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Winter Family Activities on a Budget

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Winter can be a challenging time for families – especially young families. The pressures financially and socially increase around events like Christmas. Then during the school holidays and weekends, the weather can make it hard to play outside and burn off all that energy, leading to fractious afternoons indoors.

Today we’re looking at family activities you can do together in the Winter to help harness that energy and spend quality time together. And most importantly, be budget-friendly.

Getting Outdoors

Yes, the days are shorter and colder, and rain is more likely. However, it’s still possible to get outside. You can encourage the children to walk, run, and play outdoors, even when the weather is imperfect. 

The old adage among walkers is that there’s no bad weather, only the wrong clothes. So ensure your kid’s clothing is waterproofed outside (anoraks and over-trousers for older ones, puddle suits for younger children) and warm inside. It is much more likely everyone will enjoy winter walks as a family if they are warm and dry. 

If you can walk in Nature, these walks are particularly charming. You can enjoy the frosty landscapes and educate the children on how animals cope with the Winter. But, of course, if you are not so educated on animal life yourself, a good old game of “I spy” never fails.

If you’re looking for a more focused activity, you can create a scavenger hunt. Someone hides items in a specific area. The participants are given a list of the items to find. The goal of the hunt is to find as many listed items as possible before the time is up. 

Two other types of scavenger hunts are worth mentioning. First, a photo scavenger hunt. This is a type of scavenger hunt where participants are given a list of specific items or tasks to photograph within a certain timeframe and location. In Nature, this could be things like a cow in a field beside a tree, or in the city, it could be a black neighborhood cat. The goal is to capture as many listed photos as possible within the allocated time period. The photos are used as proof that the item has been found.  

Secondly, there are clue scavenger hunts. This time it is clues that are given. The first clue gives directions/instructions on how to find the next clue. They follow the clues which eventually lead them to the final prize or goal. The team or person who finds the prize first is the winner.  

The fun of the scavenge is not necessarily about the prize. It’s the thrill of the chase. A scavenger hunt provides focus and a sense of adventure! Solving puzzles and mysteries together makes for a great day out that can help you ignore the inclement weather. Snow makes for some great hiding places! 

All hunts can be done on an individual basis or a team basis. In team hunts, each time can hide the items for each other (or in the case of a clue scavenge, write the clues for the other team). 

Another outdoor activity you could play is Nature Bingo (or City Bingo). You create a few bingo cards (one for everyone playing), list things you think you will find on your walk, and then write them onto the cards. The key, though, is to make all the cards different. Each card can have some of the same items, but no cards should be identical, just like bingo. For example, suppose you are in Nature. In that case, the items could be a cow, a sheep, a particular bird, a particular tree, a plant, a river, or a bridge. You get the idea. 

You can walk as a family; whenever you see something, you can check it off on your card. Like bingo, you can start by trying to complete a line for the first prize, and the final prize can be a full house. 

Nature Bingo is great for getting everyone involved and present on the walk. It is wonderful for engaging the kids and educating them about items you find. For example, you put a specific type of plant on the cards that the kids did not know. Then, when you see it, you can use it as an educational opportunity. 

There are many fantastic games and activities you can come up with outdoors for your family. A little imagination goes a long way.

Games at Home

Board games can be a great way to play as a family in the depths of the Winter. Frustration can lead to arguments when you’re playing together, though, and it’s essential to make sure you’re not steering into a family fight instead of family fun.

Set a good example by not getting too competitive: show that it’s more important that you’re doing something together than one of you winning. Even better is to stretch beyond the most popular family board games and find games and at-home escape rooms where you all work together rather than against each other.


In the depths of the Winter, crafting is a traditional way to pass the time, learn new skills and enjoy yourself when it’s too cold and dark to venture out. In addition, this is another excellent way to work together – either on one big project that uses all your skills or on your different crafts simultaneously.

Sewing a quilt together out of individual squares is a great project to collaborate on, with every family member able to contribute their creativity to the whole project.

Suppose you’re trying to introduce your kids to craft activities for the first time this Winter. In that case, there are many different entry points for them to get started. For example, French knitting – also known as spool knitting – is an excellent introduction to sewing skills. Likewise, making a scrapbook can introduce different kinds of papercraft and preserve precious memories.

Baking and cooking together

Baking is such a great way to bring the family together. Try out new recipes, make holiday treats, or even make a gingerbread house. 

Indoor scavenger hunt

The ideas from the outdoor scavenger hunts can be implemented indoors.

Indoor gardening

Grow herbs or small plants indoors during the winter months.

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