Winter Activities for Families

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Even though the multitude of summer activities is no longer available for you and your children, there are still a variety of winter activities that are family oriented. Winter Activities, Southwick's Zoo, Mendon, Massachusetts Since children are only out of school for a limited time, keeping them busy with winter activities does not have to be nearly as extensive as during the summertime. With the cold weather now in full swing, you may be beginning to worry what to do with your childrenwhen they are cooped up in the house.  About.com offers some great suggestions for both indoor and outdoor winter activities that the whole family can enjoy.

8 Fun Winter Activities for Families

Some great ideas for winter activities you can do as a family, indoors and out

By Katherine Lee, About.com Guide

When the weather outside turns frosty and cold, there are lots of fun winter activities your family can do together. Some options on a frigid winter day or evening: You can huddle around a cozy fire and play a game or snuggle together with your kids under blankets and watch a movie, to name just a couple of fun indoor activities. Winter activities can also involve getting outside and playing in the snow or on the ice.

Here are some favorite indoor and outdoor fun activities you can do with your kids. Use these as inspiration to come up with your own family winter activities and traditions!

1. Bake Yummy Treats

What is it about the smell of something baking that makes the whole house so cozy, especially on a cold winter’s day? Whether it’s bread, muffins, or cookies, made from scratch or from your favorite mix, baking goodies in the oven can be one of the best winter activities for families. Grade-school age children are old enough to help measure and mix, and can be proud of their contribution when it’s time to enjoy what they helped make. Check out these recipes and tips for baking with kids from Carroll Pellegrinelli, About.com’s desserts/baking guide.

2. Cook Together

Cooking is another one of those family activities that can become one of the regular winter activities you can do with your kids. Some great winter recipes you can make with your kids include hearty soups or stews, which can simmer on the stove and make the whole house smell delicious. Older grade-school age kids can help chop some veggies with supervision. And even younger kids can help tear lettuce for a salad or help mash cooked veggies to go into a soup.

3. Rent a Great Family Movie

One of the best winter activities for families can be to huddle together on the couch and enjoy a family movie night. All you need are some yummy healthy snacks, a great new or classic family movie DVD, and voila! You have a warm and cozy way to spend a few winter hours together as a family.

4. Play Board Games

Playing a fun game can also be one of the best winter activities for families. And when you choose a non-electronic board game, you can enjoy hours of unplugged fun. To give kids’ minds a bit of a workout while they have fun, you can choose an educational board game. Older grade-schoolers can take on more challenging games such as Monopoly — which comes in exciting new versions — or chess.

5. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is one of those great winter activities that can be done indoors or outside. And it’s a great way to have your whole family get moving, which can be a bigger challenge in the winter months. (Kids can be like dogs — the less exercise they get, the more they’re liable to become hyperactive and exhibit behavior problems.) But whether you go to an outdoor rink or indoor one, try to go on off-hours, such as early in the morning. That way, it’s less likely to be crowded; and if your grade-schooler is just learning to skate, you’ll have more room to work.

6. Work on Some Fun Winter Coloring Pages

When it’s blustery and cold outside, winter coloring pages can be the perfect fun activity for kids. What better way to get cozy and warm than to get creative with some pictures depicting scenes of winter fun? So make some hot cocoa and get the kids to settle down to work on some winter coloring pages. It can be a great way for kids to entertain themselves or it can be a fun activity you can do together as a family.

7. Go Sledding

Sometimes the best things in life are not only relatively free, but are completely simple. Your family can have hours of fun with just a sled and a snow-covered hill. This most classic of winter activities can be excellent exercise (all those trips downhill mean you and your kids have to go uphill first!). First, get a good snow sled for kids and families, and be mindful about safety. Some safety tips include making sure you dress kids in lots of layers and waterproof clothing, especially warm, waterproof gloves and a hat, and having older kids sled separately from the little ones. The best part: after a long day of snow sledding fun, you and your kids can enjoy another of the most favorite winter activities: drinking some hot chocolate.

8. Check Out Holiday Decorations

As it gets closer to the holidays, many towns and cities and stores put up decorations. Walk around and sightsee the holiday shop windows and other decorations in your own town like a tourist. Or hit the road and go check out neighboring villages and cities. You can also get an early jump on some holiday shopping while you’re out sightseeing.

These are just a few examples of some great family oriented winter activities.  Why not build a snowman together, go skiing, or do some arts and crafts? The possibilities for winter activities are virtually endless. And once the weather warms up again in mid-April and the time for winter activities is over, be sure to visit us at Southwick’s Zoo for another season full of fun and adventure.  But until then, be sure to plan some great winter activities and stay warm!

Tell us, which activities do you like to do with your family during the winter months?

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