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Winter Activities for Kids: 38 Homeschool Hits (2024)

Emma Cummings

image of kids in winter clothes in the snow with text overlay. 38 Winter Activities Homeschoolers Love from AriseHomeEducation.com

Winter Activities for Kids

As we go into the New Year, the Christmas decorations all packed away, the weeks of winter can seem long. For many families, the prospect of winter can be a gloomy one indeed. I once read November and February are the months home schoolers are most likely to quit! To help thrive through winter and not just survive add a few of these Winter Activities for Kids to your homeschool routine. Planning just one a week will be helpful.

It is probably true the winter months are the ones most of our academic studies are done, so it’s helpful to have that in mind when you are not outdoors as much as you may like, that this is a good time to work on maths, spelling, reading – all those essentials. Once the weather improves the outdoors calls, and kids stuck inside want to be out! Make this work to your advantage to focus on those harder subjects, do deep dive projects, try a new subject, or learn a new craft. Learning a new craft skill can be something that the whole family can enjoy, and you may find a new hobby for yourself as well.

Winter Activities for Kids Wanting to Learn Something Creative

  • Learn a New Handicraft. Kids get to an age where they want crafts to more meaningful. This is an opportunity to learn a craft. This could include knitting, crocheting, felting, whittling, woodwork. There are many online tutorials to help. Perhaps meet weekly with another family to do this together, or swap skills with a friend.
  • Improve Art Skills. Take up watercolor or sketching. Choose a field of art and dive deep into it. Looking to grow in skills. Skills learnt in winter can be taken in summer to enhance nature study.
  • Calligraphy. Is a beautiful skill, which is dying out.
  • Felting.
  • Coding is also a creative skill, which is not traditional but can prove to be highly rewarding. Your child can start with Scratch and a book from the library. Or there are many online coding courses available.

Many of these creative skills mastered by home educators has opened up small businesses to teens in later years, or been the key to a future career, or has led to a lifelong hobby.

Winter Book List

There is a delight in reading seasonally. For adults and children, it can connect us to the seasons. Some books simply read better on cold days, with rain streaming down the window! The dark days of winter also allow the hours to dive into more meaty books. So make some hot cocoa, grab some treats, and snuggle in with a good book.

Delightful Books for Younger Kids

  • Jan Brett’s Winter Collection. Jan Brett’s illustrations are wonderful. Her winter collection is a selection of her wintry tales. 
  • The Winter Story, A Brambly Hedge Tale by Jill Barklem. The Brambley Hedge series are delightful. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the tales utterly charming. The Winter Tale brings warmth to a cold winter’s day.
  • The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson. The Gruffalo’s child takes a walk in the snowy wood in search of the Big Bad Mouse. Donaldson’s rhyming verse stories are perfect for little kids, they are well crafted, and memorable.

Engaging Books for Older Kids

  • The Long Winter by Laura Ingles Wilder. One of the lesser known Little House in the Prairie Books. This book shows the harshness of winter 150 years ago.
  • Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set on the gloomy Yorkshire Moors, this emotive, touching book, looks at the power of nature, and friendship to heal grief. The book starts in winter and ends in spring.
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. These epic tales by Tolkien lend themselves to the months of winter. You can hunker down and delve deep.
  • Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigen. Historical Fiction set during the Second World War in Nazi occupied Norway. An adventure story rooted in history, highlighting an overlooked aspect of the Second World War.

Classic Books for Teens, Young Adults, and More Mature Readers

  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien. A story of hope, redemption, and deliverance from deep darkness. Tolkien masterfully deals with great truths in his epic tale. What better way to spend a cold winter’s night (or many a night) than in Middle Earth, in the company of Hobbits and Elves?
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Reading Bronte with a howling gale battering the windows, and roaring through the trees seems rather appropriate.

Remember, that everything counts when working for a USA high school diploma and transcript credits. The log sheets for activities and book logs are usable for a variety of activities. And, make sure your high schooler continues to read quality literature that counts for high school credit,

Winter Activities for Kids To Beat Cabin Fever

Whether it is a day where the weather is too bad to go out, the early dark nights, or snow days with little ones too cold to build snowmen, it is good to have a few fun indoor winter activities up your sleeve to pull out when needed.

Indoor Activities

  • Board Games and Card Games. Having a supply of board games is always a good idea. Invite another family around and share your supply of games. Board games are a great way to have family fun, and build stronger bonds. Educational board games can be used as “school” on days where everyone is a bit out of sorts.
  • Indoor P.E. There are many great YouTube channels that have kids’ workouts. Not sure where to begin? Read this.) Exercise will help regulate a child who is struggling a bit, and improve mental health. You could also put on your favourite upbeat tracks and have a dance party.
  • Fluffy Snow Playdough. Playdough is a great sensory play activity for young children, it also helps strengthen hand muscles. This snowy play dough feels lovely and smells great. All you need is 1/2 cup conditioner/baby lotion to 1 cup cornflour. So a ratio 1:2 conditioner: cornflour. Mix together to make a smooth consistency. Add more cornflour if too sticky, or more conditioner if too dry. Play dough in general will give a busy toddler much fun whilst improving find motor skills.

Outdoor Activities

  • Create an ice world. Buy some little arctic animals and put them in a bowl of water, you can add blue food colouring if you like. Freeze them overnight. Give your child kitchen tools to excavate the animals out, a little bowl of salt will help melt the ice.
  • Make bird feeders for your garden.
  • Paint on Ice. This is a nice activity for young kids. Freeze trays of water. Sprinkle them with salt, paint them with watercolour paints.
  • Make fake snow. All you need is cornflour and bicarbonate in a ration 1:1. Mix them together until combined. Now add a little water, just a bit at a time. Mix with your hands. You are  looking for a consistency of dry snow, that will stick together, but not be too wet. Stop adding water once the mixture sticks together, but will fall apart when pressed. Small children will love playing with this. They can make snowmen, in the warmth of their own home.
  • Celebrate the season with a winter photo scavenger hunt

Winter Activities for Kids: Winter Poetry Teatime

Have a winter poetry tea time. Enjoy great poems inspired by winter. Bake a cake, make tea or hot chocolate. Poetry teas are an opportunity to do something a bit special, that will make the poetry memorable, thus creating a love of poetry.

Winter Activities for Kids: Art Appreciation and Project Ideas

Look at some famous art depicting winter. Create your own art based on these. Create different representations of snowy seasons. Here is some inspiration of great works of art to look at.

  1. The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
  2. Claude Monet has a series of wintry paintings
  3. Landscape with Snow by Vincent Van Gough
  4. Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Nichiren in Snow at Tsukahara

Make snowflakes! Why should snowflake art only be for Christmas? Replace the Christmas decorations with beautiful snowflakes.

Winter Theme Project Ideas

  • Learn about the animals of the Arctic and Antarctic. Look at the different animals of the Arctic. How do they survive these extreme conditions? What do they eat? Or perhaps do a project on one animal, for example, polar bears, penguins, seals, or narwhals.
  • Polar explorers. Look at the different expeditions to the North and South Poles. How did these pioneers survive? Can you plot their journeys? Who were they?
  • The ice age. What animals lived in the Ice Age? How has the Ice Age shaped the world we live in?
  • Study the wildlife that visits your local neighbourhood in winter. Discover where they visit from.
  • Do an astronomy project. Winter is the best time to start stargazing. Keep a stargazing journal.
  • Do a weather project. Make charts of the weather over the course of a month. Include sunset and sunrise times, these can be graphed as a maths activity. It is also interesting to see how the hours of daylight lengthen over January. Also, graph the temperatures over the month to see how they fluctuate. Learn about how snow forms, and what conditions are required for snowfall.

Winter Activities for Kids: Outdoor Fun

Although it is tempting to stay indoors and hibernate until spring, it is important to get outside. So wrap up warm and head outdoors, despite the cold weather. To help tempt reluctant children out into the cold have some fun outdoor activities to help. You will all feel better once you have been outside in the fresh air.

Try to set yourself a goal to get outside so many times per week. Ideally, get outside once a day. However, this may not be possible if the weather is awful, and young children may find it just too cold. So find something which works for your family. But by setting a realistic goal it helps you do it, even when you don’t want to.

More Outdoor Activity Ideas

  • Snow painting. If it snows, mix some water based paint with water, and take pipettes outside. Squirt the liquid paints onto the snow to make snow paint. You could even put the liquidy paint into spray bottles and spray them onto the snow. This is a good activity for preschool aged children, as it is low prep for you. But as well as fun for the child, it builds hand muscle strength.
  • If you have fresh snowfall, head out and build snowmen, have a snowball fight, make snow angels and go sledging. When there is a beautiful snowy day even home educators can take a snow day! Simply have a great time outdoors in a winter wonderland.
  • In the New Year, pick a nature spot close to home. Commit to visiting it once a week. Over the weeks, you will notice the slow changes of spring creeping into life. Even in January, birds are beginning to scout out places to build nests. And catkins soon appear on the trees.
  • If you are in the UK take part in the RSPB Big Bird Watch. Every January, the RSPB conduct a nationwide survey of birds, and they need members of the public to help. This can be done in a local wood, park, nature reserve, or just your own backyard. 
  • Make a snow volcano. To do this build up a mountain of snow. Make a cup indentation at the summit. Pour about 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into it. Then take a cup of vinegar, add some red food colouring, and pour into the volcano top as well. 
  • Visit a local nature reserve, take a flask of hot chocolate with you to warm up, and enjoy whilst there.

Winter Activities for Kids the whole family will love.

Now it’s time to grab your homeschool planner or diary and add a few winter activities the whole family will love. Whether it is a family board game day, art projects, or enjoying a read-aloud while playing with Lego or playdough. Everyone can get involved and beat the winter blues. The Winter Poetry Tea Time Pack and Stargazing Nature Journal for Kids can get you started with fun ideas and beautiful poetry for winter.

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