Fun Free or Cheap Things to Do with Kids This Winter

Need a few indoor activity ideas to keep the kids entertained at home?  Winter can often mean breaks from the kids from school. Whether they are out for Christmas break, inclimate weather or a scheduled school holiday causing a longer weekend, it’s tough to figure out how to entertain the troops when outside play isn’t always possible. Great news! There are a host of ways to have fun with kids in the winter without spending (much) money. Here are quick, creative ideas for free things to do with the little ones this winter.

Fun, Free Activities

• Create a homemade photo booth with DIY props and take pictures.
• Go to your local fire station for a tour. Call ahead to be courteous.
• Pitch a tent in the living room. Camp out with sleeping bags and pillows.
• Take turns reading books aloud.
• Make a bird feeder out of pine cones and peanut butter for the back yard, and wait for visitors to arrive and enjoy it!
• Frequent the library for fun seasonal media.
• Color pictures to mail to nursing homes and hospital patients.
• Attend a free kids’ woodworking or crafting workshop at your local hardware or craft store.
• Volunteer your time at a food bank together.
• Host a toy swap with friends and get tons of free new-to-you toys!

• Use blankets and sheets to build a fort in the living room.
• Trace one another’s silhouettes using the back side of old Christmas wrapping paper.
• Make customized hot chocolate. Let your child add pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to personalize his or her favorite hot drink recipe.
• Turn on your favorite tunes and have a dance-off.
• String up a sheet and paint or draw faces on hands. Then, write a script and act out a puppet show.
• Start seeds indoors. Try broccoli sprouts or wheat grass to clip and add to salads or other dishes.
• Unearth last year’s Halloween costumes and act out your own spontaneous drama using the characters.
• Have a board game marathon.
• Make a list of summer vacations you’d like to consider once the weather warms up. Narrow the list by feasibility, then research each front-runner and vote on the best.
• Give each other manicures or back rubs.

• Exercise together using only body weight. Search online for how-to videos to get started.
• Get online and video chat a distant relative or friend. If they’re not online, use your web cam to record a message and send it to them.
• Redecorate. Rearrange furniture and artwork until you and the kids are satisfied. Then, do it again!
• Take advantage of an indoor playground -- malls frequently have a playspace for kids to burn off some energy.
• Learn to draw together for free, using online video tutorials.
• Find Santa! Drive around your city (or use an unlimited bus pass) and look for him wherever you can --- the mall, or even sidewalks.
• Play free games online. No internet access? Hit the local library to get your game on.
• Create your own fairy tale. Start with the classic “Once Upon a Time…” opener, and take turns combining classic story elements to make your own. Record what you come up with!
• Shovel driveways for the neighbors together.
• Use your collection of odd socks to make a whole sock monkey family.
• Turn all the lights off and play laser tag or hide-and-seek in the dark.
• Visit the local humane society to give (and receive!) some quality cuddles.


Don’t let the cold weather keep you from having fun. Creativity is the key to finding free things to do that will keep you and the kids laughing all winter --- without breaking the bank.

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