Rosie from Five Little Birds shares 30 great activities to enjoy during the cooler months with your children.
1. Make a bird feeder - winter time can be hard for our feathered friends, but making them a pinecone bird feeder is the perfect little treat. All you need to do is slather a pinecone with peanut butter and then sprinkle some bird seed over it. Hang in your favourite tree, and watch quietly to see your local birds enjoy it.
2. Make soup - soup is always so comforting in winter and it’s such a fun way to get the kids involved with cooking. Our favourite is veggie and lentil soup. Kids love to cut up the veggies and hang out in the kitchen while the soup does its magical thing.
3. Put on a family play or talent show - make a family night all about highlighting each members special talents. You can dance, sing, draw, play an instrument or perform a sporting trick and don’t forget to have lots of laughs while you’re doing it.
4. Bake cookies - is there any smell better than freshly baked cookies? As a child, cookies were my favourite thing to bake with my Nana. What was the best bit? Licking the bowl of course!
5. Read winter stories together - gather up some cozy blankets and make the couch super inviting. Then cuddle together with all your favourite winter picture books. This is especially lovely on a cold, windy and rainy day.
6. Make a nest - children are fascinated with birds nests and winter is the perfect time for them to have a go at making their own. Just head to your local park or green space and gather twigs and leaves. Assemble them as desired, then admire each other’s nests.
7. Make a hut on a rainy day - rainy day huts hold so many precious memories. Set the hut up in the morning for a whole day of fun. You can picnic inside, have story time or a little nap. For an extra special hut hang some fairy lights inside.
8. Have a family lego challenge - my kids absolutely love family lego challenges and it’s a great way to keep the kids happily entertained on a yucky day when you don’t feel like venturing outdoors. Set a timer for two hours and then get to work creating. At the end have a presentation party and take pictures of all the creations.
9. Go for a walk in the rain - pop on the raincoats and gumboots, grab an umbrella and head out for a rainy day walk. Things just look different in the rain, and you’ll be surprised at what you notice.
10. Make leaf confetti - traditionally confetti is often made of plastic and is bad for the environment but leaf confetti is the perfect alternative. Just gather lots of fallen leaves then get to work with a couple of hole punches. Store the confetti in a container and use at birthdays or celebrations or on arts and crafts.
11. Fly a kite - head to your local park and get the kites out for some traditional childhood fun. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and do some cloud watching. Everyone will return home feeling refreshed.
12. Learn to finger knit - finger knitting is a simple little craft that only takes minutes to learn. There are ample free tutorials online that kids can follow easily. This is the perfect way to make friendship bracelets for family and friends.
13. Make a night sky craft - get out the black paper and white crayons and make a star filled night sky picture. You could also introduce some Matariki learning while you’re creating.
14. Decorate kindness rocks - paint some flat rocks and once they’re dry leave around your neighbourhood for others to find. A little bit of winter joy.
15. Visit your local museum - winter is the perfect time to take advantage of your local art galleries and museums. They often have children’s activities and crafts available too.
16. Go for a winter hike - exploring nature isn’t just for the warmer months. Going on a winter hike and observing what’s happening in the forest is a lovely way of learning about the changing seasons.
17. Have a hot chocolate party - nothing brightens up a dull winters day like a little hot chocolate with marshmallows on top!
18. Make paper snowflakes - I have so many fun memories of make paper snowflakes as a child. Check out YouTube for some fun and easy tutorials.
19. Attend story time at the library - local libraries host fun and engaging story times for younger children. It’s a great excuse to get out of the house for the morning.
20. Plan your spring garden and start some seeds inside on windowsills.
21. Go for a night walk - going for a walk in the dark is always exciting. Take a torch and listen for new and interesting night sounds.
22. Go on a winter scavenger hunt - write a list of things you might only find in winter and then head to a local nature trail to see if you can collect them.
23. Bake bread together - baking bread or buns can be such a comforting experience and the smell is always amazing too!
24. Play torch tag - spotlight was always a favourite activity for me as a kid and I’ve introduced it to my children. They find is so exciting and a little daring too. Guaranteed to keep the kids active and entertained.
25. Make wind chimes - making wind chimes from gathered sticks and shells can be a great nature craft for kids. The music at the end is an exciting result.
26. Experiment with bubble mixture - who doesn’t love bubbles? It’s so fun to make up your own mixture and try making different sized bubbles using string and even tennis rackets. Bubbles always brighten up a dull winter day.
27. Have a family movie night - make some pop corn, cover the couch in cozy blankets and settle in for a fun family movie night. Some of our favourites are Paddington, Peter Rabbit and Pete’s Dragon.
28. Have a family read aloud session - reading out loud isn’t just for little ones. Older children love it too, and it’s a great way to introduce them to different types of literature that they may not pick themselves.
29. Have a dress up tea party - if you really want to make your little ones day, invite them to a tea party where they come in their favourite dress ups. Soft toys are welcome too!
30. Stargazing - winter is a great time to get the kids into learning about what’s in the night sky. There are a number of great apps available to help with star and constellation identification (and some are even free like SkyView Lite).