50 Fun Snow Day Activities

Young boy looking out at the snow

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If you grew up in a colder climate, you may remember the excitement and anticipation of running to turn on the TV or radio to find out if you had a snow day. “Snow days are the stuff of childhood dreams! A whole day off to play in the snow sounds great to most kids,” says Sara McCarty, mom-of-three and founder of Run Wild My Child, a site dedicated to kid-friendly outdoor adventure. “But snow days are not always easy for parents. Many times, adults still have to work or take care of things around the house.” 

When faced with a snow day, it can be helpful to plan some activities that will keep your children occupied. “Start by segmenting the day’s activities into chunks that echo the child’s school schedule, and put timers on your phone to keep the day moving,” suggests Deimosa Webber-Bey, director of information services and cultural insight at Scholastic, Inc. “Brainstorm the to-do list together and post it in a visible location where activities can be crossed off as they are completed.”

Ahead, you'll find 50 snow day activities that will keep your kids engaged, entertained, and happy.

Mother and child baking a cake

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Indoor Activities for Families

If the snow is too high to trek or climb through and you find your family snowed in for the day, try one of these activities.

Read Aloud

You can't go wrong with a good, old fashioned story time. If your children are old enough, have everyone take turns reading to each other.

Have a Scavenger Hunt

Parents can select items to hide around the house for the children to find, or they can write clues and draw a map that will help lead the children to the treasure.

Bake Together

If you’ve ever bemoaned the lack of time to bake and decorate a cake, a snow day is the perfect opportunity to pull out your apron and involve your little ones. Give children tasks like collecting or mixing ingredients, and bake up something tasty for everyone to share.

Create a Hot Chocolate Bar

Make a big pot of hot chocolate on the stove or in the slow cooker, then set out different toppings like mini marshmallows, crushed peppermint candies, whipped cream, and/or chocolate chips. Let your kids customize their hot cocoa to their hearts' content!

Break Out a Board Game

Candyland or Chutes and Ladders are great for children under 6, while Battleship, Sorry! and Mancala are fun picks for kiddos between 6 and 10.

Turn Doors into Book Covers

Bring your children’s favorite book covers to life on the doors of your home, suggests Webber-Bey. Use whatever arts and crafts materials you have on hand to re-create the images on the covers, then tape them to the door in the proper positions.

Make Butter from Scratch

Part cooking, part science experiment—and kids will be wowed by the transformation. To begin, fill a mason jar halfway with heavy cream and tighten the lid. Then start shaking! You’ll have whipped cream in about 10 minutes and butter after 15.

Play Animal Charades

Animal sounds and mannerisms are one of the first things that young children learn, so taking turns pretending to be animals (with or without sounds, depending on how old your children are) can be loads of fun.

Transform Cardboard Boxes

There are numerous things you can make out of a cardboard box, from masks and wings to swords and full-fledged costumes. Using cardboard boxes as a canvas for other crafts is also a great way to repurpose boxes you would have otherwise recycled.

Give Old Books New Life

“Find a no-longer-used textbook or out-of-date encyclopedia and get creative!” says Webber-Bey. Cut out words or images and use them to make collages, or remove the pages altogether and hollow out a book to create a secret compartment for keepsakes.

Organize Your Library or Playroom

This activity does double duty: your house will be significantly tidier once you’re done, plus your kids may come across some books or toys they’d forgotten about but used to enjoy.

Make Paper Snowflakes

More than just a craft, this is a great opportunity to explain to kids that no two snowflakes falling outside are exactly the same.

Have a Living Room Campout

Pitch a tent, roll out the sleeping bags, and pretend you’re in the great outdoors.

Create a Family Business

“Imagine a fun family business and research what it would entail,” suggests Webber-Bey. “Then make a business plan together.” You’ll have even more fun if you let the littlest family member pick the business idea.

Read and Recite Winter Poetry

Creating poems in honor of winter is a great way to teach kids about imagery, metaphors, and similes!

Do a Science Experiment

There are plenty of experiments can be done with items and materials you already have in your house.

Make Moon Sand

Instead of bringing the sandbox inside, mix ¼ cup of baby oil with two cups of flour. Add food coloring as you wish and let your little ones play.

Hold an Official Family Meeting

“Use whiteboards, chart paper, or a PowerPoint presentation to share status reports on school, work, trips, friends, and anything else of importance to each family member,” Webber-Bey says. This will help younger children feel like their playdates or school projects are just as important as their older siblings. You could even make the meeting virtual and include your extended family.

Little girls dressing up for a photo booth

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Indoor Activities for Siblings

When all your kids are home from school, there’s potential for some great sibling bonding, and these activities are a fun place to start.

Make a Music Video

Pick a song all the kids know, find choreography online (or have them create their own), and record it with your phone. Costumes required, of course.

Build a Fort

It’s a classic for a reason! Kids love creating structures out of pillows, cushions, blankets, and chairs. Plus, once built, it’s a new and imaginative play space.

Write and Record a News Segment

Your kids can report on what’s happening in the real world—like the blizzard raging outside. Alternatively, they can create fictional news reports for their favorite worlds from books or television—or even ones they make up themselves.

Play Cards

Store-bought games like Uno are fun for little ones, while card games such as Go Fish!, Old Maid, War, Slapjack, and Crazy Eights can be enjoyable for all ages.

Set Up a Photo Booth

Hang a sheet or draw on a poster to use as a backdrop, then collect props from around the house like hats, scarves, jewelry, glasses, or costumes.

Play Balloon Tennis

You can use ping pong paddles to keep the balloon in the air, or make paddles from paper plates and wooden spoons. Bonus: it’s hard to knock over a lamp with a balloon!

Make a Movement Deck

The last thing you want your kids to do is sit on the couch all day, even if they can’t go outside. “Pick 13 different movement activities and mark up a playing card deck with each activity connected to a number,” says Webber-Bey. Then, shuffle and take turns picking cards to find out what movement each person needs to do. The movements can be more exercise-oriented, such as lunges or push-ups, or more development-based, such as doing a somersault or touching your toes.

Create a Time Capsule

As you collaborate on what should go inside, make sure to decide together where it will be kept, when it will be opened, and who will be present to open it.

Design a Tape City

Use masking tape or painter’s tape to lay out streets and buildings on the floor of your playroom and then use your toys as inhabitants.

Rehearse and Perform a Picture Book Play

“Kids can spend the morning picking a storybook and creating a script from it, and then spend the afternoon putting together costumes, building the 'set' and practicing their lines,” Webber-Bey says. “The play can be performed for the entire family prior to dinner!”

Do a Jigsaw Puzzle

Just make sure it’s not too hard and that there aren’t any pieces missing.

Boy reading by himself

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Solo Indoor Activities for Kids

If parents need to be working remotely and there’s only one child home from school, these activities are great choices for keeping them entertained.

Quiet Reading or "Library" Time

For children who like to read, there’s nothing wrong with them spending hours lost in a book. If they aren’t as interested in reading, try offering rewards for reading a certain number of pages.

Draw a Map or Travel Poster

Have your child choose a fictional place from a favorite book or movie and then create a map or a poster for that place, Webber-Bey suggests.

Decorate the Windows with Dry Erase Markers.

Assuming you trust your child to stick to only glass surfaces, let them use dry erase markers to draw on windows, picture frames, and mirrors.

Work on a Brain Teaser

Choose one that’s age-appropriate for your child and let them solve it on their own.

Write Postcards to Loved Ones

It’s okay if the recipient lives down the street or even in the same house!

Become an Author

Challenge your child to write, illustrate, and color a picture book or graphic novel, says Webber-Bey. “Books made by hand can be bound and immediately placed in the home library, while digital creations can be saved as a PDF and shared like an e-book,” she adds. “Digital files can also be uploaded to various websites where parents can pay to have the book printed professionally.”

Play Interactive and Educational Video Games

Of course, make sure you know what your child is playing and be aware of how much time they are spending with the screen.

Kids sledding

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Outdoor Activities for Families

Playing in the snow is tons of fun for kids and adults alike. “We’re all about getting kids outside, no matter the weather,” says McCarty. “Playing in the snow provides a fabulous sensory experience for all those who are lucky enough to enjoy it.” Venture out into your winter wonderland with these activities.

Go Sledding

This exciting winter activity is a kid-favorite, as long as safety is kept top of mind. “Find a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom so there is a place to glide to a stop,” suggests McCarty. “Avoid hills near a street or parking lot, along with slopes near ponds, trees, fences, or other hazards. And don’t underestimate the fun of even a small hill.”

Build a Snowman

It’s a classic for a reason. “Let your kids give your snowman some personality,” McCarty says. “Give him a funky cap or an ugly Christmas sweater. Give her a grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt to wear. And no one said your snowman had to be a man. Make a snowwoman, a snowdog or snowcat, a snowtiger, or an entire snowfamily!”

Have a Snowball Fight

Snowball fights are a great way to release the pent-up energy accrued over a day spent at home. “If you don’t want to throw them at each other, you could have a competition to see who can throw the farthest, or who can make the most snowballs the fastest,” McCarty says.

Make Maple Candy

Find a section of clean, untouched snow in your yard, then pour hot maple syrup over the snow and watch it solidify. Then eat! 

Go Skiing or Snowboarding

If you have a mountain nearby, a snow day is a great opportunity to hit the slopes.

Try Snow Painting

“Add some color to your snowy landscape with paint,” suggests McCarty. “All you need is water and food coloring. Put it in a spray bottle and let the kids turn the snow colors and make designs. You can also give them a paintbrush and let them color snowballs or paint pictures in the snow.”

Hunt for Animal Footprints

See if you can spot proof of any critters (large or small) that have traversed the freshly fallen snow.

Shovel the Snow

If they’re willing and able, enlist your kids to help shovel the driveway, sidewalk, or walkway—and maybe even the neighbor’s too.

Make Ice Suncatchers

Stained glass suncatchers are beautiful additions to a porch or window, and on snow days, you can make them out of ice. To do so, McCarty suggests gathering natural items like berries, leaves and flowers, then adding them to a plastic lid or paper plate with water. Leave it outside for a few fours or overnight to freeze, then remove from the mold and hang.

Have a Picnic in the Snow.

Opt for warm foods that you can put in a thermos, like soup, stew, or pasta. Or stick to hot drinks like hot chocolate or warm apple cider.

Build Snow Castles

“Sandcastles are all the rage in the summer, but building snow castles on a cold day can be just as fun!” says McCarty. “Get out your sandcastle-building equipment, and do the same in the snow!”

Sell Hot Chocolate

“This is one of our most clever snow day activities for kids,” McCarty says of this twist on the lemonade stand. “Get your kids into the entrepreneurial spirit by letting them set up and host a hot chocolate stand. There probably won’t be a lot of traffic out and about on a snow day, so invite nearby friends and neighbors to participate.”

Go Ice Bowling

To put together this creative activity, McCarty fills 10 plastic water bottles with colored water and places them outside or in the freezer to solidify—making sure to leave room at the top for the water to expand. To make the ball, fill a round balloon with water and freeze it to form an ice bowling ball. Then, set the pins up in your driveway and play!

Build an Outdoor Hot Tub

“If you have the opportunity, let your kids experience the fun of swimming (or soaking) in an outdoor hot tub on your next snow day,” suggests McCarty. “There’s something really special about being enveloped in warm water while it’s snowy and cold outside. The contrast is invigorating!” You don’t even need a real hot tub; simply fill a large plastic tun or kiddie pool with warm water, place it in the snow, and let your kids go for a soak.

By Alyssa Sybertz
Alyssa has been writing about health and wellness since 2013. Her work has appeared in print in publications like FIRST for Women, Woman's World, and Closer Weekly and online at places like TheHealthy.com, Allrecipes.com, and OnePeloton.com. She is the author of The OMAD Diet and has served as editor-in-chief for two magazines about intermittent fasting.