11 Indoor and Outdoor Frugal Family Activities for the Winter

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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.

In need of something to do with your family this winter? Here are 11 frugal family activities for winter.

Free or Almost Free Frugal Family Activities to do in the Winter

Frugal Family Activities for Winter: Outdoors

Ice Skating

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.

Sledding

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?

In need of a frugal family activity for winter? Here are 11 outdoor and indoor frugal family activities for winter.

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.

Bake Cookies

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!

Read

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.

Dance Party

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.

Masquerade Party

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!

winter to do list

>>>> Download Here <<<<

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Kori

Content Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is an autistic mom who also happens to have ADHD and Anxiety. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodivergent family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. As an empath, HSP, and highly intuitive individual, Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori provides life coaching services for neurodivergent women (and those who identify as women) as well as Oracle card reading, Tarot card readings, and energy healing.

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Robin (Masshole Mommy)
Robin (Masshole Mommy)
6 years ago

We have 4 feet of snow on the ground here in Boston, so we are getting in our fair share of snow fort building and sledding. Fun ideas 🙂

lisa
6 years ago

We love our outdoor snow activities but we do also enjoy a good dance party in the house.

Nina Say
6 years ago

I have to throw my vote in for ice skating. I have only done it once, but I can’t wait to take my kids.

Leira Pagaspas
6 years ago

I want to see Snow as I live in a hot humid country.I would suggest this activities to my friend who lives in New York.

Kathy
Kathy
6 years ago

Those are some great activities. With all the snow coming lately my kids have wanted to go outside. I hate that it gets to below zero though. My girls would love to ice skate! Although they’d probably just go out on the ice with shoes since they’re really young yet.

Felissa @ Two Little Cavaliers
6 years ago

Building a snow man is always a winner in our household! It seems that kids never get tired of playing in the snow!

Stacey- Travel Blogger
6 years ago

After the snow has hardened a little, it’s always fun to go sledding. Thanks for the other great ideas!

Dawn
6 years ago

Since my daughter has gotten older, she doesn’t like playing in the snow like she used to. This year, we took snow and made frappuccinos with it!

touristmeetstraveler
6 years ago

I got a ton of snow here, it’s pretty amazing how much we got this year; I always spend time outdoors in the winter!

Sharon
6 years ago

Oh my gosh, I just LOVE making cookies in the winter, it’s the best thing EVAH! And you can always be frugal and fun during the winter 😀

Shaney Vijendranath
6 years ago

I’ve never been ice skating! Always been so scared after hearing stories about people get badly injured. You got some great activities.

Rosey
6 years ago

Yep, yep, yep… going down the checklist. 🙂 Everything you listed here is fun, snow angels are my fave.

Freya
6 years ago

I love the outdoors and I love snow. I would love to do some outdoor snow activities but unfortunately there’s no snow at all where I live.

Beth
6 years ago

I love all these ideas, especially the snowy ones. We’ve got a ton of snow right now so these would be perfect for any kiddo!

Lindsey@Kindred Spirit Mommy
6 years ago

I love this. 🙂 Our favorite winter activities are making cookies, decorating/creating wreaths, and making snow ice cream (snow with syrup drizzled on, so yummy).

Lisa @bitesforbabies
6 years ago

I love all these ideas…even the outside ones (which is a big deal because I hate spending time outside in the winter!) lol!

Courtney
Courtney
6 years ago

Omg these are great activities!!! We have been trapped indoors for what seems to be forever due to the freezing temps so we need all the activity ideas we can get!

Camesha
6 years ago

These are all great idea. We live in Los Angeles and drove up to the mountains for some fun in the snow. We’re from the Midwest and I guess we needed to see some snow. Crazy, I know. We did just about everything on this list while we were there!

Trisha
6 years ago

These are some great suggestions! We do a lot of dancing inside on cold days, its one of the few ways we keep my daughter active! I really like the idea of making bird feeders and think it would be a lot of fun for my 3-year-old!

Audrey @trihardmom
6 years ago

We miss not being around snow this year! Being stationed in Alabama means no snow for us this winter. We have only had snow a few times in the past few years with the kids, but I do love a snow day! We always bake and make snow cream. We spend as much time outside building snowmen and making snow angels before fingers and toes get too cold!

Christina Aliperti
6 years ago

I love fun things that don’t cost a lot of money or better yet are free! These are great frugal snow day ideas.

Digna D.
6 years ago

Awesome ideas except for tonight. Tonight the low is supposed to be -3 or so. Brrr.

Ann BAcciaglia
Ann BAcciaglia
6 years ago

We are spending a lot of time indoors this winter as it is so cold outside. Watching movies is a favourite activity at our house.

Bonnie @ wemake7
Bonnie @ wemake7
6 years ago

Yes we are one of those buried under snow right now lol. The kiddos have been sledding and enjoying hot cocoa. This is a great list.

Cherri Megasko
6 years ago

My husband and I just drove home in a snowstorm and were talking about how fun it was when we were kids. We have some killer hills by our house that would be great for sledding.

Chrystal @ YUM eating
6 years ago

We feed the birds. We have some bird houses we put up right before winter hit. Kiddo and hubs me one and we made sure that it was one that could actually be used and not decoration. Since it gets rather cold here in MI we want to make sure they have a food source if they need it.

We also do a lot of baking. And making homemade hot chocolate.

diana
6 years ago

I wish there was snow outside but it has been a very much snow-less winter. My daughter would have enjoyed these activities though, especially the snow angles, building the snowman, and making a snow fort

OurFamilyWorld
6 years ago

I have always loved the traditional snowball fight and snow forts. But you can never go wrong with any of those tips.

Rebecca Swenor
Rebecca Swenor
6 years ago

These are all great ideas for family fun time in the winter months. I was thinking ice fishing also is a fun in expensive activity to do as a family also. Here we have a free fishing weekend once a year along with fishing derbies too. Thanks for sharing.

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