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70 winter activities for kids and families to enjoy all season

From hosting a bonfire to a joke competition indoors, there is plenty of winter family fun.
Father and daughter making a snowman on a sunny day.
Building snow people isn't the only outdoor winter activity for kids.Esther Pueyo / Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

The winter season brings both the excitement of the upcoming holidays and — depending on where you live — cold temperatures that may have parents nervous about cabin fever.

Laura Linn Knight, author of "Break Free from Reactive Parenting" tells that winter activities for kids and families will be "very dependent" upon where you are located.

"I live in Arizona with my two children, (so) our winter activities are jam-packed with all the things we couldn’t do during the heat of the summer," Knight says. "Friends face long stretches of rain and snow during the winter months, and their winters are full of umbrellas, sleds and warm jackets."

Knight says that because your family activities this winter will vary greatly from place to place, the best thing to do will be to create a list of activities together that work for where you live. 

"For many of you, that will be building snowmen and for others it will be morning hikes in the crisp air," Knight says.

Knight shares that whatever your winter activities are, create the list together with your children so that everyone can share their favorite things to do.

"This will invite greater enthusiasm and participation," she explains.

Knight says that there's good news for the days when you find yourself wanting to plop your children in front of devices for hours.

"My suggestion is to plan out your winter activities and crafts ahead of time," Knight says. "Keep going back to the list you created as a family of what winter activities you’d like to do and then prioritize your family activities as much as possible."

70 Winter Activities For Kids

Whether you're seeking an outdoor winter activity for the whole family or something simple for the kids to do inside, here are 70 winter activities for kids.

35 Outdoor Winter Activities For Kids

  • Bundle up and go for a walk.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Make snow angels.
  • Walk through the neighborhood looking at holiday decor.
  • Help adults shovel snow.
  • Make frozen bubbles.
  • Spend 15 minutes outside on the Winter Solstice.
  • Build a snow fort.
  • Play flashlight tag.
  • Take a walk with hot chocolate.
  • Go sledding.
  • Paint with snow.
  • Look for winter birds.
  • Identify animal tracks.
  • Make a snow maze.
  • Go for a walk to admire holiday lights.
  • Make snow ice cream.
  • Shovel a neighbor's sidewalk.
  • Plan a hike.
  • Make garland for the birds.
  • Go for a winter scavenger hunt.
  • Skiing.
  • Decorate an outdoor tree with twinkly lights.
  • Play tic-tac-toe using items from nature.
  • Host a neighborhood bonfire.
  • Roast s'mores.
  • Have a snowball fight.
  • Explore a nearby National Park.
  • Enjoy a New Year's Day parade in your town.
  • Go ice skating.
  • Have a winter picnic.
  • Host an outdoor snow Olympics.
  • Play pin the nose on the snowman.
  • Go snowshoeing.
  • Make an obstacle course.

35 Indoor Winter Activities For Kids

Knight says that indoor activities can be cozy, joyful and exciting.

"I love seasonal activities, because they provide extra family time and promote creativity," she says.

The former elementary school teacher also offered suggestions for celebrating winter traditions.

"I gear many of our indoor winter activities towards holidays around the world," Knight says.

Hanukkah activities

To celebrate Hanukkah: we can decorate dreidels, make veggie latkes and read stories about Hanukkah. 

Christmas activities

To celebrate Christmas: make gingerbread houses, decorate stockings, read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and watch "The Nutcracker" ballet. 

Kwanza activities

"For Kwanza you can read a picture book about the holiday, do an activity with corn as a component of Kwanza is celebrating the first harvest and corn is a big part of that, and make pasta necklaces using traditional Kwanza colors to paint penne pasta before stringing it," Knight says.

New Year's Eve activities for kids

New Year's activities can include: making gratitude books of the things that your children felt good about from the year, making decorations for the home and writing goals for the new year ahead.

  • Host a kid jokes competition. 
  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Watch holiday movies.
  • Play hopscotch with masking tape.
  • Read a new book.
  • Plan a festive scavenger hunt.
  • Host an indoor picnic.
  • Color seasonal coloring pages.
  • Decorate dreidels.
  • Learn a dreidel game.
  • Read stories about Hanukkah.
  • Make latkes.
  • Watch a local performance of "The Nutcracker" ballet.
  • Make gingerbread houses.
  • Read "'Twas The Night Before Christmas."
  • Host a kid-friendly trivia night.
  • Do a Kwanza craft.
  • Read stories about Kwanza.
  • Make a gratitude book on New Year's Eve.
  • Write New Year goals.
  • Practice typing skills.
  • Create an indoor tent or fort.
  • Honor Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Host a kid jokes competition.
  • Craft your own puppets.
  • Make a puppet theater.
  • Play dress-up with old Halloween costumes.
  • Try a new recipe.
  • Have a game night.
  • Make and send cards to relatives and friends.
  • Have a play-dough building challenge.
  • Build a cardboard fort.
  • Learn a classic game like chess or checkers.
  • Decorate the windows with cling-on gel shapes.
  • Host a DIY pizza night.