50 Fun Winter Activities for Teens

Get ideas for things to do in the winter, indoors and out

Finding fun things to do in the winter can be a challenge, especially for older kids and teenagers. The winter months can be long, dark, and boring. The cold weather and short days can lead to unhealthy habits, like overeating, spending too much time on the internet, or sleeping too much.

So while you don't need to entertain your children all winter, it can be helpful to create a list of "fun things to do in winter." Then, when your child complains of being bored or you catch them spending too much time on their electronics, recommend they pick something to do from their list.

Doing some of these winter activities together might be fun for the whole family. And, you might find doing them together becomes an easy way to give your teen plenty of positive attention during the winter months. Here are 50 enjoyable activities for teens to do when it's cold outside.

winter activities for your teen
Verywell / Emily Roberts

Fun Winter Activities to Do Outside

Fresh air, sunlight, and physical activity are important for your child's physical and mental health. So encourage them to go outside and get moving.

The average teen spends between 7 to 9 hours each day using electronics. That means many teens likely aren't getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise.

While your teen might be concerned about looking good when they go outside, make sure they dress appropriately for the weather. Frostbite and hypothermia pose serious risks to children in the winter.

Additionally, if your teen is going to engage in winter sports, like snowboarding, skiing, or hockey, insist on helmets and other safety gear. 

Here are some fun winter activities your teen can do if you live in a cold climate:

  • Build a snowman or snow fort
  • Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt
  • Go winter camping as a family and learn survival skills
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Hold a bonfire and let your teen invite friends over
  • Host a snow sculpture competition
  • Ice fishing
  • Ice skating
  • Pond hockey
  • Shovel snow for someone in need
  • Skiing, downhill or cross-country
  • Sledding
  • Snow tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Stargazing
  • Take a winter hike
  • Walk around the block

Activities to Do Inside

When it's below zero, pitch dark, or blizzard-like conditions, your teen will need some indoor activity ideas. And while there's nothing wrong with surfing the internet, watching TV, or playing video games for a reasonable amount of time, make sure you set clear limits on your teen's screen time.

Use the winter months as a way to encourage your teen to discover hidden talents and new interests. A little creativity and imagination can go a long way toward keeping their mind and body active.

Here are some fun indoor activities for teens:

  • Attend yoga classes
  • Clean out clothes and household goods that are no longer wanted and donate them to charity or sell them online
  • Cook a meal with each family member in charge of a different course
  • Go roller skating
  • Go to an indoor water park
  • Join a book club (or start one)
  • Join a gym
  • Learn a new craft
  • Learn card tricks (or magic tricks)
  • Plan a family vacation
  • Read one book every week
  • Swim at an indoor pool
  • Take an art class
  • Take turns picking online workout videos to do together as a family 
  • Visit a museum
  • Watch a play

Things to Do When Bored in the Winter

One of the best ways to help kids deal with winter boredom is to encourage them to be active with their friends. Seeing friends outside of school can also help build social skills. So let your child invite a friend over or plan a gathering with a group.

It can be a great time to practice specific social skills, like making a phone call (as opposed to just texting). Teach life lessons about friendship too, like the importance of reciprocating social invitations and being a good host.

Here are some ways your teen can maintain healthy friendships during the winter:

  • Do a movie marathon
  • Hold a board game, card game, or video game tournament
  • Host a slumber party
  • Let your teen plan and put on a Valentine's Day party
  • Participate in a fundraiser with friends

Activities That Teach Life Skills

Winter can be a good time for your teen to learn life skills. Challenge your teen to try activities that will prepare them for life after high school.

Here are some fun winter activities that can be great learning experiences for kids:

  • Babysit
  • Build a website
  • Plan a digital detox
  • Practice budgeting skills
  • Job shadow a professional
  • Start a family challenge, like a weight loss challenge
  • Start filling out scholarship applications
  • Start a small business
  • Take an online class
  • Visit a college
  • Volunteer at your community food pantry, soup kitchen, or church
  • Volunteer to read to younger children at the library

Stay Active Together

If you struggle to find activities that keep your family active, don't give up. Keep trying new things. In fact, you might even take turns picking activities each week for the family to try. Eventually, you'll discover activities you all enjoy—and likely have fun in the process. Aim to try things with an open mind, particularly the suggestions your teens have for doing stuff together like watching tik tok videos or making slime.

When everyone keeps moving and engages together, you'll stay physically and emotionally healthier throughout the winter. And you'll teach your teen healthy habits that may stick with her throughout life.

1 Source
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Screen Time vs. Lean Time.

Additional Reading

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.