Family Winter Activities When You’re in Survival Mode


It feels like we’re on day 216 of winter. The temperatures are frigid and kids have an infinite amount of energy with no place to exert it.

I don’t know about you, but that is a recipe for disaster in our house. My kids need their outdoor playtime to burn off some of that energy! Here are some of my favorite family winter activities.

40+ Family Winter Activities 

Indoor Energy Burners

Dedicating a small area in our basement to physical entertainment for the kids has been our saving grace.

Pro tip Use your vertical space and it won’t encroach on your square footage! We got the rock climbing wall for my daughter’s birthday and it is one of the most popular spots in our house, especially when friends are over. That and the gymnastics bar! The key is anything to get them to MOVE. Here’s a list of ideas:

Board Games

We love board games in our house! There is nothing that brings a family together (or in some cases, tears them apart. Call it team-building skill practice). When the kids are bored and can’t play outside, games are a fun option.

Indoor Museum

We have some fantastic museums for kids in Iowa. Check out the Science Center, Botanical Garden, Children’s Museum, Valley Community Center, and your local library. A lot of these places offer classes specifically for children.


This time of the year is great for sports despite the cold! Get your kid involved in wrestling, basketball, gymnastics, ballet, or indoor tennis. Or you could try an outdoor sport like hockey, skiing, or ice skating.

Other Indoor Entertainment

  • scavenger hunt
  • book bingo
  • art/get crafty
  • write letters to family and friends
  • act out a play or dance routine
  • trampoline park
  • bake cookies
  • puzzles

Get Outside

If the weather allows, play outside! Get a few minutes of fresh air and recharge your soul. If you have snow, grab a few sleds and find a hill, make a snowman, or throw some snowballs! You can go for a hike through the wood or walk a few laps around the house to change any kid’s mood. 

If all these options aren’t sounding amusing to the kids, you could always offer for them to do extra chores 😉

What are your favorite family winter activities?

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