21 Things To Do With Your Kids This Winter
21 Things To Do With Your Kids This Winter

21 Things To Do With Your Kids This Winter

When cabin fever strikes, here’s how you break it.

Winter break. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. After all the dust and pine needles settle, a long stretch of boredom sets in. Here are 21 great ideas, mostly from Right@Home® readers, for inexpensive winter fun, both indoors and out!

Ideas for getting out there

Sometimes you’ve just gotta get outdoors—even when it’s cold. Here are a couple of fun ideas to help everyone focus on something besides the weather.

  1. Dress up the snowdrift

    Build a snow castle with the kids, using rectangular Ziploc® brand containers to make your bricks. When the castle is complete, decorate the top of the walls with pointy icicles, making the fortress impenetrable.

  2. Squirty snow paintings

    Brenda G., from Sheridan, IN, tells us her daughters are older now, but they used to play inventively outside on snow days. “I would save squeeze bottles and fill them with water colored with food coloring. We would take them outside and draw pictures on the snow.”

  3. Hunt for treasure

    Hide a few Ziploc® brand containers in your yard (or a nearby park) and fill them with clues that lead kids to the next container, and so on. Fill the last one with treats like stickers, glows sticks, candy bars, and cool pictures of birds that winter in your neck of the woods.

  4. Volunteer

    Linda K., from Nyack, NY, says her family volunteers at a soup kitchen once a month and the kids serve meals. “It feels good to know you are helping someone who has no place to go and who really appreciates the hot meal on a cold day!”

Ideas for staying in

Probably the best thing about sub-zero temperatures is having somewhere to go that isn’t a sub-zero temperature.

  1. Camp out (in)

    Set up tents and sleeping bags in the living room, or just make forts, and sleep there overnight. Want s’mores but not into having a campfire in your living room? Make s’mores party mix! Combine mini graham crackers, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips in a bowl.

  2. Piece it together

    Right@Home® reader Kim T., from Topeka, KS, has her family of six (ages 6-14) do a 1,000-piece puzzle together.

  3. Get in on the game

    Charades, board games, you name it. Declare a no-screen day and actually spend some time together! Let the kids take turns picking a game for the whole family to play, or resurrect forgotten (or never-learned!) card or board games.

  4. Have an all-new weekend

    Make a game of trying something new every weekend, with no repeats! Eat new foods, learn something new as a family, or go places you’ve never been before.

  5. Relive old memories

    Chrissy V., from Greensboro, NC, plays family videos and she and her family “are all entertained for hours!” They especially love “the older videos of when the kids were really small. They can’t get enough of seeing themselves.”

  6. The great bake off

    Jennifer E., from Oradell, NJ, bakes with her three children (ages ten, seven and two) whenever it’s cold or nasty outside. She gives each of them a job so everyone can help in his or her own way. “Cookies, cakes or brownies…we always have so much fun!”

  7. Sort + donate

    Roseanne K., from Warminster, PA, gets her husband and kids to sort through their clothes and toys when the weather is bad. They then donate whatever they can to a local charity-run thrift shop.

  1. Bring back summer with an indoor BBQ

    Get a taste of summer by making summer favorites such as burgers, potato salad, lemonade, etc. (These gourmet red onion hamburgers fit the bill). Enjoy it all together on a blanket on the floor.

  2. Snuggle, read, repeat

    Daphne R., from Portland, OR, says “take advantage of the cozy factor and snuggle up reading good books in front of the fire.” Andrea and her five kids take turns reading chapters aloud from their favorite books. “Winter is a wonderful time for togetherness. I love it!” she says.

  3. Try your feet at sock volleyball

    Betsy M. and her boys from Westmoreland, OH clear off the family room floor and blow up a couple balloons for “sock volleyball.” They mark off the court and, wearing only their socks or bare feet, “play volleyball using our feet instead of our arms...it keeps us laughing hysterically.”

  4. Let’s dance

    Put on some great music and dance, dance, dance. You’ll have a blast introducing the kids to your favorite moves, and they can show you what they’re into. You could even take the opportunity to learn some partner dancing (waltz or tango, anyone?) together!

  5. Host a film festival

    Introduce your kids to Charlie Chaplin or other classic movie greats. Or take turns choosing a genre (comedy, scary movies or adventure). Extend the theme by cooking meals that fit the films. Eating spaghetti and meatballs as you watch Lady and the Tramp? It just makes sense.

  6. Pamper and primp

    Tamera finds that her two little girls, ages three and four, are easily bored when they’re stuck in the house. “We have a few things we do…but a fun one is Beauty Parlor Day! We style hair, paint nails, put on dress-up clothes, and dance.”

  7. Put on a play

    Have the kids and their pals work together to make up a story, create costumes and design a set with things you have on hand. When it’s showtime, sit back on the sofa and get ready to applaud and laugh. Make a video of it, of course!

  8. Concoct a concert

    Piano? Hand drum? Recorder? Guitar? Ukulele? Chances are you have enough instruments around the house to make some sort of ramshackle band. Or maybe you’re pro. Either way, write a song together. You’ll never forget it.

  9. Study the family tree

    Margaret Z., from Westland, MI, has “scrapbook weekends” in the winter for grown-ups and kids. She says they learn a lot about their family history, especially from older family members, and the kids can tell stories using their latest vacation pictures.

  10. Get crafty (and kind)

    Annie G., from Spencer, IA, taught her daughter how to crochet. “We now make afghans out of all the leftover yarn from other projects and donate them to the women’s shelter.”