50 Fun Winter Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Child in winter clothes

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Winter can feel like a drag but it's also an opportunity for family bonding. And although there are plenty of fun things to do in the comfort of your home, you don't have to stay inside just because it's cold. There are many ways to enjoy winter outdoors (with the right clothing of course), along with places to visit as a family.

However your household decides to do winter, the most important thing is that you spend time together. "In the colder months, it's common for family members to disperse to different rooms with their devices," says Rachel Duvall, LICSW a Massachusetts-based therapist. "Taking time together can improve children and parents' well-being on many fronts, including their physical and mental health."

If your household tends to grow antsy in the winter, try getting outside and going on a scavenger hunt in the snow. If it's too cold, driving to a museum or the movies might be a good change of scenery. And of course, there's nothing wrong with a cozy day at home spent working on a jigsaw puzzle in your pajamas. Ahead, find 50 fun and creative ideas for spending time together this winter.

Kids at a children's museum

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Family Outings for Winter

Sometimes a change of scenery makes all the difference. Pile into the car and head somewhere fun!

Attend a Parade

Consult your local Facebook groups or online community boards to find out which parades may come through your area this winter. Whether it's a Santa-filled event or one for the Chinese New Year, you're guaranteed to have a blast—just be sure to bundle up!

Collect Socks (or Other Warm Items) for the Homeless

Winter is cold and wet, and for those in need, this kind gesture can make a big difference.

Go Ice Skating

Head to the rink and have fun, even if you do fall.

Take in a Production of "The Nutcracker"

Dress up and have a festive dinner before or after the show.

Go Out for Hot Cocoa

Head to a cafe and get warm with a cup of hot cocoa and extra whipped cream.

Hit Up the Movies

It's cozy inside, the kids are occupied, and there's popcorn. A no-brainer!

See the Light Displays in Your Town

Get in the car and drive through an area known for spectacular light displays.

Take a Ride on a Snow Train

This is a perfect way to start a winter vacation. Make sure to enjoy the observation car, where you can look out onto the pure white world outside.

Visit a Maple Syrup Farm

It's amazing to see how they tap the trees and bottle the syrup. Definitely take home some maple syrup or sugar treats.

Visit a Museum

Look for winter-themed exhibits at natural history museums or art museums.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Teach your kids the value of helping others.

Kids having hot cocoa

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Indoor Activities for Families

There are so many fun activities to do at home this season if you'd rather stay in.

Bake Cookies

For added winter fun, decorate them to look like snowflakes.

Color Together

Coloring books can be super-relaxing for kids as well as adults.

Cook Dinner as a Family

Give everyone a task. You can work on one recipe together, or assign different dishes to each family member for a potluck-style meal.

Create a Cushion Obstacle Course

This one is perfect for getting your kids' wiggles out when it's just too cold to go outside. All you need are some couch cushions and any throw pillows you have at home.

Decorate Pinecones

After collecting the pinecones, bring them inside and decorate them with glue, glitter, or anything else.

Do a Puzzle

Go for the maximum number of pieces you think your family can handle. For a fun family tradition, find a winter-themed puzzle that you can pull out every year during this season.

Have a Dance Party

Turn the volume up and let everyone get that extra energy out.

Attend an Indoor Picnic

Set it up on a blanket just like you're outside and enjoy lunch as a family.

Knit a Scarf

Teach your kids to knit, or learn a new skill together.

Build a Gingerbread House

For an easier building experience, save small milk cartons and use icing to attach graham crackers over them. Then decorate with small candies.

Construct a Pillow Fort

Let the kids remove the cushions from the sofa for this one...and take the opportunity to vacuum under there if you see that it needs it.

DIY Hot Cocoa

Don't forget the marshmallows on top!

Make Snowman Pancakes

Just drop three pancakes in a row close enough that they stick together, and sprinkle some powdered sugar over them. You can use blueberries or chocolate chips for the eyes.

Have a Board Game Night

Choose a special night each week to play as a family.


Pass the time laughing together as you try to act out different words or terms.

Play Dress Up

Once everyone is in costume, have a fun tea party in character.

Put on Matching Pajamas

Don't forget to take a family photo of everyone together in their nighttime get ups.

Read Winter-Themed Stories

Pile up the blankets and snuggle together as you read. If you have a fireplace, definitely gather around it for storytime.

Set Up a Treasure Hunt

Using post-its, write clues for where to find the next clue and post them around the house. The very last clue should lead to a fun treat or surprise.

Watch a Movie

Better yet, make it a movie marathon. Cuddle together on the sofa with some yummy snacks and enjoy a holiday classic.

Family going iceskating

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Outdoor Activities for Families

Whoever said that you have to stay inside during the winter is missing out on a whole lot of fun. As long as you are dressed for the weather, there are many ways to enjoy the outside world when it's chilly out.

Go Ice Fishing

If you want, fry up the fish for dinner afterwards and enjoy it together.

Build a Bird Feeder

Hang it up outside and observe the winter birds.

Make Ice

If the temperature where you live reaches freezing, put out a bowl of water and check how long it takes to freeze. For more experimental fun, bring it back inside and see how long it takes to melt again.

Paint Rocks

Add winter-themed decorations like snowflakes or pine trees and then arrange the rocks in your yard or by your front door.

Or Paint the Snow

Put a few drops of food coloring into different spray bottles and have fun coloring the snow.

Play Laser Tag

Playing outside in the cold just makes it even more fun.


Draw what you see in the sky. To investigate the stars further, keep journals and draw what you see each night. Talk about how it changes.

Take a Nature Walk

Dress for the weather and go explore the outside world together.

Visit a National Park

Seeing these natural sanctuaries in the midst of winter brings a unique perspective. Plus, there may be fewer crowds.

Mom and toddler building a snowman

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Snow Activities for Families

If it snows where you live, try out some of these activities!

Make a Snow Fort

Start by making bricks of snow and then stacking them to create the fort.

Build a Snowman

All you need is three giant snowballs and a few sticks and acorns to start assembling your snowy friends.

Go Skiing

Get the family together to ski down the slopes. Most ski resorts have rentals available if you don't have your own.

Try Sledding

Nothing is more fun than a wild slide down a slope in a sled.

Or Opt For Snowboarding

If you want to try something different than skiing, give snowboarding a try.

There's Also Snowshoeing

Put on your snow shoes and your snow clothes and take a hike together.

Try Tubing in the Snow

Slide along in inner-tubes and have the time of your life. Little kids can ride together or with parents.

Have a Snowball Fight

This is a great way to get out extra energy and just have some fun together.

Create Snow Angels

Draw details like faces or other decorations with gloved fingers once you've made the angel.

Make Snowball Lanterns

Take your inspiration from the Swedes and create a ring of snowballs. Then build up from there by placing more snowballs on top until you have just enough room to slip a candle down to the bottom.

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  1. The Artful Parent. How to Make Swedish Snowball Lanterns.

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.