Keep your kids busy with these 5 fun winter projects for kids!
Winter break is nearly upon us. The thought of kids being home from school for three weeks fills some moms with joy and others with trepidation. I tend to fall into the latter camp. I take that back — I look forward to break until my kid utters the two-word sentence every parent dreads: “I’m bored”. This usually happens about three hours after she arrives home on the last day of school. According to my friends who are moms of multiples, that’s also about the time the sibling squabbling begins.
What’s a mom to do? Get a little creative and keep them busy with fun and simple projects. Bonus: these projects don’t require a lot of materials and you probably already have most of things you need!
5 Fun Winter Projects For Kids!
Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt
They can have just as much fun outside in winter so bundle them up and shove them out the door! A scavenger hunt is a great activity to get them moving and burn some energy, especially for older kids who need less supervision. If you don’t have much in the way of a backyard, take them to a park and get moving with them! Getting outside with your kids allows you to spend quality time with them and reduces stress for you.
Create a list of natural objects, plants, and/or animals they should try to find or observe. Have them place a check next to each thing they find, or give them a basket to bring things back. For a printable scavenger hunt, check out this free download.
Make sure pine cones are on the scavenger hunt list because you’ll need them for the next project…
Pine Cone Bird Feeders
As I mentioned in this post about feeding birds, our feathered friends expend lots of energy just keeping warm in the winter. Help them and keep your kids busy by making these easy pine cone bird feeders!
What you’ll need: pine cones, baking sheet, parchment paper, shallow glass baking dish or pie plate, pipe cleaners or string, butter knife or spoon, peanut butter, bird seed.
- Send your kids outside to gather pine cones. If you don’t have pine trees, make a special trip to a park and go on a nature hike!
- If the pine cones are wet, bring them inside and allow them to dry overnight so that the “leaves” open.
- Set out a baking tray covered with parchment.
- Pour bird seed into glass baking dish or pie plate.
- Tie a long string or pipe cleaner around one end of a dry pine cone.
- Use a butter knife or spoon to generously coat the pine cone with peanut butter.
- Roll the peanut butter-coated pine cone in bird seed.
- Hang them outside on a tree branch and watch bird-topia unfold!
If you aren’t already feeding the birds, it can take them several days to find your pine cone feeders…so be sure to make and hang plenty of them and keep an eye out…because once the birds discover them, they’ll eat you out of house and home!
Colorful Pasta Necklaces
My daughter loves using food for art! These colorful pastas are super easy to color and can be made into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, or used in other art projects.
What you’ll need: pasta of different shapes and sizes, food coloring, white vinegar, mason jars with lids, parchment paper, large cookie sheet, string or pipe cleaners.
- Put one or two cups of dry pasta in a mason jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
- In a small bowl mix together a few drops of food coloring and a teaspoon of vinegar.
- Pour the vinegar/food coloring mixture over the pasta in the jar and screw the lid on tight.
- Have your kiddo shake it like crazy.
- Add more color/vinegar as necessary until it reaches desired color.
- Spread in a single layer onto a parchment-covered baking sheet to dry.
- Once dry, use the string or pipe cleaners to make necklaces, bracelets, and other art projects!
No Bake Cookie Balls
These simple 4-ingredient cookie balls are as fun to make as they are delicious! This activity requires supervision for the younger ones, but they’ll absolutely love rolling and shaping the playdough-like “dough”! Just make sure you have friends or family to gift your cookie balls to…or they’ll end up in your belly! So yummy!
What you’ll need: 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, ½ package Oreo cookies, crushed, small cookie cutters (optional), white chocolate or milk chocolate melting chips, sprinkles or other edible decorations.
- Put the Oreos in a gallon plastic bag and let the kids crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin. I’ll be honest, this step is much easier with a food processor and leads to a finer crumb…but the kids have so much fun beating the Oreos!
- In a medium-sized bowl, have your kids mix the crushed Oreos into the softened cream cheese. They really have a good time if you let them use their hands for this job…just make sure they wash up before mixing!
- Once the cream cheese and Oreos are thoroughly mixed together, shape into balls or press into small cookie cutters if you want to make shapes.
- Set in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for two hours. I line a plate or a rectangular plastic storage container with parchment for this.
- Once the cookie balls are chilled, melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler.
- Using a toothpick or fork, dip the cookie balls into the chocolate then lay them out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or plate.
- Add sprinkles or other decorations to each cookie ball as soon as it comes out of the chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to harden – happens fastest in the fridge. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This is such great fun for the little ones! You can even make it a game by blindfolding them and making them guess what they are touching. Parent supervision is required for kiddos under the age of 4, especially if they like to put things in their mouth or other orifices!
What you’ll need: elbow pasta, beans, rice, bowls or large jars (big enough for your kids to get both hands in).
- Set up your sensory station in your kitchen. Lay some towels on the floor and have your vacuum cleaner at the ready.
- Add the elbow pasta to a bowl.
- Put the beans in another bowl.
- Add the rice to another bowl.
- Let the kids have a blast dunking their hands into the bowls.
- Let them use the pasta, beans, and rice for art projects too!
Upcycled Craft Box
Ever noticed that kids will play with a cardboard box more than a toy? My own daughter will “steal” things out of our recycling bin for her art projects…and when she can get her hands on a large box, she’ll play with it for HOURS! I’m actually quite amazed at her creativity with some of these upcycled art projects! That’s why I started saving many of our recyclables in a special box just for her!
What you’ll need: Empty containers and food boxes, caps from milk, soda, and beer bottles, pop tabs, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, glue, scissors, tape, crayons or markers, ribbon or string, stickers, etc…any sort of crafty stuff you can find.
Set all of these items out on the table and let them create! You might be surprised how much this builds imagination!
I hope you enjoyed this post! We’d love to see photos of fun projects you and your kiddos did over winter break! Have a wonderful holiday season!