Winter is a time for hunkering down—and that’s more important than ever this year! Kids have notoriously short attention spans, and when it’s too cold to send them outside, parents are often left scrambling for activities to keep them busy. We’ve gathered a collection of movies, books, podcasts, and board games sure to keep them entertained (and educated). Bonus: you’ll enjoy them, too!
Available on demand and in theaters December 4, this documentary examines “Operation Santa”—an effort by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver thousands of letters to Santa every year to help make children’s dreams come true. It’s a feel-good look at a 100-year-old tradition.
Created by Netflix, “Klaus” is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a selfish postman and a reclusive toymaker who team up to bring an end to a long running feud and rescue Christmas for children around the world.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle’s classic tale of a caterpillar munching its way through a picnic was originally published in 1969 and remains a timeless classic. Through colorful illustrations with fun cutouts and a beguiling story, children learn about growth and science as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
Grace for President
Focusing on electoral politics and feminism, this topical read is great for kids aged 6-9. Written by Kelly DiPucchio, it follows the tale of Grace, who announces she is running for president after learning in school that there has never been a female elected to the nation’s highest office.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
Every parent has to contend with children asking questions like “Why is the sky blue?” Coming up with satisfying answers is tricky. Each episode of this biweekly podcast tackles questions submitted by kids, providing sensible answers in an entertaining format. It’s great for kids of all ages (and fun for adults, too).
Putting a modern twist on an age-old tradition, this podcast features easily digestible stories that are 20 minutes or less every other week. They are read by a narrator whose soothing voice just might help lull your little ones to sleep. Best for preschoolers through age 7.
Chutes and Ladders
Spin a wheel and move your game piece up ladders and down chutes; the first person to reach the top without sliding down wins! The game is an entertaining way to teach kids to count while subtly reenforcing the idea of cause and effect. This family friendly classic is perfect for kids ages 3 and older.
A newer game geared toward kids 6 and up, Qwirkle is a cross between Scrabble and Dominos. It promotes spatial recognition, planning, and problem-solving by having kids line up and match wooden tiles of various colors, numbers, and shapes. It’s that rare game that is both educational and fun!