January can be a long, cold month, and at times, it seems to drag on and on! But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Here are 47 ideas and activities that you can do with your kids, as part of your homeschool day, or together as a family to make this month a little more fun!
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I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the month of January! I love that it’s a new year and feels like a fresh start, but I am not a big fan of the long, cold winter days! It’s a month that, at times, can feel twice as long as it really is. And your kids may be feeling the same way too, and possibly even starting to go a little stir crazy.
If you’re in the same boat as I am and are looking for fun (and easy!) things to do during your homeschool days or family time this month, then look no further! These 47 January activities are sure to fit the bill! Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, there are plenty of fun things to enjoy doing together during the month of January.
47 fun and easy January activities
1. Have a hot chocolate bar
Set up a fun hot cocoa bar right in your own kitchen so that everyone can make their cocoa just the way they like it! You can have different types of hot chocolate, marshmallows, cocoa bombs (premade or make your own!), whipped cream, or peppermint or chocolate spoons. Maybe you’ll even want to try making your own whip cream cocoa toppers!
2. Make fluffy snow slime
Making fluffy snow slime is the perfect science and sensory activity for days when it’s too cold or wet to go outside and play. And if you want to increase the fun, just add some arctic themed plastic animals to your slime! (Here are the instructions on how to make this fun slime).
3. Try melting snowman slime
If your child loved playing with fluffy snow slime, then here’s another one they may like – melting snowman slime! It’s a fun wintery themed slime, but with a twist! Learn more about making your own melting snowman slime here.
4. Read together
Reading is a great activity to do all year round, but there is something special about it when it’s in the wintertime. You can grab a good book and a comfy blanket and enjoy the warmth of your home while you spend time reading together.
5. Watch a movie
Another great activity to do together inside where it’s warm and cozy is to have a family movie night. Pick a family favorite (or a new movie), grab some popcorn and yummy snacks, and settle in for a good movie. You can even add to the excitement by giving your kids their own “movie tickets” and letting them pick out their own snacks, just like at a concession stand – only cheaper!
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6. Paint a picture
I am not artistic at all (maybe you can relate!), but my children are pretty good at art, so this is an activity they would enjoy. Depending on the age of your children, they may like to paint winter themed paintings such as the snowmen, penguin (a great project to celebrate penguin awareness day on January 20th!), cardinal, or folk trees shown at Deep Space Sparkle.
If your children are younger, or if they just want to paint their very own unique creations, providing them with various paints and materials is a great way to encourage their creativity. You can give them finger paints, watercolors, tempera paints, or even fun paint sticks or squeezable paint brushes.
7. Sit around the fire
Whether inside with a fireplace or outside with a fire pit, sitting around the fire is a perfect January activity. You can roast marshmallows, have smore’s, or just tell stories and talk with each other. And after you’re done cooking your food, put some fun fire color changing packets into your wood burning fire and let the colorful show begin!
8. Make maple snow candy
If you’re like me and live in a cold place that gets a lot of snow, then making maple snow candy is the perfect January activity! If you’ve never done this before, then head on over to Happy Hooligans where you’ll learn how to make this easy, yet tasty winter treat, just like they did in Little House on the Prairie!
9. Play games
What could be better than spending time playing games with your family or kids inside where it’s warm?! There are so many different kinds of games to play – from board games, to card games, to dice games, to active games like Pictionary (or even Pictionary Air!) or Charades – that you should have no problem finding ones that your family will enjoy!
10. Celebrate the holidays
There are so many different holidays that you can celebrate in January (and all year long) that it may be hard to just pick a few! There’s spaghetti day, pajama day, hat day, popcorn day, Lego day, puzzle day, or my favorite…chocolate cake day! There are also traditional holidays to celebrate in January as well, such as New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (find books and activities to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. on my blog post here).
You can see even more January holidays on my post about all of the fun holidays to celebrate throughout the year. You’ll even find a free printable list of all these holidays so that you can refer back to it whenever you need to add a little fun to your homeschool days or family time!
To get this FREE handy printable list of fun holidays to celebrate, simply sign up below!
11. Have a poetry teatime
If I’m being honest here, poetry is not really our favorite thing to read. However, I think it’s important for kids to at least be familiar with different poems and how they’re written. That’s where a poetry teatime comes in! It’s a good way to introduce new poems by turning it into a fun activity instead of a chore or task that’s not enjoyable.
You can be as casual or as fancy as you’d like – the point here is to just have fun with it! And it’s the perfect January activity since it’s done inside where it’s cozy, and you get to drink a nice warm cup of tea (or cider or hot cocoa!) and have some tasty little snacks as you read together!
Julie Bogart from the Brave Writer does a good job explaining more about poetry teatime and the benefits it has, as well as recommending poetry books for different ages.
One book series that we personally enjoy is the “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” series, which includes a short stories book as well as a nursery rhyme book that is written in poem form – where you and your child read together, taking turns as you read.
12. Make a bucket list
January is a good time to think about the goals as well as the plans we may have for the upcoming new year. A fun way to do this is to make a bucket list. You can do a year long bucket list as a family, do a new list each season (here are some ideas of what you could put on a summer bucket list), or let everyone make their own bucket lists. However you decide to do it, have fun and enjoy this time thinking about the fun things you want to do together this year.
13. Build a snowman
If you happen to live where it snows, you could bundle up and head outside to play in the snow. Build a snowman, make a snow fort (snow block molds make this job easier!), or get creative and make a snow animal or other “cool” creation! My kids love to add accessories to their snowmen and other snow sculptures!
14. Have an indoor snowball fight
If you don’t have snow where you live, or if it’s just too cold to go out, then try having an indoor snowball fight! You can use crumbled up paper, balled up socks, or even store bought fake snowballs that can be used over and over! Here are some more fun ideas on how to play with fake snowballs inside.
15. Build a blanket fort
Grab some sheets or blankets (or a premade fort building kit) and make a fort! Add some pillows, books, games, and a light, and your kids may just want to stay in there all day!
16. Make a time capsule
When the weather outside makes you want to stay in all day, but you still need something for the kids to do, try making your own time capsule! You can do it as a family project, or each person can make their own. Either way, it’s a fun January activity that will not only give your kids something to do, but will also create a keepsake for you to open years down the road.
For more information on how to make a time capsule, what to use, or what to put in one, check out my post here where I cover everything you need to know. Plus there are free printables that your child can fill out and put in their time capsule!
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17. Learn your name in Morse Code
Celebrate “learn your name in Morse Code day” by doing just that – learning how your name would look and sound in Morse Code! This day falls on January 11th, making it the perfect January activity! Happy Hive Homeschooling has a helpful post on the history of Morse Code if you want to learn more about it.
You can also try a Morse Code translator like the one at Morse Code World to see and hear your name or other words in Morse Code. It’s a pretty fun tool to play around with (but they do have ads on their site, so you may want to do this activity with your kids).
18. Make frozen bubbles
This activity is neat to do if, like me, you live where it gets cold in the winter. You need a day that is quite cold and not windy in order for this to work, but it’s a great winter activity if you have weather that works for this experiment. STEAM Powered Family has a tutorial on how to make frozen bubbles that you may find very helpful.
19. Try something new
January is a great month to try something new! Maybe it’s learning a new language, reading a new kind of book, learning to play a new instrument, or trying out a new hobby. This can be an activity for your kids or for your whole family!
20. Make paper snowflakes
My son loves to make these anytime of the year, but they are especially fun to do in the wintertime. One Little Project has great instructions on how to make paper snowflakes, as well as some free templates to help you out.
21. Make a pie
Celebrate Pie Day on January 23rd by making a tasty pie. Sweet or savory pies count here, so either way this is sure to be a yummy day!
I usually think of stargazing as a summertime activity, but the cool, clear air in the winter makes it a great time to go out and look up into the sky. So bundle up and head outside to see what things you can find. And as a bonus, since it gets dark so much earlier than in the summer, you can do this activity well before bedtime!
The American Museum of Natural History has a great page for kids to learn more about stargazing that is worth checking out. They also have links to constellation maps for different times of the year that you may find helpful as you head outside. You can also find helpful information at NASA’s Space Place website, along with directions on how to make your own star finder!
23. Go on a winter scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun to do anytime of the year, but I usually don’t think to do them in the winter. However, heading outside and looking for items that are unique to winter adds an extra element of fun to these games.
Here’s a good post with ideas for a winter nature scavenger hunt (along with a free printable checklist). The Crazy Outdoor Mama also has some different options for cute (and free!) winter scavenger hunt printables for you to use with your kiddos!
24. Build with Legos
Celebrate National Lego Day on January 28th by building with Legos. See if you can make a snow fort or other winter themed creation using Legos!
25. Go sledding
Again, this one only works if you have snow where you live, but sledding is a good way to spend a nice winter day. You get fresh air, exercise, and you’re having fun together – sounds like a great January activity to me!
26. Do some winter science experiments
There are so many opportunities for fun science projects and experiments during the winter. You can try Frosty’s magic milk, fishing for ice, a snowstorm in a jar, melting snowmen, snowflake Oobleck, or making your own thermometer.
27. Bake something
Baking something tasty is a great activity for a cold winter day. You get to spend time together, make something good to eat, and you don’t need to worry that your kitchen will get too hot!
28. Make hot chocolate slime
Here’s another fun slime that you can make inside when the weather outside gets too cold – hot chocolate slime! Natural Beach Living has great instructions and pictures on how to make this easy, fun slime!
29. Do a puzzle
National Puzzle Day is January 29th, and what better way to celebrate than by grabbing a puzzle and spending the day putting it together – inside where it’s warm!
There are lots of fun holidays to celebrate in January, so if you need more ideas, head on over to my post where I share fun things to do each month!
For a FREE printable list of fun holidays that you can celebrate all year long, simply sign up below!
30. Play Minute to Win It games
Minute to Win It games are always fun to play no matter what the season! However, they are also a great way to pass the time when cold weather keeps you inside. There are some good Minute to Win It games that you can try with your kids over at Primary Playground.
However, if you live where it snows, and you really need to get out of the house, then these outdoor winter/snow themed Minute to Win It games will be perfect for you!
31. Paint the snow
You can turn that cold winter snow into a fun and creative art project when you add paint! One option is to bring the snow inside and let your kids paint it with watercolors, watching what the colors do to the snow (learn more about snow painting here).
And if your kids just need to get outside for awhile, then you can do option two (which my kids love!). Fill spray bottles or squeeze bottles with water that’s been colored with food coloring and let them have fun spraying, squirting, and painting the snow (or ice!).
32. Make a snow volcano
This is another activity that needs snow, but if you have some where you live, then making a snow volcano is a fun way to get the kids outside! It’s like the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano, but you build the volcano out of snow. Here are directions and a list of what you need to make your own snow volcano.
33. Make puffy snow paint
Here’s a fun January activity that doesn’t require any snow at all! By mixing together a few simple ingredients (which you can find here), you’ll get puffy snow paint that can be used in making all kinds of creative pictures!
34. Take a full moon walk
The next time there’s a full moon, bundle everyone up, grab your flashlights (or headlamps), and head outside for a full moon walk. Or, you can go for a hike. You can also snowshoe instead if you have snow where you live!
And before heading out on your adventure, you could read a sweet book called Owl Moon where a father and daughter go for a walk on a moon lit winter night to look for owls.
35. Grow winter crystals
Growing your own crystals is always a fun science project to do, but when it’s cold outside, it is also a great way to stay busy inside doing something educational! Try growing your own evergreen crystals or snowflake crystals for a creative winter twist!
36. Crayon resist snowflakes
Another snowflake related art project that is easy and fun to do is making Crayon resist pictures. Your child can make any design they want using this technique, not just snowflakes. Whatever they decide to make, it’ll look neat and they will have a good time while doing it!
37. Make a Smore’s Station
Whether you do this inside or out, it’s sure to be a big hit with your kids! Set out the classic smore’s ingredients like graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows, as well as some fun items like Oreo’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate cookies, or Rolos and enjoy your tasty creations! And for even more inspiration, here are 15 different ways to make smore’s!
If you are not able to do this smore’s station outside, no problem! You can bring the fun of making smore’s inside with this neat indoor electric smore’s maker!
38. Make ice wreaths
These look pretty, are free to make, and are super simple to do – making them the perfect January activity! You can find more details on how to make an ice wreath here, but all you need to do is place nature items in a shallow pan of water and freeze. Once frozen, you can take it out of the pan and hang it up outside for everyone to see!
39. Look for animal tracks
Take a walk outside and look for animal tracks. If you find any, try to learn more about what animal made each one. Using a book or guide about tracks will be helpful when identifying the animal tracks you find. And if your child really has an interest in animals and their tracks, they will love this game!
40. Set some goals
January is the perfect month to think about what goals you have as individuals and as a family. Here are some ideas on how to set family goals as well as some examples of goals you may pick to set for your own family.
41. Make frozen colored globes
Here’s another easy and cheap (or free!) activity to try this winter! All you need to do to make frozen colored globes is add some food coloring to balloons, fill the balloons with water, let them freeze, and then peel of the balloon once they’re frozen. Here are more details and tips for doing this fun January activity.
42. Catch snowflakes
This one only works when it’s snowing, but is still worth adding to this list! You can, of course, go the classic route and catch the snowflakes with your tongue (always fun!) or try to catch the snowflakes on paper so that you can look more closely at them.
43. Ice Painting
There are two ways to do this, and both are equally as fun! The first way is to freeze colored water in ice cube trays and put a popsicle stick in each one. Once frozen, remove from the tray and use this frozen colored ice cube as a paintbrush (be sure to protect your table if you used food coloring, as it can stain). Here are more instructions for this “cool” project!
The second way is to use watercolors and paint directly on ice cubes. Here you can see what ice cubes look like when painted, as well as how to do it.
44. Do STEM challenges
January is the perfect time to do some educational, yet fun STEM challenges – and it’s even better when they’re winter themed! There are lots of great STEM activities out there, but STEAM Powered Family and Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls both have good lists of ones that would be exciting to try this winter!
45. Make a snow maze
If you have snow, then this activity will be a great way for your kids to get outside and burn off some of their energy! Give them some shovels and let them clear a path around the yard (or just stomp down the snow), making their own snow maze. It can lead to a certain place (maybe a snow fort!) or just go all around the yard. Either way, they’ll be getting a good dose of fresh air and exercise!
46. Paint on foil “ice”
You can actually paint on ice (like mentioned earlier), or you could try painting on foil, which you can pretend is ice! Painting on foil is different than on paper and it’s neat to see the results. Here are some helpful tips on how to do this fun painting activity.
47. Make snow ice cream
And last but not least…use that falling snow to your advantage and make a tasty treat with it – snow ice cream! There are different ways to do this, but the way we like best is explained here at Happy Hooligans.
When the long, cold days of winter set in, you can turn to this list of January activities to keep your kids (and family) busy and having fun all month long!
What are some of the things you and your kids like to do in January to pass the time until the warmer days of spring arrive?