It’s cold outside. Like really, really cold. And your toddler is staring down the window like it’s a big ol’ bowl of ice cream. They’re jonesing to go out. But there’s no way you’re about to let your precious baby outside in the frigid temps. The wicked winter weather doesn’t have to equal a string of boringly blah afternoons. Check out these indoor activities that will bring awesomeness to your kiddo’s winter days.

Boy running towards pile of cushions in living room

1. Indoor Obstacles. An obstacle course is an easy way to get moving and have fun, of course! Your tot doesn’t need an elaborate setup, with an army crawl and some sort of odd netting to toss themselves over. Keep things simple and create a runway (literally, a way that your child can run through) that’s lined with pillows, set up toys to hop around, and throw down a blanket to roll over.

2. Dance Party: Blast the holiday music and get your groove on — toddler style. Have a dance off, play shadow dancer (your child has to follow your moves and vice-versa), or just move to the music. Your tot can stomp their feet, clap their hands, and twirl around a well-cleared living room or playroom.

3. Slalom Skiing: No, your child is not going outside, strapping on skies, and whooshing down a mountain. Set up an imaginary ski course, using flexible plastic cones or fabric (as flags) to pretend ski around. Time your child, race together, or challenge your tot to get creative and come up with a few imaginative skiing moves.

4. Soapy Snow: Get your science on right now. Microwave a bar of Ivory soap (yes, it must be Ivory soap). Put the soap on a microwave-safe dish and set the timer for 15 seconds. Keep heating, in 15-second increments, until the soap… well, you’ll see. Let’s just say it turns into a magical cloud of fluff. Take the soap out, but absolutely, positively do not let your child touch it. Don’t even touch it yourself. It will be crazy-hot. Marvel at it. Let it deflate. And then (when it’s cool to the touch) flake off what remains into soapy faux snow. Scoop it in a bin, use it in a craft, or just explore the snowy and soapy sensations.

5. Snow Paint: White tempera plus opal glitter equals snow paint. Mix up a batch and let your little artist go to town, finger painting, brushing, or rolling the sparkly paint onto cardboard, construction paper, or fabric scraps. If you’re really daring, cover the ground with a sheet, put poster paper down, and let your child play the role of pint-sized Pollock. Splatter the glittery paint on the paper, making it snow.

6. Animal Actions: Become snow leopards, penguins, polar bears, and all kinds of Arctic (and Antarctic) animals. Talk about which animals live in cold weather climates, and then pretend to be them.

Young girl and her mom reading together on a couch with dog nearby

7. Story Time: Yes jumping around and having all kinds of motor-oriented fun will keep your kiddo busy. But sometimes they just need some calm. Snuggle up together on a comfy chair, wrap a blanket around the two of you, and read a pile of favorite stories. Maybe they’ll even take a nap.

8. Outdoors In: The snow that’s falling outside is oh-so-tempting. As much as you want your child to go out and play, the temperature just won’t cooperate. It’s way too cold to bundle up and head outdoors. So bring the outside in. Scoop some snow into a bin and bring it inside. Help your tot put on their mittens and play, play, play.

9. Sensory Bag: Make a snowy sensory bag. You can Ziplock up real snow and let your child mash it from the outside — watching until it melts. Or, your creative kid can add snowy silver glitter, veggie oil, and water (zipping the bag and taping it on top) to see what happens.

What’s your child’s favorite winter-time activity? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)