Fun Winter Activities for the Whole Family

When the temperature begins to really drop and the rush of back-to-school is over, families settle in for the winter and look for pleasant ways to make the most of the short days ahead.

Unlike summer, when families take trips to the beach, to amusement parks, and to local pools, winter seems to revolve around the home. Whether in apartments, trailers, traditional houses, or manufactured homes, families delight in spending the cold months in the warmth and coziness of their homes. So what can you and your family do to make the winter season bright?

One of the most pleasant family activities is a bonfire night. Whether it’s a full-fledged bonfire of scrap wood and spare logs or a small and neighbor-friendly setup in a burn-barrel or firepit, there’s nothing like bundling up and hanging around the cheerful blaze, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. Parents, children, and friends will cherish the memories of a starry night and good company.

Of course, food is something that really brings a family together. Just like summer barbecues, winter potlucks are wonderful, casual occasions to invite aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for an afternoon of delicious food and relaxation. Make it a Crock-Pot potluck, and cleanup will be a snap. Rich Crock-Pot dishes like stews and savory meatballs complemented by a few fresh touches like pickles and coleslaw will delight the whole family.

When Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween loom on the horizon, these holidays offer even more opportunities for families to spend time together. For Halloween, parents and children can brainstorm creative costume ideas. The internet and local library offer innumerable resources for innovative and frugal costumes. Children can also help decorate and even set up a “haunted house” for the spookily special night.

Thanksgiving also provides an opportunity for lots of family-focused fun. Preparing for the big day of food, family, and, yes, football, takes a lot of work, and kids will enjoy helping shop for decorations and make the food. It is actually very educational for kids to help in the kitchen, and even the youngest kids can help to stir cake batter or set a festive table.

Make Christmas-time special with regular movie nights, screening all of the best Christmas movies as the big day approaches. To make it even more special, encourage and assist children with making presents for their family members rather than buying them. Pinterest and the blogosphere, especially, are chock-full of easy and beautiful crafting ideas for any skill-level! Families can also enjoy a night of making paper-chains and stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree. These simple crafts can be done easily while watching a movie and sipping hot chocolate.

In the calmer days after Christmas, families will enjoy getting back to a normal routine and putting away all of the decorations and complications of the holiday season. Still, don’t lose sight of precious opportunities for wintry fun. Baking cookies together occasionally, having “chore days” to get the family outside tidying the yard and planning for a spring garden, making Valentines for school, and scheduling regular movie nights complete with snacks, blankets, and pillows are simple ways to pass the time and build bonds as a family.

Winter often seems endless. Soon, however, spring and summer will return and the family will enjoy vacations and summer camps and trips that draw the attention outward; for now, enjoy the close-knit wintry evenings focused on the family.

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