50 Free Family Activities to do this Winter

No matter where you live, it's easy to get stuck in a rut during the winter months. Your family may be tired of doing the same things over every single winter. You can break out of the bore and start having fun all without spending a dime! 

Check out the following 50 ideas for free family fun this winter:

  • Build a snowman - Bundle the kids up, grab some fun accessories, and build a snowman together.
  • Go sledding - Even if you don't have sleds for the kids, everything from trash can lids to pizza pans make great makeshift sleds! You can also likely borrow one from a neighbor, friend, or family member.
  • Go ice skating - If you don't have your own equipment, you may need to rent skates for a nominal fee.

  • Go on a winter hike - Even when it's cold outside, we still have some beautiful, sunny days. Put on your snow boots and take the kids for a hike.
  • Decorate your Christmas tree - This fun and free family activity will get you in the spirit. You can even start early if that wintertime slump kicks in ahead of schedule.
  • Make snow angels - Don't live somewhere it snows? Head for the hills where you'll likely find some snow and make them there. Or, go to the beach and make sand angels.
  • Build a snow fort - Make sure it's big enough for you and the kids! Serve up some hot chocolate for the ultimate hygge adventure! 
  • Have a snowball fight - Who doesn't love hurling fluffy snowballs at each other? If you live in a warmer climate, you can still have fun. Get some large pom poms or some (clean) socks that are balled up and fire away! 
  • Make holiday cards - Using some paper and your imagination, you can design beautiful handmade cards for your family and friends. If you've already sent out this year's Christmas card batch make these to get a headstart on next year! 
  • Create a family calendar -  You'll love having your family memories on display, and there's nowhere better to do it than on a calendar you're actually going to use! 
  • Visit the public library - In addition to free activities for families, our local libraries also have a lending library of toys and games. Yours might, too!

  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights - A Christmas classic, make sure you make some hot chocolate and put it in a travel mug before you hit the road on this adventure! 
  • Watch a movie together at home - This never gets old at our house. My kids love snuggling on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and a movie.
  • Find free museums in your area - Some museums have certain days when they're free, and others are free all year long. Check out what's available in your area.
  • Play Hide-and-Seek - When was the last time you and your kids just played in your yard? Get some neighbors to join in for even more fun.
  • Play a board game - Have a closet full of board games collecting dust? Take the time to pull one out and play it. Who knows, maybe it will become a weekly occurrence.
  • Put together a jigsaw puzzle - I am a huge fan of putting together puzzles. Unfortunately, none of my kids have enjoyed it as much as I do. That said, I have great memories of putting together puzzles with my mom and my grandparents as a kid.
  • Volunteer to shovel snow for an elderly neighbor - I know that shoveling snow isn't fun for everyone, but volunteering as a family to help out a neighbor is a great way to spend time together.
  • Create a family scrapbook with items around the house - I bet if you take the time to look, you have everything you need to create a scrapbook, without going to the store. Grab stickers, paper, and pictures, and get the whole family smiling as you recount the memories.

  • Write a story together - One person starts it out, and everyone gets a turn to add the details. You might choose to write it one paragraph at a time, or even from different perspectives. Either way, you are sure to come up with a masterpiece.
  • Read a book aloud together - If you come from a family of readers, it might be easy to find yourself in separate corners of the house, immersed in entirely different realities. Take the time to explore an adventure together - right from your couch.
  • Build a fort with pillows and blankets - Pick a cooler (or rainy) day and gather all of the household pillows and blankets to create an epic fort. Trust me. Once you get it built, you won't want to leave it.
  • Campout in the living room - Now that you have that fantastic fort built, why not spend the night in the living room? Make some popcorn, read a book, and simply enjoy each other's company.
  • Free projects at a local craft store - Check out your local craft store flyers for free project days. Of course, this is only effective if you don't find yourself tempted to spend money while you are there.
  • Free projects at a local home improvement store - Likewise, the home improvement store in your area may offer free projects, especially for kids. Grab a local flyer or call the store directly for details.
  • Have a paper airplane contest - Grab some paper and challenge each family member to make the best paper airplane possible. 

  • Build with Legos - Legos is one of the few things my three kids can do for any length of time without getting into an argument. .Have a tub of legos in your basement? Why not pull them out and challenge your family to build the best castle ever? 
  • Play dress up - Nearly every family in America has a pile of costumes or "dress-up clothes" lying around. Hold a fashion show or work on your make-believe skills. 
  • Make holiday decorations and decorate your house - There's always a holiday to decorate for. Create a beautiful Christmas display or come up with a theme for your New Year's party. Whatever you do, have fun doing it together as a family. 
  • Play a video game - If your kids are anything like mine, they'll love this idea. Get out the Xbox or PlayStation and enjoy some friendly competition. 
  • Make hand puppets from household items - Whether it's out of old socks or brown lunch bags or something else, it's easy to make hand puppets from things you have around the house. Get creative.
  • Have a dance party - Crank those tunes up and dance up a storm. You never know who will have the best moves!
  • Go on a scavenger hunt - Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt, and you can do it at home, in the neighborhood, or even around your city. Bonus points if you involve another family!
  • Attend a parade -  While many parades do require you to pay for parking, most of them are free for anyone to watch! Don't feel like paying for parking? Walk to get there. This gives you a great opportunity for winter exercise and makes this totally free! 

  • Play Charades - If your family is anything like mine, you'll be laughing hysterically by the time the game is over. 
  • Play Pictionary - Similar to charades, Pictionary is an excellent choice for families with kids young and old. Use age-appropriate topics and have a great time learning more about one another's drawing abilities.
  • Turn your bathroom into a spa - Nail polish, facial cream, and some scented bath salts can turn any bathroom into a spa. Add some soothing music and take turns painting each other's nails and talking about the things that matter most to you.
  • Make a family tree with old photos - Have a large wall in your home that could use some decor? Just want to show the kids what their family history looks like? Dig through your old photos and have some fun reliving memories as you put together your family tree. 
  • Create an obstacle course for family members to compete - While your inclination might be to do this one outside, if you have a rec room or a large basement, this can be a fun activity for those freezing days as well.
  • Play a new card game - Perform an online search for the rules to a card game you've never played before. The whole family will start on equal footing, and you'll have a new recommendation for the next game night with friends.
  • Experiment with new hairdos - yours and theirs. You might even consider a new haircut if you haven't had one in a while. 
  • Make a birdfeeder - Using popsicle sticks, wood from around the garage, or any other recycled materials, you can make a cute and totally worth it bird feeder. Hang it somewhere you can watch the birds all winter long! 
  • Make snow paint - Mix water and food coloring in spray bottles. Take them outside and have fun making designs in the snow.

  • Cross country skiing -  If you don't have your own equipment, check with your local parks for rental availability. It won't be free, but parks that rent them usually offer cross country skiing equipment at a low cost.
  • Go snowshoeing - Similar to cross country skiing, if you don't have your own equipment, check for rentals at local parks.
  • Make snowflakes - You can make snowflakes out of construction paper, coffee filters, popsicle sticks, or anything else you have lying around the house.
  • Watch a local hockey game - Many local teams, especially youth teams, provide free admission at least once per season! Check with your local ice rink to see if this is an option.
  • Go caroling - This free activity will make you feel good and get your legs movin'! Invite plenty of friends and family along, and you can even mask the sound of your own bad singing voice with a chorus of others!  
  • Invite friends over to watch a football game - You can even get away with not preparing a massive amount of food! Make it a potluck and leave the cooking to your loved ones. 
  • Create a family skit and record it - Do this awesome free idea for a memory you can cherish for the rest of your life. Smartphones make it easy to add effects and edit the video for an at-home professional appearance! 

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