Cold Weather Crafts: Activities to do at Home When You Don’t Want to Leave Your House

two girls making crafts at Heartfelt in Minneapolis Minnesota

A few years ago, Family Fun Twin Cities was invited into the WCCO studio to suggest some fun winter crafts to do with the kids during this absolutely horrific cold weather. (I’m not complaining about the cold in Minnesota. I’m just saying there is cold, very cold, and absolutely horrific cold.) We share these cold weather crafts for those days plus a few more that we have collected over the years here.

Featured image: Two FFTC kids crafting at Heartfelt in Linden Hills in Minneapolis. Scroll to the bottom to find a full list of our favorite places to craft and leave the mess behind.

8 Winter Craft Projects to Make Together

We have a mix of cold weather crafts for kids and families. Some are best for older kids and some are perfect for tots and pre-k kids.

1. Haitian Macrame Friendship Bracelets

There are videos galore online to teach this fun craft. Once you start, it is hard to stop. View and try a few methods until you find one you love. We particularly like this beginners video. Macrame is a good hobby to promote fine motor skills, concentration and perseverance.

Cold Weather Crafts
Make Friendship Bracelets

2. Button Jewelry

Joy and I found this craft while searching for fun crafts to do with kids. Where did we find them? Pinterest, of course! This super easy DIY only requires buttons and embroidery thread. You may already have what you need on hand.

Cold Weather Crafts
Button Jewelry Craft

3. Ella and Penguin Puppets

Based on the picture books by Minnesota author Megan Maynor, here are the simple steps to create Ella and Penguin in easy puppet form. Bonus — you can cuddle up with the books and puppets after you are done crafting and have a cozy storytime. Find these and other crafts on Megan’s book pages.

Popsicle Puppets of Ella and Penguin - characters in books by Megan Maynor
These would look super cute with googly eyes
  1. Gather Your supplies: Construction paper, scissor, glue, stick
  2. Cut your Construction paper into shapes
    Penguin is
    -1 large oval
    -2 small ovals for flippers
    -2 small triangles (one for beak and one for head)
    -2 small rectangles for feet
    -1 circle for face
    Ella is
    -1 circle for head
    -2 small circles for pigtails
    -1 square trimmed to fit the shape of the head for hair and bangs
    -1 large-ish triangle for dress
  3. Glue shapes together to resemble characters
  4. Tape characters on stick–pencil, popsicle sticks, etc.
  5. Feel free to add any details you want or spread modge podge over your creation to make it sturdier.
  6. Read the book together with puppets in hand.
  7. Find a new book and do it again!

4. Snowmen Craft Ideas from Non-Toy Gifts

One of our favorite local crafters and author, Stefania Luca has gathered several snowman craft ideas on her website, Non-Toy Gifts — including a melting snowman craft, simple snowman perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, shape snowmen and more.

Pop over to her site to find tons of fun winter craft ideas, including tons of things to make with paper plates.

5. Paper Snowflakes with Big Brothers & Big Sisters

Paper Snowflakes are a classic winter craft.  If, like me, you know they are easy but can never remember the steps, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Twin Cities offers instructions and a free printable snowflake template here. Make them extra special with some glitter.

These make great winter decor. Kids can fill the windows, walls or a Christmas tree.

White paper snowflake on a black background

6. No Sew Gnome with Appleberry’s Attic

Gnomes are popular in park scavenger hunts each winter. Make your own gnome with Jen Appleberry of Appleberry’s Attic in Anoka. You will need three socks, some rice and rubber bands. You may also want to find decorative pieces to personalize and a small triangle of faux fur (or yarn or cotton balls). If you do these extras, you’ll need a hot glue gun.

This project looks complicated, but it is easy enough for a grade school child to do with little help. You may want to oversee the rice pouring part and these shouldn’t be treated as toys unless you enjoy vacuuming up rice.

Winter bonus, as long as you don’t add any metal or meltable ornaments, you can heat this little guy in the microwave to warm you up when you go to bed on cold winter nights! Watch the video here.

Sock gnome with a yellow hat and white beard.
I didn’t have faux fur, but I had some white yarn.

7. Owl Crafts with the International Owl Center

Owls start to look for a mate and are active in the winter.  It is also easier to spot them without leaves in trees. The International Owl Center has a page full of owl crafts for the littlest crafter through more seasoned artists. Wintery owl crafts  include some three-dimensional papercraft snowy owls and templates to make owl snowflakes. Find the perfect owl craft for your family on their crafts page.

Exterior of International Owl Center in Houston Minnesota
Image courtesy of International Owl Center

8. Winter Tree Art with Minnesota Children’s Museum

The Minnesota Children’s Museum offers 10 days of wintery art projects, including an art project made with found nature items from winter trees. Use twigs, rocks, leaves, etc.  Go for a winter nature walk and come home and craft this project.

Winter Tree Art made with found natural objects and a red cardinal toy

3 Ideas for Winter Art Projects – Learn A New Skill

Winter is a great time to try new art mediums. You can learn new techniques and then spend time perfecting any medium that you enjoy.

1. Learn to Draw with Nancy Carlson

Minnesota children’s book author, Nancy Carlson, shared several how-to-draw videos on the Bush Lake Ikes YouTube channel.  You can see the result of my first attempt at a cardinal below. She covers several animals that we can see around the metro area in winter – including foxes, squirrels and chickadees. If you are missing summer, than you may prefer to learn to draw a hummingbird.  All of these videos can be found here.

Drawing of a cardinal on lined paper
Draw a Cardinal with Nancy Carlson

2. Try Collage Art with ARTrageous Adventures

Take that cardinal you just drew and make it into a collage piece or draw it a little different with Abby from ARTrageous Adventures. She shows how to make a cardinal collage as part of a visit the states series. Grab some white glue and scissors and whatever you have on hand for decorating your collage — magazines, paper, sharpies, color pencils, watercolors. Watch the video here.

Collage of Cardinal standing on snowbank in front of deep blue sky
I chose to use some leftover wrapping paper and a picture from an old calendar for my collage.

3. Check Thrift Stores for Art Kits to Learn New Skills

We have been exposed to so many new types of art by grabbing up art kits at our favorite thrift store. This winter alone, we’ve made sand art, melted candle art, clay creations, paint-by-numbers, crayon melts, and rubber band weaving (my least favorite mess). We quickly discovered that age 8 is a little young for an adult paint-by-number kit, but we still grab them up at $2/kit because each kit provides a canvas and enough paint to make an original painting.

Child's painting of a cat on a red platform with a cloudy, blue sky background.
Paint-by-Number kits offer the perfect amount of paint and a canvas.

Things to Watch for at a Thrift Store for Winter Kids Crafts:

  1. Watercolor Paint Sets. These generally don’t go bad and are just fun to have on hand.
  2. Pipe Cleaners. There are endless projects to do with pipe cleaners. If you see them, grab them.
  3. Coffee Filters. Make snowflakes or color with watercolors and fold into endless projects – flowers, butterflies, doll skirts, etc.  You’ll find projects to do with them
  4. Paper Plates. I cringe at the idea of buying new paper plates for art projects, but they are often sold in partial packs at thrift stores – perfect for art projects.
  5. Craft Sticks. A popsicle stick makes anything into a puppet.
  6. Crayons. Crayons don’t go bad and, if they break easily, then they can be used to make melted crayon crafts.
  7. Quality Colored Pencils. You would be surprised at how many of these end up at second hand stores unused.

We continue to search out cold weather crafts that we want to try with our own families. We particularly like to learn from Minnesota artists and craftspeople. If you know of any great cold weather crafts or projects, please share with the community in the comments section.

This article was originally published on Jan 11, 2016 by Gianna Kordatzky and has been updated and added to since then.

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