We've all been there- the temperatures are dropping, the snow is starting to pile up, and the kids are already telling you how bored they are. You're working hard to stick to a budget this winter so expensive shows and lavish shopping trips are out of the question. Luckily, many of the most fun and entertaining winter activities you can enjoy with your family are free or inexpensive. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
Marvel at Holiday Light Displays
One of the most magical aspects of the holiday season is all the homes and businesses lit up with Christmas light displays. The easiest way to share this magic with your family is to simply pile into the car and go for a drive. Turn it into a holiday tradition complete with fun pajamas and thermoses full of hot chocolate or apple cider.
Many towns and cities also offer more elaborate light displays, such as at the zoo or botanic gardens. These aren't usually free, but tickets tend to be pretty affordable and checking out the whimsical light displays is something both kids and adults can enjoy.
Have a Family Movie Night
Holiday movies are a great way to get into the holiday spirit for free, so why not plan a family movie night dedicated solely to Christmas movies? Include a variety, from classics like It's a Wonderful Life to comedies that will have your whole family laughing hysterically like Christmas Vacation. Make some popcorn, encourage the kids to grab their favorite blankets and pillows, and settle in for a cozy night of movie watching.
Sledding is a classic winter activity, for good reason. It's hard to beat a ride down a snowy hill on a sled for an exhilarating and inexpensive winter activity. Scout out the best (and safest) hills near your home. Sleds can often be found very inexpensively at thrift stores or on resale sites. Make sure everyone is bundled up and plan on your kids (and maybe the adults in your family as well!) asking to go down the hill over and over!
Try Snowshoeing for the First Time
For a slightly more challenging adventure, consider renting or borrowing snowshoes for an afternoon. This is an excellent way to get fresh air and exercise while exploring beautiful winter scenery you just can't see from the car. Very small kids will most likely need to be carried in a child carrier for this one, but they will still enjoy the views and the family bonding time.
Bake Holiday Treats Together
Kids tend to love helping to bake cookies and cakes, and this is a great opportunity to teach them important skills like measuring ingredients. Baking is inexpensive and fun, and best of all your family will have delicious baked goods to enjoy together. Wrapped in cellophane and ribbon, extra cookies also make great inexpensive holiday gifts for neighbors or co-workers, and your kids will like helping to deliver their homemade treats.
Build a Blanket and Pillow Fort
When it's simply too cold to stay outside for long, it's time to bring the adventure indoors. Kids will love planning and building their own pillow and blanket forts, with a little guidance as needed from the grownups. Once the forts are in place, supply your kids with snacks, flashlights, books, or card games. Encourage them to use their imagination, perhaps pretending they are camping out in the wilderness. If you really want to make the forts special, you can even help your kids make homemade holiday directions (like paper snowflakes) to decorate their new pillow and blanket homes.
As you can see, it's easier than you may think to have a wonderful winter with your family without breaking the bank. Looking for more practical advice? Be sure to visit our blog.