The Best Winter Activities for Babies and Toddlers

The best winter activities for babies and toddlers are (for me) based inside! I love the cosiness of being indoors when winter arrives, but it’s easy to find myself getting cabin fever if I don’t get out now and again.

So, what do you do with your toddler on a cold day? To give you some inspiration, here are my favourite things to pull out of the bag when everyone’s getting cabin fever.

Absorb some culture

Your local cinema will also be showing child friendly films during the daytime - great when you want to get out of the house but it’s terrible weather outside! Mary Poppins, The Grinch and Pokemon are just a few of the “fun for all the family” films you can take the tots to see this winter!

If your little ones are too young to sit through a film, it might be worth checking out your local theatre or village hall for some child-friendly theatre or musicals. You could also try following local theatre groups on social media to find out about upcoming performances. Children's theatre is usually interactive and engaging so it’s more likely to hold your children's attention!


Swimming is a great activity for both you and your little ones and it’s something babies can start doing from birth. It’s an activity with loads of benefits including:

  • It’s great exercise, helping your child develop muscle, improving cardio health and encouraging a healthy heart, lungs and brain.
  • It gets your toddlers comfortable in the water, so learning to swim feels less daunting. Showing your child that you can be comfortable in the water will also help them to feel more confident in the pool.
  • Pool time is great for bonding. You both get to spend quality time together and your child gets your undivided attention for the whole session.
  • Swimming can help to tire your children out so that they sleep better at night.
  • Exercise also can improve your baby’s appetite, so they might want some kind of snack and drink once they finish the session.
  • Swimming is a great way for toddlers to meet friends and for you to get to know other parents with children around the same age.

If you haven’t already, you could always check out the local pools in your area and ask for their timetables to see if they run any child friendly sessions. Parent and baby sessions or toddlers play time are usually part of any leisure centre timetable.

Once your toddler is around 15 months + you can even begin to teach them (along with the help of floatation devices) to tread water and swim.

Get creative!

Indoor creative activities are perfect for the winter months. They also help children develop through sensory play with purpose.

Before we get started, a few essential bits of equipment for me are:

  • An enormous waterproof tablecloth
  • Cardboard
  • Washing-up bucket
  • Cloths for wiping the kids (and the floor)

Here are two favourite crafty activities in our house:

Build a den from boxes

Building a den is a great way to keep little ones entertained! My favourite way to make a den for the kids is out of a big cardboard box. Cutting tunnels, turrets, windows and round holes to crawl through provides endless fun for toddlers! You don’t need to buy one, just pop into your local big hardware or DIY stores and ask if they have any spare large boxes!

Finger painting

An oldie but a goodie! Non-toxic poster paints and big sheets of recycled paper are perfect for this kind of activity. Do you remember creating huge butterfly shapes by painting on one side of the paper and folding it over to form one giant sheet of paper? I still think I enjoy making these as much as the kids!

Visit Santa!

Ok, ok, it’s not December yet but it’s on its merry way! As I write this, thousands of Santa grottos are being set up in shopping and garden centres around the UK. Visiting Father Christmas is a magical time and it’s something, as adults, we probably all remember doing.

So, although it might not be quite as easy to entertain your kids in winter as it is in summer - whether it’s getting creative, active or cultural, there are still plenty of activities that will keep the kiddos occupied when it’s too wet, windy and cold to go outside.

What are your favourite activities to do with the kids this winter? We’re always up for hearing new ideas so, let us know on Twitter or Instagram @_matchstickmonkey.