It’s cold outside (at least, in most parts of the country) and when it gets cold, many kids get wild because they are stuck in the house too often. While it’s true that some parts of the country have experienced uncharacteristically warm temperatures, the cold weather seems to be settling in now. As tempting as it can be to hand over the tablets and let your kids play all day long, it’s a good idea to incorporate fun activities into your routine as well. Whether your kids are young and home most of the time, or they are in school, they will appreciate some changes in their routine. You don’t even have to leave the house each time; there are fun things you can do inside and out. Here are a few ideas for fun winter activities that you can do with your kids without spending a lot (or sometimes, any!) money.
1. Make a bird feeder or other craft
Since so many of us spend more time inside in the winter, it’s a great time to find a way to enjoy the outdoors without getting cold. Building a bird feeder is an easy way to spend time with your kids, allow them to make a controlled mess, and then enjoy watching the birds come to the feeder once it’s hung. All you will need is peanut butter, a paper towel roll, bird seed, and string, so this is a quick and affordable way to have some fun. You can view all the steps here.
If you would prefer to try a different winter craft, DLTK has many great winter craft ideas.
2. Volunteer together
If you need to get out of the house, but you don’t want to be outside, consider volunteering together as a family. Volunteering will help teach your kids compassion, and can even help them learn valuable skills depending on where you choose to volunteer. Some family-friendly volunteer ideas include volunteering at a nursing home, an animal shelter, a food pantry or soup kitchen, a children’s hospital, or a library. If you know that your kids have a passion for a specific activity or want to help a certain age group, try to accommodate their wishes so the experience will be more meaningful for them.
3. Support a local team
Attending sporting events can be a great way to bond as a family. It’s exciting to watch teams play and to cheer for a favorite team, and this can be even more fun if your kids have friends who are playing. Attend a local middle school basketball game, or go to a hockey game. College basketball games often include fun half-time activities and other silly or fun competitions during the breaks, and unless you happen to live in a city with a very popular team, the tickets are usually affordable.
4. Get outside
You can’t stay in forever, and even if your kids are school-age they will still want to go do things sometimes on the weekends. You can send them to your backyard to build snowmen or make snow angels, but make the effort for family time together as well. Take snow building to a new level, and build a massive snow fort. If you have time, build two together and then have a big (but friendly) snow ball fight. To build the best snow fort, make sure that you measure the amount of space you want to use, make snow bricks, build the rest, and remember to finish with a layer of ice.
Winter is also a great time to get bundled up and visit the local zoo, or take a walk on a bike path. Because it’s winter, these destinations are far less busy, and can be a great way to catch up as a family and get some exercise if you dress warm enough.
5. Build something
Winter is a great time to fix things around the house, since in most parts of the country you don’t have to spend your time manning the garden or mowing the lawn. Many kids love to use a hammer and nails, so if you can create something together, go for it. Kids can help with projects like building shelves, or you can even make something that they want but you don’t need to buy (for example, you could create a display case for their trophies instead of buying one.)
Obviously, not all kids are old enough to use a hammer and nails. You can build with Legos or Duplos if you have younger kids. Also, consider registering for a controlled building experience, like a building clinic (like Build and Grow at Lowes, or Kids Workshop at the Home Depot).
Winter is a great time of year to spend time together as a family. You don’t have to go on a vacation to a warm destination, or sign your kids up for loads of expensive classes just to have fun.