January 9, 2023
Winter Sensory Activities for Kids
Break up the wintertime monotony with these fun sensory activities for children, preschoolers, and toddlers to keep your kids busy.
Winter can feel long and difficult in many parts of the country. The hours of daylight are short. The temperatures are cold. The holiday fun is over. All of these things contribute to winter doldrums for kids, but especially kids with sensory processing disorder or autism. Break up the wintertime monotony with these fun sensory activities for children, preschoolers, and toddlers to keep your kids busy. Sensory play activities will allow children to ward off boredom, while helping to engage their senses.
Toy Car Wash
This is a great activity to do in the winter. Pull out some of your kids’ toy cars and put together a car wash. You can experiment with different types of suds, like dish soap or bubble bath. Good, old fashioned baking soda and vinegar makes a lot of fun suds, as well. Most kids love water play, so this activity should occupy them for a while. For easy cleanup, let them play in the bathtub, or create a play area using a heavy-duty tarp or rubber sheet. These should allow them to play without too much worry about making a mess.
Indoor Sail Boats
Another idea for water play that should be a hit with the kids. To start, fashion boats out of foam craft pieces. Then, make a sail from small pieces of paper, and attach to the foam pieces with a toothpick mast. For the water, a storage tub of varying sizes works well. Fill the tub with water and launch your sailboats. Children can use drinking straws to blow on the boats to create wind.
Indoor Snow Play
If you area has had a recent, significant snow fall, you can collect some of the clean snow and bring inside for indoor snow play. Storage tubs work well for this activity, too. Just fill them up with snow and add sand or water toys. The kids will probably need to gloves or mittens, but they can play for quite a while without bulky snow gear getting in the way.
Family Photo Bingo
Create a few Bingo cards using family photos. Use your immediate family, but also add grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to allow for enough variety. Silly photos contribute to the fun games kids can play with the Bingo cards.
This is an easy winter art and craft activity. Create a puppet theatre out of a cardboard box. The kids can start the fun by decorating the theatre. You can make puppets out of anything – leftover scraps of fabric, popsicle sticks, or even your old SmartKnitKIDS socks. Kids can continue to use their creativity making up story lines and acting them out with their puppets.
Create a small “bowling lane” in a safe area. Set up some empty water bottles for pins, and use a rubber ball to attempt to get as many strikes or spares as you can.
Doll Beach Party
Round up some dolls (Barbie dolls or other like-sized dolls) that won’t mind getting a little wet and create a Beach Party in the bathtub. Wash clothes can become great beach towels. A lightweight soap dish might make a good pool float.
Family Book Club
Choose a longer chapter book and read a little bit from it every day. After each day’s session, have the kids discuss their thoughts about the story and characters, as if they were part of a real book club. Have some kid-friendly book club snacks to go along with the story. Great book suggestions for Family Book Club: Little House on the Prairie; 101 Dalmations; Charlotte’s Web; Shiloh; The Boxcar Children; and the Harry Potter series.
The winter may feel really long, but trying out some of these fun indoor winter activities will help the time go a little faster. Before you know it, you and your kids will be back outside riding bikes, creating a chalk art gallery, and playing at the park.