It’s hard to be a superparent in winter, when the short, frigid days lend themselves more to Netflix frenzy than family adventures. But there are actually plenty of winter activities out there for kids that will get them out of the house and – bonus! – does not cost anything.
The first step in adopting these activities in cold weather is to find your motivation. Kara Wellman, creator of the Moms Gone Outdoors website, puffs her kids up with fun winter clothes. Soft base layers and outerwear with animals “always help them get excited about going outside,” she says.
And for Mom, “my biggest motivation is that I know I’ll always be happier when I come back inside,” Wellman says.
The free and family activities below may add happiness (no expenses) to your winter too.
Take daily walks
Going for walks is routine for the family of Lynne Somerman, founder of personal finance website The Wiser Miser. At the start of winter, Somerman, his wife and toddler did a walking ritual in the morning and after dinner. She says, “This is expected to be exactly what we do at these times.” She adds that this routine has been so motivating that after breakfast her daughter usually knocks on the door and shouts, “Go ahead, go ahead.
The dog also motivates Somerman’s family to walk. Pets have needs, after all, even when it’s cold outside.
Play in the snow
Nothing exhausts children (and adults) like wading in the snow. Somerman and his family, who live in Portland, Maine, love snowshoeing. “Looks like you’re just going for a walk, but it’s actually quite difficult,” she says. “It’s a great way to get some of that pent-up energy out of the house.” Golf courses and farms often open their properties to snowshoers and cross-country skiers, she says.
If you don’t want to buy snowshoes, consider putting on some boots and going for a hike. This is how Wellman has fun with his family. She suggests taking advantage of the nearby parks.
“Wherever there is snow, you can go sledding.“
Lynne somerman, founder of The Wiser Miser
And don’t forget the classics: snowpeople, snow angels, ice skating and sledding. “Anywhere there’s snow you can sled,” says Somerman, adding that the activity is fun for all ages and affordable.
Stay inside – elsewhere
Turning off the television and leaving the house can still lift your spirits, even on days when it’s too bad to play outside. For example, Somerman and his family take advantage of child-friendly activities offered by the local library. To find out more about these community events, she follows the library on social media and subscribes to the city’s newsletter. She also belongs to Facebook groups for local parents.
Somerman’s family also goes around to admire the Christmas lights and visit friends’ homes to play games and drink hot chocolate.
“It takes us out of the house and brightens up what can be – especially in New England – a long, dark season,” she says.
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