active play

January and Winter Fun and Learning Activities for Kids

Just like snowflakes can add up to a big pile, so can minutes of fun and play add up to big learning. This month, no matter what the weather, here are some activities your child can do at home or kids can do in a care center. These are child-tested and family-approved.

Print off the calendar below and put it on the fridge or bulletin board. Adapt as needed or use them to inspire different kinds of play. This is hands-on play or should that be mittens-on?  january-winter-play-learning-kids



Active Fun Christmas Games for Kids – Outdoors and Indoors

With all the excitement, kids need some active fun Christmas Games to channel their energy. Use these ideas and add your own for outside and inside play.

Christmas follow the leader game

    • Follow Rudolph: This is a dress for the weather and spend time outdoors game. Kids take turns being Rudolph and leading the rest of the reindeer around the yard or playground. Of course, reindeer don’t usually climb the ladders and slide down the slides at the playground but this doesn’t matter to kids. At home, in a yard without any obstacles to go around, kids can spread their arms and fly, shuffle like a penguin, walk like a big polar bear, and use other actions. If there’s snow on the ground, kids can make paths that zig-zag for following Rudolph all around. They will have their own ideas for ways to play this version of Follow the Leader.


  • Where is the Candy Cane? Either outside or inside, one person hides a candy cane and one or more elves find it. This can be a simple hide and seek, or kids can give clues. Warmer means getting closer to where it’s hidden. If the hider says “Colder” you are getting farther away.


  • Santa Says: Like the game Simon Says, but it’s Santa that gives the instructions. To get everyone in shape for their big night, Santa might have a whole list of exercises, like jump 5 times, fly around, or balance on a very, very, very small roof. Each command needs to start with the words “Santa says…” If Santa doesn’t say them, kids don’t do that action. This is pretty tricky for little ones and they have to listen carefully. They just like to do the actions.

Santa can give other instructions like “Go touch something white.”He can also be helpful, “Go pick up 4 toys on the floor and put them on the shelf.” This makes tasks that kids don’t much like to do into more active fun Christmas games.Christmas Simon Says game

  • Gingerbread Man: The gingerbread man game needs a long hallway or a clear path across a room. Usually, the gingerbread man runs as fast as he can, but he could also hop, hop as fast as he can, or shuffle, shuffle, or walk on all fours.


  • I Spy: A less active game, this can be played anywhere, especially when waiting in line or sitting in a car or bus. One person chooses an object that everyone can see, and the other people playing try and guess what it is. For this game, you can use colors, as in I spy something red, or use shapes, like I spy something round. Giving clues isn’t easy for kids, but they quite like when adults guess silly things.


  • Can the Elf Help? There is another one called Can the Elf Help. Any available elf helps vacuum or dust or put away clean laundry.This can be just as much fun as the others, especially if all the elves get to share some Christmas cookies when done.

Can you and your child think of some other active fun Christmas games?


Dragon Playground Activities Inspired by The Paper Bag Princess

The children’s book, The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch inspires some dragon playground activities for kids and dragons for today’s play-of-the-day. Dragons can sleep for years and years but they also travel great distances. In this story, a dragon burns all of Princess Elizabeth’s clothes and captures her Prince Ronald. All she has left … Continue reading Dragon Playground Activities Inspired by The Paper Bag Princess

Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4

There’s nothing like sun to encourage vigorous active play and that’s how L loves to play. Movement and whole body play are his play valentine. A happy, busy 3 year old, L likes to move. His outside trampoline gets almost daily use, when weather permits, as he jumps and runs. He sometimes chooses a ball … Continue reading Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4

Part Three: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Spending Time in Active and Physical Play: There’s a saying that it’s the little things that count and the littlest would be kids. To them, spending time is what counts, not our expertise. That’s good news for other parents and caregivers that are like me, that is athletically challenged. Games like giddy-up, chase and catch, … Continue reading Part Three: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Run, Walk, Hop, Jump, Skip, and Slide to Kindergarten

Series Part #9: Helping Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten Includes Movement Activities Did you know that running, walking, hopping, jumping and other ways that kids move can help them get ready to start school? After all, kids learn ‘on the move’. As adults, we only need to be stuck in an airplane seat for a … Continue reading Run, Walk, Hop, Jump, Skip, and Slide to Kindergarten