Does wintertime call to mind visions of cozy fires and warm snuggles, or kids bouncing off the walls? Either way, keeping your family active during those long months filled with short days can take a little extra creativity. Here are some fun ideas for things to do together this winter.
Spend some extra time exploring the gems in your area that you might overlook during the nicer months when you focus your play outdoors.
- Indoor Playgrounds: From cute indoor play towns to epic trampoline parks, a wide range of indoor play options cater to kids from toddler to teen. Make sure to check and see if your favorite ones offer a frequent play discount card or pay-ahead packages with reduced rates.
- Museums: Consider an annual membership to your family’s favorite local museum. It usually pays for itself within a couple of visits, and you’ll be able to pop in for just a few hours without feeling like you have to spend an entire day.
- Libraries: Visit your library often to stock up on new books, and take advantage of the great play spaces and children’s programming that many branches offer. Grab a calendar and add any fun upcoming events to your family’s schedule.
You may not be able to enjoy your favorite local parks and playgrounds like you do over the summer, but you can bundle up and enjoy the wintry side of your town.
- Ice Skating: Even areas with warmer climates often have outdoor ice skating rinks in the winter, so check and see what’s available in your area. If all else fails, you can find an indoor rink!
- Sledding: Ask around for the best sledding hill in your area, and make an event of going to check it out. Bundle up, pack some hot chocolate, and invite friends. Your kids’ interest will probably last a lot longer than it would playing in your own backyard.
- Zoos and Nature Centers: Visiting your local zoo or nature center in the winter is a great way to avoid the summer crowds and experience the animals in a different way. Plus, many offer fun indoor exhibits that are perfect for warming up.
Elevate Everyday Moments
Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not add a little extra fun to the things you’re doing around the house already?
- Cook Together: Your family needs to eat anyway, so use it as an opportunity! Cooking together with your kids teaches them life skills, and picky eaters might be more likely to taste something that they helped prepare. Try a new warming winter crockpot recipe together – it can simmer away while you’re out playing.
- Family Book Club: Making time for reading is always important, but a Family Book Club is a great way to inspire even the most reluctant readers. The whole family reads the same book independently, and then gathers for a fun family discussion and celebration after everyone has finished. If the age range in your family is too widely spread to agree on one book, try a family reading challenge where you document all of the books you read on a fun printable template.
- Movie Night: Turn a simple movie night into a favorite family event with a DIY hot chocolate bar, fresh popcorn with fun toppings, and plenty of pillows and blankets for everyone. Rotating the family member who gets to pick the movie each week will cut down on arguments and give something to look forward to. Bonus points if you watch the movie version of a book you read for Family Book Club!
If you need to kill a quick 10 minutes or get the kids out of a funk, keep some simple boredom busting activities in mind.
- Family Dance Party: Put on some of your family’s favorite jams and dance like nobody is watching! You can even spend some time building a fun family playlist featuring everyone’s best picks.
- Funny Jokes: Bookmark a big list of funny jokes for kids and take turns telling them to each other. There’s nothing like a good belly laugh together.
- Minute to Win It Games: Fun one-minute challenges like sliding a cookie down your face with no hands or stacking as many pennies as possible are great for concentration, coordination, and plenty of laughs. Try one for some low-key fun, or plan a big competition for the whole family, complete with scoring.
Have fun making memories and enjoying the cozy warmth of winter with your family. Summer will be here before you know it!
Kelly Rupiper is a mom of two and lives with her family in San Diego. She is Content Director at Upparent, a website where parents share recommendations with one another for local things to do with kids, family-friendly recipes, and parenting tips and hacks.