Here in Wisconsin it is still the dead of winter. Without an accessible list of fun, affordable winter activities in front of me, I tend to forget how to enjoy winter.
Nothing is truer than the saying, “As the days lengthen so the cold strengthens.” In spite of the frigid cold I am grateful for the warming sun that makes an appearance most days. And I just gotta say I love that it stays daylight through the supper hour now!
So just in case you live in a similar climate and are getting stir-crazy, I thought I would share some great activities for kids or the whole family for passing the winter days.
As a disclaimer, I live in the country so I have a free pass to nature for several of these activities. Admission to a skating rink or public park is usually affordable and well worth your money if you don’t have the luxury of a free nature pass!
If you don’t have your own sledding hill, there is usually one nearby. Check out public land: school forests, national forests, parks, etc. Chances are you are not far from a slope of some sort. If you don’t feel like packing up the kids in the car, just provide them with sleds. They can entertain themselves quite easily on a flat surface of snow.
I have fond memories of us kids pulling and being pulled all around our driveway. One of our favorite things to play was the guessing game. One person lays in the sled with his eyes closed and the other pulls them around, spinning and turning – doing whatever it takes to disorient them. Finally the puller comes to a stop at a location and the one with his eyes closed has to guess where he is.
2. Ice Skating
Ice skating is a bit trickier than sledding. Skates are pricier to buy or have to be rented and a smooth rink is hard to come by. If you are not fortunate to live by a body of water that can be shoveled, look into a local sports center for open skating hours. If you are feeling really ambitious you can even bank and flood your own backyard rink!
3. Roller Skating
If you aren’t up for frigid temperatures of ice skating, try roller skating! Usually day-time admission is cheaper than evenings. Most kids are in school though, so find out if your rink has a family night that might offer better admission rates.
4. Go to the Library
This may sound boring to your kids, but give it a chance. Even if you don’t have bookworms for kids there is usually a craft hour, story hour or play time. Check out your local library’s schedule. A card is needed to check out materials, but usually not required to participate in their activities. I know our library even hosts special guests and musicians sometimes!
5. Visit a Nursing Home or Hospital
Old folks love youngsters! And youngsters love youngsters! Call ahead for visiting hours at your local nursing home or hospital and plan a visit. The great thing is that nursing home residents usually enjoy the same things as kids. Have your children practice and perform a few songs for them.
Bring simple craft supplies to make paper dolls or paper snowflakes. Grab a few simple card or board games to share. Dominos, too! How about play dough? If you don’t want to buy any, look into a simple make at home recipe!
Chances are many of the residents can no longer read. Have your children bring a favorite book to read to them.
As a consideration to the residents and patients, please make sure you are all healthy before you go forward with this winter activity.
I don’t own a pair of snowshoes. I’m not sure if you can rent them. What I do know is that my local visitor center loans snowshoes out for the day! Who knew?! Call around to your local organizations and see if there is a way to get a pair of snowshoes for the day. The great thing is that most snow shoe trails are pet friendly.
7. Craft Day
Pinterest is full of crafts for all ages of children. Or check out a craft book from the library. During my childhood we wore out the Make and Do: Childcraft Volume 11 . You would be surprised at how many fun crafts your kids can make with items from your pantry, bathroom or garage. No trip to town needed for supplies!
8. Go to the Museum
Find a kid friendly museum, learning center, or nature center and go! If you really enjoy what you see consider purchasing a season pass. Or perhaps you already gifted a season pass to your kids.
9. Build Forts
Building forts was one of our favorite winter activities. It’s amazing what common items around your house can be turned into building supplies! We would tip chairs on their sides and drape blankets over top. (Clothes pins are a great way to keep your blankets and sheets in place.) You can pull the couch cushions off and use them to create walls. You can even throw a sheet over your dining room table and have an instant fort!
10. Have an Indoor Picnic
After your fort is built, consider making a picnic lunch or supper to enjoy in it!
So don’t let these long winter days get the best of you. Use this list of affordable winter kids activities to keep the whole family occupied!