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17 Winter Activities for Families

This Just In

We know that finding good winter activities can be challenging for families. Keeping kids active and engaged when it’s miserable outside is hard, but you’re in luck!

We’ve tossed aside the usual suspects like blanket forts and card games, and rounded up 17 of the most imaginative, off-the-wall indoor activities to keep your family entertained during those chilly winter months. There's something for everyone to enjoy.


If you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve:


1. The not-so-still life
Set up a simple still life display using unexpected objects from around your house. They could be anything: some Lego, an empty sauce bottle, an old sock, whatever takes your fancy. Set a timer for 10 minutes and draw/sketch/paint your still life. When the timer goes off, swap your artworks and spend another 10 minutes adding detail to someone else’s artwork. Swap again at the 30 minute mark and then share your collaborative masterpieces.


2. The PowerPoint presentation
Each family member chooses a topic they know and love: it could be sharks, ancient Greece, Taylor Swift or comic books. Make a short presentation containing all the fun facts and niche details you want to share and then pretend you’re speaking at a very serious conference. If you’re feeling extra creative, make some name tags with fictional businesses and job titles.

3. Postcards from your living room
Swap postal addresses with some friends or family and send each other postcards from exciting, luxurious (and entirely made up) holidays. Did you parachute off the Eiffel Tower? Get stuck in the lion enclosure at the zoo? Throw a pool party with The Rock? Go wild.

4. Grow something (indoors)
If you have a spare plastic storage container, some pots and some soil, you have a mini greenhouse. Depending on your climate, you can grow herbs and veggies like spring onions, lettuce and snow peas, and flowers like calendula, marigolds and cornflowers, all from seeds. Ask your local nursery for a seasonal growing guide, or download one (there are lots of free ones online).

5. Dance class
A new twist on the dance party. Learn a routine from a dance instructor on YouTube. There are literally thousands upon thousands to choose from: hip hop, ballet, line dancing. It’s fun, and it’s good for your body and your brain.

6. Produce swap
Noticed any fruit or citrus trees in your area? Do your neighbours grow their own food? Get in touch with your local community and organise a produce swap. It’s a great way to connect with others, and to put excess produce to good use.


If you’re looking for something a little simpler:


7. Library love

You know what’s awesome? Your local library. Not only can you borrow books and get expert recommendations, but you can also relax in a quiet (and warm) space, and get involved in one (or many) of their fun activities and events. Lego, puzzles, crafternoons, drawing, languages, technology and self-help – you name it.


8. The boredom puzzle

Set aside some space and lay out a big puzzle (preferably 500+ pieces). This is now your “I’m bored” puzzle. When you’re bored, sit down for a few minutes and see how many pieces you can find. It’s not a race, but whoever puts the last piece in is the winner.


9. The thesaurus jar

Like a swear jar, but minus the swearing. Think of a common word used around your house e.g. “No”, “Maybe”, “Ok”, or even phrases like “I don’t want to” or “I’ll do it in a minute”. Write that word or phrase on a post-it and tape it to a jar or a bowl. The challenge? Avoid using that word or phrase or swap it for something else. “Maybe” can become “Perhaps” or “The prophecy is unwritten”. If you slip up, add a coin (or similar) to the jar.


10. Donation run

Got towels, blankets, clothing or linen you don’t need anymore? Instead of making a blanket fort, gather it up and donate it to a not-for-profit organisation or animal shelter. You’ll feel good about helping others to stay warm (and get a little pre-spring cleaning done).


11. Op shop challenge

Visit an op shop and find something to kickstart a new hobby. It could be an instrument, some craft supplies or a manual. While you’re there, find something bizarre, hideous and downright weird. Buy it. It’s yours now.


Super simple sanity savers:


12. Treasure hunt

Hide some Ovalteenies (or treats of your choice) around the house. Write some simple clues, or even just give an overall theme e.g. the treasure is hidden in or around yellow things/soft things/electronic things.


13. Film festival

Each family member takes a turn choosing a movie (and the snacks). Get cozy, sip a warm Ovaltine (or hot chocolate, if you must). At the end, make sure you applaud. Bravo!


14. Indoor olympics

How many sports can you recreate indoors with everyday objects? Start simple with an upturned box as a soccer goal, then try something a bit trickier, like ten pin bowling, basketball or mini golf.


15. Happy birthday?

Make a birthday cake. Not because it’s someone’s birthday, but because birthday cakes are awesome. Hip hip hooray!


16. Time capsule

Fill a waterproof container with some treasures and bury it in the backyard. Don’t forget to put a marker on top or make yourself a little map so it doesn’t get lost. Now you have an activity for next winter.


17. DIY rain gauge

Got a budding scientist in the family? Make your own rain gauge (there are lots of easy instructions online) and measure the rainfall in your area.