Before we talk about indoor preschooler activities, here’s a quick overview of the benefits of playing outdoors during the winter. From building snow people to riding on sleds and making snow angels, outdoor activities in the chilliest months can, according to

  • Allow children to explore their outside environment in new ways, which can enhance creativity
  • Cause youngsters to use different muscles, which can boost gross motor development
  • Provide preschoolers with fresh air; spending too much time indoors can make it easier for families to spread germs among one another
  • Enhance problem-solving skills as they figure out how to slide down an icy slope, for example, or climb a snowy hill
  • Expose them to healthful vitamin D

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Sometimes, though, the weather just isn’t outdoor-friendly and, even when it is, even active preschoolers can only spend so much time outside. So, here are tips for bringing winter indoors. shares dozens of fun ideas, including how to make an indoor snow window that won’t melt when warmer temperatures return. Art supplies can often be found right in your home or, if not, are easy to get: contact paper, painter’s tape, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and cotton pads. The reason painter’s tape is important is because you’ll build this snowman on a window and regular tape can leave behind sticky residue.

Now, here are the instructions. Cover your window with contact paper. (Tip: The creator of the site says it’s easiest to tape the top on first then peel and tape the rest.) Your child can then attach cotton swabs (whole ones and ones cut in half) in snowflake patterns. By simply dabbing on cotton balls and then pulling them away, you’ve created little puffs of snow. The snowman is made using cotton pads for the body and swabs for the arms.

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To create a sense of coming in from wintry weather, have your preschoolers assist you in making hot chocolate. shares recipes from around the world, creating plenty of opportunities to read about far-away places, too. For example, if you decide to make Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate after you finish your snow window craft (check out all of the flavorful variations!), you could also read Tiny Travelers Mexico Treasure Quest by Susie Jaramillo. Kirkus calls this a “fun and engaging introduction to Mexico for the younger set.” 

As another indoor idea, create ice sculptures using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen: food coloring and water, plus an assortment of muffin tins, cups, and bowls. After making various hues of water using the food coloring, you simply fill up the kitchen containers and freeze the contents. Then, loosen the ice shapes by running warm water over the containers. If it’s not too frigid outside, take the multi-shaped pieces of rainbow-colored ice outdoors to stack them in creative ways.

To carry out the theme of multiple colors, make Unicorn Hot Chocolate. Then laugh together as you read about How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace. 

You get the idea—and the combinations are endless. Pinterest is a real treasure trove of winter indoor activities for preschoolers while local librarians will have plenty of delightful book ideas. The good news is that you can be quite thrifty. Instead of throwing away toilet paper rolls, for example, transform them into polar bears while reading I’m Going to Give You a Polar Bear Hug by Caroline B. Cooney. 

Then, team up to make a Polar Bear Snack with a rice cake base plus cottage cheese; black olives or raisins; an Oreo cookie; and a banana. 


Horizon Education Centers offers childcare for preschoolers at it's 13 centers in Northeast Ohio.