burrito and see who can roll across the room the fastest.  Put any toys away first so that you don’t run into them while you’re rolling.

24.With your parents’ permission, fill the kitchen sink about 1/4 full of water.  While the tap is running, pour as much dish detergent in as your parents will allow, and swish it around until you have mounds of bubbles.  Create bubble sculptures.  When you’re done, use towels to clean up any bubbles or water on the counter or floor.

25.Read a short book out loud, substituting your name for the main character’s name.

26.Use cardboard to create a race track for Hot Wheels cars to race from the top of your bed to the other side of the room.  Race cars down.  Slowest car wins.


27.Find one basket or container for each kid.  Race to see who can find 10 things around the house that are out of place (toys, garbage, cups, etc), and using your baskets, carry them to where they belong (toy shelf, garbage can, sink, etc).  First one done, wins!

28.Go through board games, one at a time.  Using the Content List in the Instructions, figure out which games are complete.  Set the incomplete games aside.

29.Use the incomplete games from #28 to create a whole new game, complete with written rules.  Design a new label with paper and crayons and affix it to a box lid.

30.Look through your family’s photo albums or scrap books.  Use Post-It Notes to create funny captions for the photos.  Leave the Post-Its in the album for someone else to discover.

31.Look through toy catalogs and circle things that you would buy for a child that lives in a Third World Country.  Set a pretend price limit of $50.

32.Pretend you are a Refugee, coming to your country this month.  You don’t speak a language that many other people here know.  Write down what you would want people to know about you, and how you would share it with them.


33.Look in your fridge and pantry.  Plan 3 meals based on what is already in the house.  Remember to include a meat (or protein), one or two vegetables, and a starch (bread, potatoes, pasta, etc).

34.Tape paper to the underside of your kitchen table.  Draw an upside down mural on it.  See how long it takes your parents to notice it.

35.Have a Dress-Up Contest.  See how many shirts and pants and skirts you can wear at one time.  Most pieces of clothing wins.   After the winner is declared, the second winner is the one who can fold the clothes and put them back where they belong the fastest (the one with fewer pieces of clothing will have an advantage).

36.Look through your toys and clothes.  Find 10 things that no longer fit or that you don’t play with any more.  Ask your parents if you can donate them or give them to someone who can use them.

37.Find one old pillowcase for each kid.  Step into the pillowcases and have a Potato Sack race down your hallway.  First one to make it to the finish line without falling down wins.

What do you like to do when it’s too cold to go outside?  Leave your ideas in the comments below!

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Sarah Ebner

    Brrr, that really is cold (I thought it was cold here in London, but turns out that it’s just chilly!). We love board games, but we’ve never tried the cardboard slide on the stairs (brilliant) and many of your others. Spraying surfaces you can see yourself in is very clever indeed! Hope it warms up soon.

  2. Gwendolyn Mulholland

    Living in Tennessee,we are not that cold but it is too chilly to spend much time outside. These ideas are super fun and it is amazing the things you can find to do inside that don’t involve watching TV or sitting on a game system. Thanks for sharing your list.
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  3. Bernadette Siazon

    That is really cold! Here in the Philippines, I can use your list whenever there’s a typhoon and kids can’t go out of the house. The potato sack race is fun! Usually, I just give art materials and plenty of paper for my daughter, she loves to draw and paint.
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  4. kita

    I normally take that time to read and curl up with a good book with some hot chocolate on the side or sleep. I am not a huge fan of the cold so I stay away from it lol

  5. Jennifer

    These are a great list of suggestions to keep everyone busy. I like how you incorporated silly and fun games as well as thought provoking activities. I will have to do some of these with my kids.

  6. Hung Thai

    Build a fort – that’s the best option. I do this with my nieces all the time whenever I visit them. We build a fort a pretend we’re being invaded and I have an excuse to take a nap in the fort after.
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  7. No Ordinary Liz

    Well here in FL, we don’t have to worry about the snow, BUT, it does get cold here!! I love these, especially the fort, LOL! You had some creative ideas that I didn’t even think of! I will be bookmarking these for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

  8. vidya sudarsan

    Great tips! Love the cardboard slide! We don’t have cold weather here, but some days, I just want not to leave the home. And, can use some of your ideas to keep my daughter engaged.

  9. Tami

    Okay, mom! It’s so obvious that you wrote this! I mean with all the hidden cleaning! LOL

    I would love to go through our games and make a new game out of the discards. It’d feel less like tossing money in the trash.

  10. Sage

    Great ideas, but happy I won’t need them ; -) I’m a stepmother and fortuantely came onto the scene when the kids we already teenagers, so I missed out on having to entertain them. I’m more of a animal person than a kid person.
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