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Connection Corner

5 fun activities to keep kids busy this winter

family sitting at a table taking a selfie

Winter can be tough. It’s hard to get motivated to go out and do things when the sky is gloomy and the cold seems to make everything harder. But fear not! There are tons of fun, family 4-H activities that you can do from home to help get you through the grey months.

This is a great opportunity for young people to get an early start on their 4-h projects, or just try something new for the heck of it! You don’t even have to be in 4-H to take advantage of these great resources (but if you want to get involved, you can learn more here)!

  1. Have a photo shoot! Whether you get family members to pose for pics or capture beautiful nature scenes of a white winter, photography is great way to express yourself and foster creativity. Learn the basics or check out the Photography Spark Sheet new activities and ways to learn more.
  1. Start your garden! Sometimes the best way to get through winter is by daydreaming about spring – and getting a jumpstart on your garden is definitely a productive way to daydream. Start a garden in a glove, then engineer a greenhouse to keep your seedlings warm. There are tons of great gardening activities to keep you dreaming about spring! Take a look at the Vegetable Gardening Spark Sheet for even more ideas!
  1. Make a family tree! Learn more about your roots and explore family heritage by creating a family tree. This is a great way to encourage connections in your family. Try fostering these by helping kids go deeper in their exploration, perhaps by interviewing their grandparents or using conversation starters to learn more.
  1. Science it up! STEM projects can be tons of fun while helping youth develop skills and interests that will be prized in their future careers. And they’re easier than you think! 4-H has lots of great At-Home Challenges and activities to try!
  1. Envision the future! Take time this winter to set goals for the coming year. Creating a vision board can help you organize your aspirations and visualize your success – like taking your New Year’s resolutions a step farther.  This could be especially beneficial for older youth who are making important decisions about their lives and building their future.


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development. 

She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.   

When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program. 


Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.