Winter is still happening. As we count down to spring, what we hard-working parents really need is a quick list of cheap, low-tech ways to entertain kids until the warmer days start happening.

Stay busy on snowy days with 30+ winter activities for kids.

1. Make popcorn balls

These easy popcorn balls with marshmallows or corn syrup may be a little messy, but they're an activity and a snack all in one. Win!

2. Grab some tape

Make duct tape crafts, including duct tape wallets (hey, even Martha's doing it).

3. Create flipbooks

Buy cheap notebooks or use some sticky notes to make flipbooks.

4. Play Arctic explorers

Get out the camping gear and set up a backyard winter explorers' base.

5. Write your own adventure

Write some Star Wars or Harry Potter fanfiction—whatever heroes your kids are into.


6. Use your noodles

Experiment with making your own personal ultimate ramen recipe (find ramen tips on Pinterest).

7. Take a hike

Go for an epic walk.

8. Make chores cheerful

Throw a housecleaning party – complete with music and snacks. Get creative and invent a point system for certain tasks.

9. Get grateful

Throw a thank you card-writing party for all those Christmas gifts. (Hey, it's worth a try.)

10. Improve on a classic

Make epic blanket forts.

11. Get creative

Try some new winter crafts.

12. Bake up something new

Have fun with simple baking recipes.

13. Go sledding

Make a homemade sled—or, take your normal sled and give it a rad new paint job.

14. Play games

Let the kids plan and put together a family game night. (Don't worry – you can still bring your own beer.)

15. Rock out

Make an easy Rubber Band Guitar.

16. Hunt for treats

Create a scavenger hunt with your leftover Christmas candy.

17. Build your own game

Score some old board games at the thrift shop and let the kids mix and match the pieces to create their own games.

18. Play all day

Or invest in some all-day board games to keep the kids busy. With snacks, of course.

19. Make a machine

Use toys, string, and recycling materials to make a breakfast-cereal pouring Rube Goldberg machine.

20. Take to the skies

Make simple kite that really flies out of newspaper or a simple kite out of foam.

21. Geek out

Print your own fake Apple Watch. That way your kid can go back to school with some bling.

22. Keep it groovy

Make a homemade lava lamp with salt and oil.

23. Make your own funny papers

Write funny captions in old magazines or newspapers with a sharpie.

24. Cut and paste

Make some awesome magazine collages.

25. Play (harmless) pranks

Have a prank party with these harmless, funny pranks for kids. (Can't get enough? More pranks this way.)

26. Throw a pizza party

Homemade pizza night! Or lunch.

27. Whip up some playdough

The old standby of making homemade play-doh is still fun: try this easy play-doh recipe, or this super-simple play-doh recipe.

28. Get colorful

Use silicone oven safe muffin trays to recycle all those broken crayons into new ones.

29. Repurpose your Amazon boxes

Look at all the things you can do with cardboard. Some of them might be fun. More here.

30. Freeze ice cube art

Use ice cube trays or clear containers to freeze toys and objects in ice, Han Solo-style—if you live someplace cold, freeze stuff outside, or use the freezer.

31. Don't forget the library

Go to the library and borrow a mountain of books – for free.

32. Make snow un-white

If you live someplace with snow, grab some food color send your kids out to create snow graffiti (more snow art ideas here).

33. Fulfill your Jedi destiny

With a stick, some pipe insulation foam and duct tape, you can make a pretty legit sword or lightsaber that you can use to battle.

Plus, 5 bonus tech activities

  1. Make a video game with Hopscotch
  2. Download some podcasts and set up an audio theater
  3. Explore the posts on Today Box
  4. Take a virtual tour of art museums around the world
  5. Experiment with learning piano with Pianu or drop beats with Patatap

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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