Here in Minnesota, we are used to winter.
But even though we know the cold days and nights will be here for awhile, it’s still easy to feel cooped up when the temperatures dip and the daylight hours decrease.
Here are 8 ideas for frugal winter fun – things to get you enjoying the outdoors (just a bit) and make the most of cozy days and nights indoors.
Walk Outside (In the Dark!)
This is one of my favorite things about winter, and judging from the amount of traffic outside (i.e., none), it is a well-kept secret. I love to walk the dog in the dark of the evening in winter. The air is crisp, the snow crunches beneath my feet and on a clear night, the stars are just spectacular. Layer up to avoid the cold and keep it short, if you need to.
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how often we forget to get out and go sledding. The kids love to do it in our yard, but nothing is as fun (for them or us) as when we go as a family and even the parents sled or tube down the bigger hills. Sunny days in winter are perfect for this!
Cozy Movie Night
Here is something we can even do on a school night because in December it gets dark by 5:00! Snuggling up under blankets with snacks and watching a fun movie is just the thing to pass those long nights of darkness. We rent something new, find something on Netflix or even watch a old favorite (anything Ice Age is a hit in our house – even with the adults).
Game Night by the Fire
I am always glad when we are able to make family time for game night. Playing board games by the fireplace together is fun and helps us connect as a family. We usually have some fun drinks and snacks, and we put on some music to add to the festive atmosphere.
Popcorn and Christmas Lights
One of our favorite traditions is to pop popcorn and drive around looking at Christmas lights in nearby neighborhoods. We leave it to chance, just keeping our eyes out for lights. Sometimes we hit the jackpot and that keeps us coming back each year for more.
Make Hot Cocoa!
Our family really enjoys hot cocoa all throughout the cooler weather months. The kids like to help make the big batch of my mom’s hot cocoa. Even little kids can stir it up with a whisk. They also enjoy dumping mini-marshmallows into the mix, although you have to watch them because I swear more make it into their mouths than the mix! We love to have some on hand, and it makes a great gift, too.
Handmade Teacher Gifts
There is not a better way to do lots of teacher gifts frugally and thoughtfully than making homemade gifts. Spend an afternoon or evening making these gifts for your child’s teacher. Some gift ideas for you: hot cocoa gifts, inexpensive gifts for teachers and coaches, gifts you can make with your printer and gift giving tips from a teacher.
Please note that Gaming Night is different from Board Game Night. Trust me on this, if you have never played the Wii or Xbox with your kids, they will LOVE it when you do. In our house, that is usually because my husband and I are hilariously bad at things like driving on Mario Kart. Although, I am a force to be reckoned with on Just Dance (just saying). I guarantee that you will make the kids’ day if you play their gaming system with them for a hour.
With all of our kids in school and activities, we find ourselves running from event to event quite often. Winter can be a great time to slow down and take advantage of the cold and dark to enjoy some family time – inside or out!
Psst – if you do an advent calendar with activities, these are fun ones to add!