‘Winter Play’ – Indoor Activities for Kids

Puzzles 2It may be too cold and windy for outside play but winter is great time for indoor games, and activities that are great for facilitating kids’ development and for enhancing the skills that underpin literacy, numeracy and other school based learning.

Here are a few ‘old’ favourites –

–  drawing – use large and small pieces of paper, lots of colour and different types and sizes of writing implements (crayons, felt tipped, chunky and thin pencils) – great for visual skills, eye-hand co-ordination, imagination and for developing pencil grip

–  colouring in – good, old fashioned colouring books are great for fine motor control and pencil grip

–  cutting up old magazines and gluing – helps develop visual scanning, scissor skills and fine motor skills

–  play dough – great for fine motor strength and control

–  dress-ups – helps build imaginative play and social skills

–  building blocks – good for 3D visualisation, fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination

–  board games – great for following rules, turn taking and building resilience

–  threading beads – encourages counting and patterning (precursor to numeracy skills) and fine motor co-ordination

–  collage – ideal for building tactile tolerances and fine motor skills

–  word search – great for visual skills such as figure-ground (seeing things in a busy background) and ‘closure’ (seeing ‘wholeness’ in words and pictures), visual scanning and spelling

–  Hang Man – another good one for visual skills and spelling

–  join the dots – helps with integrating visual and motor skills (which kids need for handwriting) and ‘closure’

 books – picture and reading books (both fiction and non-fiction) to browse through and read for enjoyment – join your local library if you haven’t already – a gold mine of resources!  And remember…’a little and often’ and ‘don’t make it a chore’ is the key to developing reading skills, particularly for children who are finding the task difficult.

And last, but certainly not least….

–  jigsaw puzzles – a very much understated and under rated activity  that is great for developing visual skills (scanning, ‘closure’, figure-ground, discrimination, position in space), planning and problem solving,  and perseverance!

Electronic games on devices such as computers and I-Pads do have a place also but most app’s are not as effective at developing the fine motor and writing skills which children need for independence with daily activities and for building success at school.  A balance between the more conventional and the more contemporary activities is important.

Parents play a key role in helping to develop the foundation skills that underpin school based learning.  Fine motor, visual processing and social-emotional skills impact on literacy, numeracy and other school based learning and are just some of the skill areas that can be easily developed through indoor play during the winter months!


Pam McDonald – Occupational Therapist – Parent and Professional Development Services – Let’s Talk Developmental Hub

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