Winter break is here and after Monday morning’s announcement, we know that we are in for a long winter with the kids at home. With the new regulations in place, school-aged kids will be home with us for at least 3 weeks. And yes, 1 of those weeks will be spent distance learning, but for a lot of us parents that still means finding ways to fill the hours—while we attempt to work from home, no less.
That’s where these boredom busters come in handy—these activities are great to keep kids occupied and entertained while you are cooped up at home for the next 3-4 weeks.
Check out our 50 winter break boredom busters to help keep you and the kids sane during winter break 2020-2021.
Arts & Crafts
1. Finger painting — Who doesn’t love to paint?! And really, when you get to use your fingers, it’s even more fun. Add in another layer of fun by making your own edible finger paint. All you need is four ingredients, most of which you likely already have in the home.
2. Paper cup lanterns — A fun activity that kids can enjoy making and seeing during the night, these paper cup lanterns also double as great holiday decor.
3. Make your own playdough — Ready to let the kids—and your home—get a bit messy? Making playdough keeps kids busy for hours. First, they get to make it, and then they can play with it! Here’s a great recipe to make your own playdough.
4. Frosted pinecones — If the thought of glitter in your home doesn’t fill you with a sense of impending dread, then these frosted pinecones are an adorable activity for kids of all ages.
5. Stickers! — I have never met a kid that didn’t love stickers! Grab some paper, a notebook, or a sticker book if you have it, and let kids get creative with their stickers.
6. Paper roll snowpeople — Put all those empty toilet paper rolls to good use by making paper roll snowpeople.
7. Mason jar snow globes — Great for older kids, these mason jar snow globes are not only adorable, but super fun to make. Opt for plastic mason jars and you’ve got yourself a sensory toy for kids of all ages.
8. Cardinal handprints — Use your edible finger paint or any other non-toxic paint you have around the house to craft these winter-themed birds.
9. Paper snowflakes — Now who among us hasn’t made our very own paper snowflakes. Keep the tradition alive with your kids!
10. Make a bird feeder — All you need is some birdseed, a pinecone, and some peanut butter to make a great bird feeder. But if you want to get a bit more into the project, this one from Hands On As We Grow is great!
11. Fizzy Ice – Science experiments are great boredom busters. Not only are they entertaining but they have the added benefit of being educational! With a few household ingredients, you can make fizzy ice and let your kids see how baking soda and vinegar create a chemical reaction. Adding food colouring makes it even more exciting!
12. Study snowflakes — Next time it snows, get the kids outside to learn about the science behind snowflakes. Have them come up with all their questions and spend the afternoon researching the answers together.
13. Make snow candy — While heading to a sugar bush might not be possible this year, you can still teach them about maple syrup and give them a yummy treat!
14. Learn about temperatures — How do mittens keep us warm? Using a mitten and a thermometer, you can show your littles why it’s so important to keep their mittens on when they’re playing in the snow!
15. Melting snowman — Teach your kids the science behind snow melting with this fun at-home activity. Don’t have any snow yet? You can substitute ice!
16. Make instant ice — This science experiment seems like magic. All you need is a bowl of ice or snow, some rock salt, and a bottle of water.
17. Create a bouncy snowball — This is what happens when a slime recipe goes wrong—you create a brand new science experiment for kids to enjoy!
18. Make a snowflake — This version of the grow-your-own-crystal project is a lot of fun and has a wonderful winter twist.
19. Test out the best way to melt ice — A fun, visual representation of what will help melt ice fastest.
20. Watch milk change colours — The addition of a festive cookie cutter makes this science experiment especially fun for the winter break.
In The Kitchen
21. Cook a sweet treat — Keep the holidays alive as long as possible with peppermint bark. This easy recipe does need supervision, but it’s easy enough that kids of all ages can help you make it. From pouring the chocolate to sprinkling the candy cane, everyone can participate.
22. Dinner is served — For kids who are a bit older, task them with making a meal for the family. They can pick out the recipes, do all the prep work, and serve up a lovely dinner—that you only had to supervise!
23. Make a gingerbread house — Buy a few gingerbread house kits, some extra candy, and let your kids make their own creations!
24. Chex Party Mix — If you’re looking for something savoury to cook with the kids, this Chex Party Mix recipe is great. We love that you can simply throw it all in the crockpot—set it and forget it!
25. Hot chocolate fun — You can set up a whole hot chocolate experience by having all kinds of add-ins available to make sipping on their favourite winter beverage that much more fun. Think marshmallows, cinnamon, whipped cream, candy canes, and even chocolate chips!
26. Make your own marshmallows — Want to take your hot chocolate experience up a notch? Why not try your hand at making your marshmallows!
27. Perfect popcorn — If your family loves popcorn as much as mine, adding some flavours to your favourite popcorn is a great way to get the kids busy in the kitchen. Plus you then have an excuse for a movie night!
28. Bake cookies — A tried and true family activity, you can spend the afternoon whipping up your favourite cookie recipe.
29. Jello — Cook up a batch of Jello! Kids love to help and this recipe is one that almost all kids can do with minimal supervision.
30. Make bagels — Bagels are an important part of the holidays for my family, so getting the kids in the kitchen to help bake a batch is always a fun activity.
31. Yoga — Great for all ages, at-home yoga is a wonderful way to get your kids active and also help them work on their balance and focus. There are lots of online classes for kids that you can access for free—we love Yoga with Adrienne and Karyn Sullivan’s online videos.
32. Obstacle course — Put together a fun obstacle course for your kids in your living room and have them run it! You can time them and see if they can beat their personal bests throughout the break.
33. Tape games — Do you know how much fun kids can have with a roll of tape? It’s a lot! Grab some painter’s tape or masking tape and let them get creative! They can create indoor hopscotch, practice their long jump and have each kid mark off their distance with tape or create a fun, ever-changing race track with the tape!
34. Sensory bins— Depending on your kids’ ages, sensory bins are a great way to keep kids entertained. They can be made out of almost anything—water, kinetic sand, rice, playdough—and can provide kids with hours of fun. If you’re looking for a cool new sensory bin idea, Little Bins Little Hands has 50+ at-home ideas.
35. Board games — Set up a board game tournament! It can last a day or create a scoring board and have it run for the entire winter break.
36. LEGO contest — Get the kids amped up to play with LEGO by making it a contest. Maybe it’s about building the highest tower or a different themed-challenge for each day.
37. Build a fort — I will never not suggest building a fort because it is easy to clean up and keeps the kids occupied for hours.
38. Have a snowball fight — Yes, this is listed under Inside Fun! Grab some rolled-up socks, cotton balls, or balled up paper and have an indoor snowball fight. This is especially great when there is no snow outside.
39. The floor is lava — Need I say more?
40. Teach your kids a new skill — Grab the sewing kits, paint a wall, or show them how to fix their broken toy. You’ll be surprised by how much they love this!
41. Scavenger hunt — A scavenger hunt is the perfect indoor or outdoor activity to keep your kids busy. Outside, you can use your backyard space or take the kids to a park. Inside, focus on items that you know are in your home but will take a little ingenuity to find. Best of all this activity can be tailored to your kids’ ages.
42. Frozen bubbles — Next time it drops below freezing, take the kids outside and let them see the magic of blowing bubbles in the winter!
43. Make a snow volcano — Part outdoor fun, part science experiment, a snow volcano is a great way to get the kids outside and have them learn something new.
44. Have a snowball fight — While there may not be snow where you are right now, once it hits the ground, snowball fights are a big hit with kids.
45. Take a hike — There are lots of great hiking trails throughout Ontario. Be sure to practice physical distancing and masking (when needed) while you are out.
46. Have a winter picnic — Bundle the kids up and cook some warming foods! An outdoor picnic in the winter will be a novel treat they’ll never forget.
47. Play a game of tag — An oldie but a goodie! Getting kids running around while they’re outside is also a great way to extend their outdoor time.
48. Dig in the snow — get all of your beach toys out of storage and let kids dig and play in the snow. Cookie cutters also work great for this!
49. Make nature confetti — If the snow is still not falling in your area, making nature confetti from leaves is a fun activity kids will love.
50. Frozen suncatchers — As long as the temperature is below zero these gorgeous frozen suncatchers are a great outdoor activity for the winter months.