As we’re in the midst of Winter, and if you’re in the Northeast then you’re probably ready for winter to be over, I wanted to start a new seasonal series. Every two or three months, we’ll start presenting a list of free or almost free frugal family activities that you can do. Sometimes the list will be outdoor ideas, sometimes they’ll be indoor ideas. But for the most part, it will involve stuff that’s nearby or that you may already have on hand. The point to this series is: you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun as a family. And since we’re striving to be more frugal, we’re happy to share whatever we come up with in terms of frugal family activities.
Frugal Family Activities for Winter: Outdoors
Ice skating may seem intimidating to those who have never tried it, but it is fun to learn, and easy once you get the hang of it. If you live in the right climate, ice skating rinks can be found outdoors for free, as well as at local sports arenas for a small fee. Even in warm climates, some cities have indoor skating areas with skate rentals.
Check your local city page or newspaper to see where you can ice skate for free. Remember that some places may charge for skate rental but even this is usually a minimal cost.
Even when the weather is chilly, it’s a shame to stay indoors and miss out on the fun. Put on your winter jacket, hat, mittens and boots and you will be ready for a fun day of sledding. Grab a sled, find the nearest snowy hill and you are ready to go. It is a cheap activity that is sure to burn off a lot of energy and produce a lot of laughs.
Check with other parents in your area to see where else you can go. Popular options include local parks, but the local golf course might also be a great option.
Build a Snowman and Make Snow Angels
Though that one famous song from Frozen may now be drifting through your mind, building a snowman can be a fun activity to do as a family. Decorate your snowman (or snowpeople) with objects that you find outside or with old clothes that you may have in the house. If building snowmen aren’t quite your thing, you can always flop down in the snow and make some snow angels.
And if you need some inspiration, you can also google “snow sculptures” to see what others are making. Granted you may not get it the first or even the fifth time, but it could be worth to see what you can come up with on your own.
Build a Snow Fort
If you’ve already built a snowman and you need a bigger challenge and a way to use up the rest of the snow in your yard, build a snow fort. It doesn’t need to be fancy… simply pack the snow into makeshift walls and you’ve got one. Any size can be made, depending on how much snow you have, and how much time.
Our backyard is relatively small but we do have a small play structure out there as well. One of the things that we’re hoping to do this winter is build a snow fort around it. But you don’t always need something to build a snow fort around. Just make a few walls and then bunker down for an epic snowball fight.
Make Bird Feeders
You might hear them in the morning or see them around. Not all birds migrate during the winter so some of them just might be looking for food. Help your feathery friends through the winter months by providing them with some food stations.
Make Snow Ice Cream
When there’s fresh snow on the ground, or if you know it’s going to snow soon and want to set out some bowls, you can make fresh snow ice cream. The most important thing is to make sure that you’re using FRESH and CLEAN snow. Nobody wants to eat dirty ice cream, right?
Frugal Family Activities for Winter: Indoors
Watch a Movie
Is there anything more comforting on a cold winter afternoon or evening than curling up in front of a movie? Take this opportunity to enjoy your favorite one, whether you are alone or with your family. Make some popcorn and hot chocolate and you’ve got the perfect indoor activity.
You could make a marathon of this or make it a themed party by serving themed snacks and decorating the house a little. The best thing about this? You’ve probably already got everything you need to make this a fun day.
Here is another fun activity for those who prefer not to venture outdoors when the temperature has gone down. Making cookies is a fun way to bond with family members, especially little ones. Make the cookies and decorate them together while the snow swirls around outside. The sweet aroma is sure to make you feel a little warmer.
Mmm, the smell of cookies baking is a delicious one and this is a great way to make memories as well. Baking also sneaks in some learning (math, science, following directions) but don’t tell the kids that!
When it is cold outdoors and you want to stay in, use the time to catch up on your favorite book. Curl up in a chair with a blanket and let the wind blow outside. No matter the weather, reading is an enjoyed pastime for many.
For older children, have them read to you or read to a younger child.
If you have little ones brimming with energy, you may begin to feel crazy after a day of being trapped indoors. If it is too chilly to burn off that energy outdoors, throw an indoor dance party. Put on your favorite music and enjoy your time together.
And if you’re really feeling it- invite a few friends over to share in the fun.
If a regular dance party isn’t quite your thing, spend the morning making masks together. You can use construction paper, paper plates, paper bags and let your imagination go wild!
Winter does not have to be a dull time to be waited out. Even if chilly weather is not your thing, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy and having a great time. Try some of these ideas and experience just how much fun winter can truly be. Don’t forget to grab your free Winter To-Do List printable before you go!