Six Fun Ways To Keep Kids Warm When The Furnace Fails

When your furnace goes on the blink in the midst of a raging blizzard, you may be forced to wait hours - or even days - before the servicemen can get to your home to make repairs. As an adult, you've already learned ways to cope with the cold. Chances are your children haven't developed those skills yet, as they have become accustomed to being warm and toasty inside. Try these kid-friendly ideas for keeping kids warm and happy in a chilly home.

Animal Dressup

Everyone knows kids love playing games. This a great opportunity to involve the whole family is an afternoon of gameplay. Dig out all those footed pj's and dress up as real or imaginary animals. Make simple ears and tails from scraps of fabric and pin them to the pj's. You can even use construction paper for making spots or stripes. Challenge your kids to come up with ideas of their own for transforming themselves into the animal of their choice. If you don't have footed pajamas, use sweat suits and fluffy socks instead.

  • Have an animal parade and encourage children to march through the house. The movement keeps kids warm and keeps them occupied until the repairman arrives.
  • Play circus and let each child have a turn as the ringmaster. 
  • Act out favorite fairytales, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears or The Three Little Pigs.
  • Make a cave for dragons, bears and imaginary beasts with a big box. Line it with a fleece blanket or two to make a warm den.


Setting up a pretend campsite is a great way to involve kids in imaginary play to take their minds off the chill in the air.

  • Set a space heater in the center of the living room and gather around for stories around the campfire. 
  • Drape blankets over the furniture to make a tent and let little ones get cozy inside. Include favorite fleece blankets or sleeping bags and comfy pillows to encourage them to cuddle up.
  • Cook up their favorite camp food on the stove and serve it around the campfire.
  • Make S'Mores in the microwave and serve with hot chocolate.

Movie Theater

Transform your living room into a movie theater and watch old favorites for the afternoon. This is also a good time to let your little ones rent that movie they have been waiting to see.

  • Provide kids with fluffy blankets and pillows and tuck them in on the couch.
  • Serve freshly-popped popcorn and their favorite drinks.

Reading in Bed

There is something comforting about crawling in bed and reading a good book, and it's not reserved for grownups.

  • Pile on the blankets and invite the kids into Mom and Dad's big bed.
  • Read favorite picture books or start a chapter book while everyone snuggles under the blankets.
  • Let older children take turns reading aloud.

Moving to the Music

Lively music lightens the mood, while physical activity warms the body. 

  • Choose kid-friendly music and challenge your little ones to move to the rhythm of the music.
  • Play marching band music and teach your kids to march.
  • Put on nursery rhymes and challenge your kids to act out the verses.

Tucking Them In

Keeping your youngsters warm and cozy throughout the night can be a lot of fun, too.

  • Add an extra blanket or two to everyone's bed.
  • Let kids sleep in their sleeping bags.
  • Give them a hot water bottle to keep toes warm.
  • Let children sleep together in one bed to take advantage of body heat.

While these activities are not intended as a long-term solution to a cold home, they are effective for those times when your regular furnace is on the blink and you need to wait for a serviceman from a place like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy. Always use caution with space heaters and observe the manufacturer's safety precautions.