42 Things Every Family Should Do Together This Winter

42 Things Every Family Should Do Together This Winter

Winter on the horizon doesn’t mean family fun needs to stop. In fact, the cold weather can be ideal for certain family activities that’ll keep everyone from suffering any seasonal boredom. From going on a winter scavenger hunt to hosting an awesome hot cocoa bar, here are 40 winter family activities to help you bond with your crew.

photo: iStock

1. Bake together. Break out the cookbooks and whip up a batch of cookies, brownies or cupcakes. Make a few extra batches, and bring them to your neighbors.

2. Take a hike. Whether you live in a cold or warm winter climate, get the family outside to explore the outdoors.

3. Go to the library and find a good book to read. Need some reading inspiration? Here are the books every kid should read before turning 12, and the best new books of 2021.

4. Volunteer as a family. Teach your kiddos some compassion by volunteering as a family. There are lots of community activities that welcome help, and not just around the holiday season.

5. Make paper snowflakes and decorate your house. Give your house some winter cheer with homemade decorations. Paper snowflakes are easy, unique and make the house look like a winter wonderland.

photo: iStock

6. Game on! Break out the board games and cards and have a fun family night of board games. If you're looking for something beyond Candy Land and Sorry, check out these new board games that the kiddos will love.

7. Have a movie night. Light a fire, grab blankets, pop the popcorn, and find a few movies the entire family will love. Go with a classic must-see movie.

8. Make New Year's resolutions. Gather everyone together and talk about goals for 2020. Then display those goals in a cool way around the house. Here are a few ideas if your family needs help with writing its resolutions.

9. Go to a play or concert. Assuming there are venues opening near you and you feel safe doing so, try experiencing a musical, play, or local concert that you haven't seen before. 

10. Go ice staking. What could be more wintery than ice skating? Even if your city is not known for winter weather, many communities have ice skate arenas or pop-up rinks.

11. Write a holiday/year-end card or letter. Why should holiday cards be something only the parents do? Have the kiddos write their own year-end cards and mail them to friends and family.

12. Get crafty. Channel your family's artistic side with these fun winter-inspired crafts for kids, parents, grandparents and cousins.

13. Clean the closets and donate. With the coming of new toys and gifts, make it a family project to go through bins of old clothes and toys and donate a few bags to local shelters and non-profits. This is a great way to teach the kiddos about the power of giving.

14. Go bowling. We know bowling alleys might not be open near you yet, but if they are, bowling is a great indoor winter activity with the kids. Book your own lane and have fun!

15. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Pick up pinecones, sticks and take photos of what you find on the trails.

16. Play in the snow. There's nothing that says winter more than making snow angels and having a snowball fight together. If snow doesn't fall in your city, take a road trip to the closest winter escape.

17. Go to a museum. From children's museums to museums of natural history, there's bound to be something your family will love to visit. Be sure to check your local museum's hours and if there are specific restrictions in place (for example, many museums are open again but require timed reservations to keep crowds down). 

18. Have a music and dance night. Find a playlist, crank up the music and get dancing as a family!

photo: Leah Singer

19. Take an art class together as a family. Head to your local art studio or center and paint a canvas or craft pottery together. You'll finish the activity bonded and with several new art pieces to display.

20. Have a fire and make s'mores. Whether you have a fire pit in your backyard or a fireplace in your living room, throw on a few logs and make s'mores.

21. Have a video game night. If an arcade isn't in your near future, surprise your kids by telling them you're going to play video games with them! Get a brand new game or better yet, check your local library. Most public libraries have a variety of games available for systems including the Xbox and the Nintendo Switch, a great way to try a game without having to buy it. 

22. Try a new restaurant. Splurge on dinner out as a family or if you prefer, to-go, from a restaurant no one has tried before. 

23. Draw a winter scene mural for your hallway. Make it a family project, and get everyone to contribute to the drawing.

24. “Do you wanna build a snowman?” Get outside the next time it snows and build winter’s favorite snow person. If you live closer to a beach, go for a Sandman! 

25. Brighten up a cold winter’s night by making glow-in-the-dark recipes. How about blacklight lemonade or glow-in-the-dark cupcakes?

26. Donate your family’s old winter coats, glove and hats. Shelters and food pantries are always looking for clothes for guests during winter.

27. Host a fancy appetizer party. You don’t need the holidays as an excuse to have a party with these awesome recipes. And if having a soiree with people outside your household isn't something you feel safe doing, surprise the kids and serve a variety of appetizers for dinner. You can even dress up and make polite conversation. 

28. Treat the family to a hot cocoa bar. Whip up one of these creative drinks, and adorn the bar with whipped cream, marshmallows, sprinkles, cherries and everything else to make for a fun night of indoor sipping.

29. Gather pinecones and make a craft. Try hanging them from your door or make a bird feeder.

30. Go to the movies. A movie night at home is always fun. But why not change things up and go to the theater and see Frozen II or another family-friendly flick.

31. Make breakfast for dinner. Shake things up and turn the most important meal into nighttime fun. Here are 30 super easy and tasty recipes your family will love.

32. Build an indoor fort. Need ideas? We’ve got 17 awesome fort ideas your kids will want to make their permanent home.

33. Practice yoga together. Get your family's zen on with a kid-friendly yoga video and practice as a family.

34. Go on a walk close to home. Explore the woods or a nature center close to your neighborhood.

35. Teach your kids about the power of giving. Whether your little one is 2 or 10, here are some ideas to instill the power of philanthropy at a young age.

36. Have a family dinner without technology. Need ideas for conversations? Try one of these games.

37. Play some low-fi winter-themed indoor games. From sock puppets to hot snowball and a penguin relay, these indoor games will keep your kiddos entertained when it’s too cold to go outside.

38. Take a road trip. You don’t have to go far or spend a ton of money. Try adventuring to the other side of your city. Here are a few car games to keep the littles entertained.

39. Make a sno-cone. The next time it snows, gather some (fresh, clean) snow, and pour some flavored syrup over it for an at-home snow cone! 

40. Take a photo a day during the months of January and February. Then use your phone’s movie feature to create a film with music.

41. Have a candlelight breakfast. It's sometimes dark when we roust the kiddos for school, so instead of flipping on all the lights, light candles and have breakfast by the soft light. If this is unrealistic for a busy weekday morning, surprise the kids with a candlelit breakfast and a pile of pancakes on a weekend day or over the holiday break. 

42. Host a read-aloud. Have the kids pick the book and then have each family member read a page out loud. If they can't read yet, that's okay! You can always ask them what they think is happening in the story based on the picture and go from there. 

—Leah R. Singer

Feature photo: iStock


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