Winter never lasts for long in Texas. If we want to enjoy cool-weather activities, we have to act fast. Get cracking on our winter bucket list before things start warming up again. Here are 50 of our family’s favorite things to do when temperatures drop…
Our Winter Bucket List: 50 Things to Do for Family Fun
We enjoy playing a fast-paced face-off version of charades, where two people take turns acting out one animal after the other while everybody else guesses. The first player stumped on thinking of a new animal or unable to get the crowd to guess the one he’s acting out loses, and a new challenger takes his place. No repeating animals. We had a blast playing this game when the whole family was here for Christmas.
Build a roaring fire in the fireplace
No winter bucket list would be complete without a blazing fire or two. Or twenty. Bundle up in quilts for extra warmth.
Write a family letter.
Take a winter walk
Knit or crochet a new scarf & mittens
With easy-to-use knitting looms, kids can make their own. Or whip up a few to give as gifts.
Listen to a new book on tape
We get a stack of audiobooks from the library before every roadtrip. Even if your library has a limited (or non-existent) selection, you can “rent” audiobooks for free through the Libby app. Or download the monthly freebie from Christian Audio. Or sign up for a 30-day free trial of Audible.
Visit a Christmas market
Search your local paper for community craft sales and church bazaars.
Light a candle
We keep a candle burning by the kitchen sink almost all winter long. I love the dancing light and the fragrant scent.
Cut snowflakes out of white paper
Paper cutouts are about the only snowflakes we see most winters in Texas. Tape them to the windows and pretend!
Sip hot apple cider
Add a little nutmeg and serve with cinnamon sticks. Yum!
Although we don’t get snow very often, we make the most of it when we do. Don’t have a sled? Use a piece of cardboard or an old cookie sheet for sliding instead.
Make squash soup
We had some in Europe that was fantastic and are getting close to duplicating it now that we’re back home. I’ll post the recipe as soon as we perfect it.
Build a blanket fort
My kids don’t stop with simple tents — they drag out every chair and quilt in the house to construct intricate under-cover mazes.
Play flag football
We actually found velcro flags at a garage sale last year that work great for games like flag football and zombie tag.
Paste pictures in a photo album
After our last couple of moves, I’ve fallen several years behind on updating my children’s scrapbooks, but am determined to make some good headway on catching everybody up this year.
Go ice skating
We don’t have an ice rink in town, but try to skate once a year in Dallas or Houston when visiting family.
Make pomanders from cloves & oranges
These look pretty and smell heavenly. They make wonderful gifts, too. Just stick whole cloves, stem first, into the skin of a whole orange. You can cover the orange completely or use the cloves to make designs. Swirls. Stripes. Whatever suits your fancy.
Make a New Year’s resolution.
Then use one of our free printable habit trackers to help you keep it!
Eat black-eyed peas
I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in keeping family traditions — and eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is one of the oldest ones I can remember my parents consistently doing.
Get new pajamas or house slippers
Bonus points if you get the family matching PJs and wear them on Christmas eve. 🙂
Lounge in your PJs and read a book
If they’re comfy enough and the weather’s cold enough, that’s all the excuse you’ll need for staying in them for a relaxing day with a good book.
Cuddle up by the fire
Invite your spouse or children to snuggle up with you. You can keep each other warm.
Put out a birdfeeder
Hang it near a window so you can watch your little feathered friends enjoying their treats.
Volunteer at the local food pantry
Or serve at a soup kitchen. Or ring the bell for the Salvation Army. You’ll spot lots of volunteer opportunities if you keep your eyes open.
Force indoor daffodils or narcissus
The blooms are so lovely, whether they’re growing inside or out
Build a snowman
No snow? Head to the beach and build a sandman instead.
Make snow angels
Teach your children how to do the same.
Play a board game
Short days and early nights lend themselves well to indoor fun like board games. What are your favorites?
Dress in plaid flannel
Be warm and stylish. (Plaid also make for some fantastic family photos!)
Eat snow ice cream
Just add a little milk, sugar, and vanilla to clean, fresh snow (don’t eat the yellow snow 😉 ) and enjoy!
Make creamy potato soup
Nothing beats a big pot of warm potato soup on a cold night. Serve with sourdough bread or saltine crackers.
Start a stamp or coin collection
All those snail-mail Christmas card and packages are a great resource for adding to your collection.
Make scented playdough
Instead of coloring it with food coloring, mix in a packet of dry Kool-Aid for bright, bold colors that smell as good as they look.
Skype faraway family or friends
Digital face-to-face calls are the next best thing to being there and ease the loneliness of being separated over the holidays.
Shoot fireworks for New Year’s
Or do as we do, buy a few sparklers to light as soon as it’s dark, then hit the sack early so you can start January 1 rested and refreshed!
Bring a prize for the first person who gets a strike.
Make a home movie
Our kids are always making videos of something or other, but this is probably the most elaborate “home movie” we ever made together:
Have a ping pong tournament
Invite friends and neighbors to compete if you have a table of your own. Otherwise, search for a table you can use at a local church or community center.
Send homemade valentines
Make snow globes
They’re fun to shake, mesmerizing to watch, and easy to make — just recycle an old baby food or jelly jar by gluing a few miniatures on the inside of the lid, then filling with water and glitter.
Bake a breakfast quiche
Mmmm. Next to avocado toast, spinach quiche is my favorite way to start the day, foodwise.
Make pinecone fire starters
Since our new house has a gas log fireplace, we “build” our fires by flipping a switch, but I miss the fragrant smell of these paraffin-dipped pine cones and the crackle of real wood on the fire.
Study a foreign language
Our family has tried lots of different language programs over the years, but this one is our very favorite and (aside from total immersion) has given us the quickest and easiest results.
Make a pot of lentil soup
Bake cinnamon rolls
You’ll find our favorite for doing so here:Easy Bake Cinnamon Rolls
Learn to play dominoes
There are lots of ways to play. If you don’t know the rules, get a grandparent to teach you.
Feed pigeons at the park.
Share seeds or breadcrumbs with whatever hungry fowl are present, wherever they congregate. They’re sure to appreciate your keeping this activity on your winter bucket list!
Make salt water taffy
Invite friends over to help you pull it.
We usually put out our new sets on January 1, but are running a bit behind this year. That’s on our weekend project list!
Dip veggies in cheese fondue or fruit in chocolate. Both kinds are scrumptious!
Does anything on our list sound appealing? Then print a copy of it and post it on your fridge or bulletin board for easy reference.
Do you think our winter bucket list is too short? Are 50 cold-weather activities not enough? Then check out the following posts for more family fun:
- Snowy Books to Warm Your Heart– 12 snow-filled picture books your children will love
- Let It Snow – How to make the most our of snow days (especially if you get them as rarely as we do in Texas)
- Winter-Themed Activity Pages – download our free Matching Mitten printables to keep kids learning, even on snow days
- All Things Winter – visit my “Let It Snow” board on Pinterest for even more frosty fun
- Winter Learning – Find more fun and educational ideas for colder months on the Timberdoodle Winter Blog Hop