Oh, winter… It can feel so long when you have young kids, can’t it? Now, while I’m a big advocate of getting children outdoors no matter the weather, the reality is that oftentimes you just can’t be outside as much as you’d like during the cold snowy months.
That being said, there’s no reason you can’t bring the snow inside for your little ones to enjoy! Seriously – we do it all the time. Yes, it’s still cold on little hands and yes, it definitely melts, but it makes for a great sensory material and playing with it indoors is definitely a warmer experience overall. Plus there are just so many fun things you can do with it!
Here are 5 of our favourite things to do with snow indoors:
Snow sensory play
This is so simple, but sometimes simple is truly best! Especially when it comes to play for little ones. Fill a shallow bin with some snow, place it on a towel, and let your little one explore with or without mittens. You can also add cups, spoons, and cookie cutters to the bin to allow for pouring, scooping, and stamping.
This never gets old! Pack some snow down into a shallow bin or baking dish and you’ve got a great canvas for painting. For this activity you’ll want to use a non-toxic, kid-friendly liquid paint of some sort. Liquid watercolours are fantastic, as are finger paints mixed with water. Food colouring in a little bit of water can be used in a pinch too, but just keep in mind that it’s not usually super washable. Pop the liquid paint into small spray bottles or little pots with paintbrushes and let your bub get to work creating his or her masterpiece!
Snowy treasure hunt
Because which kiddo doesn’t love the excitement of searching for treasure, right? This can take so many forms, so I say work with your child’s interests and what you have in the house. In this case, we did a “dino dig,” but you could use craft gems, play coins, matchstick cars, polished rocks, or any other small item you have around the house. Whatever you choose, bury the items in a bin of snow and provide your little one with a couple of digging tools a collection container of some sort. Then let them begin the hunt! (You may want to offer mittens for this activity, too.)
Snowy small world play
Such fun! This can look many different ways, but basically you want to set up an imaginative play scene within the bin of snow that is both inviting and engaging. Again, this is a perfect opportunity to work with your child’s interests and what you have at home. Set up a snowy construction site with big trucks, a few pylons, and some mounds of snow. Create a blizzard-y town scene with wooden blocks, matchstick cars, and roads marked in the snow. Make an arctic scene with animal figures and blue craft gems to represent water. Put together a snow day small world with a big snowy mound, a mini snowman, and several play people. When ready, invite your little one to play as he or she feels fit.
Snow Ice Cream
Mmmmm! The most delicious idea of the bunch. It goes without saying that you’ll want freshly fallen snow for this one… We often just set a bowl out during a snowfall, which works great. When ready for a sweet treat, bring the snow inside and let your little ones create their very own bowl of snow ice cream. We usually using a heaping cup of freshly fallen snow (loose – you don’t want it to be packed down), 2 tablespoons of cream, and a tablespoon of pure maple syrup per kiddo. If you have vanilla that is not alcohol based, add a tiny splash of that too! Let your kids mix up their ice cream mixture and enjoy on the spot!
Alright, that’s it – 5 fun ways to enjoy snow indoors! What would you add to the list?
* As always, supervision is key when it comes to toddler play. Please watch your little one closely.
Jen is a teacher, blogger, and mama to a spirited little lady and a preemie baby boy. She’s passionate about play, loves a good DIY project, adores travelling, and can often be found in the kitchen creating recipes that meet her crunchy mama criteria. You can follow Jen on her blog, Mama.Papa.Bubba, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.