Stir-Crazy Siblings: Winter fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have just had a glorious two-week break filled not only with holiday fun but with new toys and siblings and parents to play with (dad was on vacation too!). I am reasonably confident that my toddler will have more trouble than anyone else with the back-to-school and back-to-work routine that starts today. I mean, he went from a house full of people ready and willing to play to just me, and we have some chores to catch up on!

So here is a revised list of our Stir-Crazy Siblings free or low-cost fun activities modified for winter.

Winter Fun for Toddlers & Preschoolers

If you don’t fear the cold, the sled hills are open and will be empty today as the big kids head back to school.  If you prefer to stay warm, some ideas:

Indoor Playgrounds 

It may be too cold to go outside, but both Hawthorn and Gurnee Mills have FREE indoor playgrounds perfect for toddlers. Bonus if you have gifts to return, you can get an errand done too! The other benefit to heading to the mall is that if you have early risers (or big kids to drop at school) no need to wait until after 10 a.m., the playspace is open before the stores are!

Winter Water Play

The Wheeling Park District’s Arctic Splash offers Parent/Tot Drop-in Swim times. This special time is only open to children 3 and under and their caregivers.

Open Gym

Several park districts offer low-cost open gyms for toddlers. Our favorite is the Grayslake Park District Tot open gym.  It’s just long enough to burn off some energy and still get back to school for pick up.


With the kids back in school, the museums will be less crowded! Check out a new one on a free day for an adventure just for you and the little one.

The Round Lake Area Park District has two great museums on their campus perfect for little ones!  The Children’s Neighborhood Museum is a tot-sized replica of a real neighborhood and has been a Little Lake County favorite for many years.  The Prairie Grass Nature Museum is always FREE and its small classroom size is perfect for young children.  Small live animals and always changing activities are a perfect way to keep littles entertained.

The Dunn Museum in Libertyville is a local gem offering hands-on activities and exhibits that give kids a look at the history of Lake County and more. The museum is FREE for kids on Tuesdays (half price for adults).

And More!

Head over to Mom & Tot Bowl at Pinstripes in South Barrington or Northbrook Melissa has enjoyed it for years, while I adore the food!

Finally, when worst comes to worst pull out the Play-Doh and enjoy the silence (worry about the mess for later!) or check out Pinterest boards for Indoor fun and easy crafts for little hands.

Is there anything I missed?  Probably, I’m exhausted. Help a mom out and share your suggestions below.  Sharing is caring.

Disclosure: Some links in this story are affiliate links. Little Lake County will earn a portion of sales made through these links and use it to cover the cost of running the site. Thank you for clicking!

Stir-Crazy Siblings: Winter fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.