What to do when it’s winter and your kids are bored?
It can be easy as a family to just hibernate and spend all day on digital devices, but there’s so much everyone can do that’s fun and is FREE.
Here are 32 FREE “No Spend” Family Winter Activities and a FREE list you can print!
There are tons of FREE ideas and more information about each idea below.
Here are the details!
32 No Spend Family Winter Activities
1.Build a Snowman
Do you want to build a snowman? Be like Anna from Disney’s Frozen and get outside and build Olaf or Frosty!
2. Ice Painting
Have you heard of this? It’s fun especially for little ones.
Here’s what you do:
-Fill up an ice cube tray with water
-Drop food coloring into each cube
-Stick a popsicle stick in each cube (you may need to break it in half and use half in each cube)
-Freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight
-Set out some paper on top of newspaper or plastic (to protect what’s under the paper – it’s going to get wet!)
-Pull each cube out with each popsicle stick and use each as a paintbrush!
3. Visit the Library
I can’t get enough of the library! It’s not just great for books, audiobooks, DVDs, magazines, and newspapers. It’s great for classes, story times, and even play places for kids.
Be sure to pick up books and resources to help you do the next few activities:
4. Go on an Animal Track Hunt
When you’re at the library, pick up some books about animals to help you find and learn about animal footprints. Check out your local parks and recreation board for events as well. In Minnesota, Three Rivers Park District has events year-round.
5. Go Stargazing
Look for a star map in a book or online and start identifying stars and planets! If you live in a big city you may see the sky better from the suburbs or further out.
6. Try a New Recipe
I like to just look through my cookbooks with my kids and pick out recipes to try. Or borrow cookbooks from the library or look online to find something fun to make.
Check out my recipes too!
7. Make Paper Airplanes
There are many paper airplane instructions online, but here are instructions for a basic one:
- Fold a piece of paper in half vertically.
- Open the paper, position vertically and fold each of the top corners into the center.
- Fold the two edges on either side into the center.
- Fold the plane in half, inward.
- Fold the wings down, matching the top edges up with the bottom edge.
- To keep the paper in place, add double stick tape to the inside of the folds.
8. Have an Indoor Picnic
This can be as simple or elaborate as you want! Set out a blanket on the floor (one you don’t mind having to wash afterward if something spills), and serve sandwiches, fruit, veggies, desserts – the list is endless.
9. Have a Winter Scavenger Hunt
Use this printable winter scavenger hunt!
10. Make a Snowman from Playdough
You can make anything from playdough! Here’s a homemade playdough recipe, too.
11. Learn a New Skill
How about learning to play an instrument, speak another language, or cook? Or something that helps you financially like how to do home repairs and basic investing?
12. Have a Movie Night
Borrow some DVDs from the library, or sign up for a streaming service online – many offer a week FREE!
13. Read a Book
Ok, I probably don’t need to mention the library again, but there are so many great books out there, and ways to read them free. Prefer ebooks and audiobooks? Check out the Libby library reading app.
14. Do a Random Act of Kindness
In the winter, shoveling someone’s walkway or bringing them homemade baked goods or hot chocolate can really brighten someone’s day.
15. Play a Board Game
16. Take a Winter Walk
Walk around your neighborhood or find a nature center or park trail near you. Check when national parks and state parks near you have FREE admission dates, too.
17. Drink Hot Chocolate
Or make your own hot chocolate bombs with this recipe.
18. Read a Winter Story
Pick out some winter books at the library or your child’s school library like “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats.
19. Have a Winter Picnic
A picnic in winter? Yes! On a not-so-cold day, bundle up and maybe sit around a bonfire outside. Prepare stews, burritos, baked potatoes and other warm foods, plus snacks and drinks. It’s a great time to serve hot apple cider or hot chocolate.
20. Do Finger Painting
Be sure to wear or have the kids wear an apron or old shirt you don’t mind getting messy!
Finger paint is easy to make, too. Just mix 3 cups of boiling water, 1/2 cup of cornstarch and some food coloring. (Mix a little cold water into it as you blend the boiling water and cornstarch.)
21. Make Snow Angels
Remember doing this as a kid?
22. Bake Cookies
A favorite of mine during the winter months is Copycat Girl Scout Cookies!
23. Watch the Sunset
Winter sunsets happen a lot earlier than in the summer and can be even more beautiful.
24. Make a Bucket List
What are all the things your family wants to do this winter? Brainstorm some ideas, research lists in your area and create a fun bucket list.
25. Have a Snowball Fight
Just be sure to cover up with snowpants and other warm gear!
26. Make Some Winter Crafts
Paper snowflakes, snowman paper plate faces, and ornaments are just a few that are perfect to make in the winter.
27. Start a Gratitude Journal
Writing down 5 things that you’re grateful for every morning can be such a positive way to start the day. Start a tradition with your family, maybe around the dinner table.
28. Plan a Movie Marathon
Think of a theme and plan a movie day or night with back-to-back movies, plus food and crafts to go with the theme. For example, how about a winter theme, with Disney’s Frozen 1 & 2, homemade white chocolate hot cocoa bombs and these free coloring/activity pages?
29. Make a Snowflake Sensory Bag
Have you ever heard of this? You can make one with a ziplock bag, hair gel (usually 16 ounces), snowflake buttons (like these), and blue food coloring. Your child will enjoy squishing all the snowflake shapes in the bag!
30. Make and Send Christmas Cards
Here’s a homemade Christmas tree pop-up card you can make.
Or make a Valentine Bunny pop-up card!
31. Decorate a Gingerbread House
You can find recipes online for homemade gingerbread houses, and they can be fun to decorate with frosting, candy canes and other candies.
32. Play Charades
You don’t need much to play a fun game – a notepad to keep track of scores, some phrases to act out (which you can compile yourself), and a stopwatch to keep time (or just use the clock/timer app on your phone).
Of course there are many more things you can do in winter – sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing, to name a few.
Or check out my list “100 Things for Kids to Do at Home When Bored (Written by My 12-Year-Old!)“
What else would you add to this list?
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no cost to you. All opinions are 100% mine.)