10 Low or No Cost Family Fun Activities for Winter

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Ahh, the holidays! A time for spending a bunch of money doing things because everyone else is doing them and buying stuff you don’t need or even want. Well not us! This  year we’ve decided to simplify the holiday season and scale back on the spending at the same time. We’ve never really gone too over the top with gifts and activities but this year there will be a difference that our family will notice. So to help lessen the impact this will have on my kids’ enjoyment of the season I’ve put together a list of Low or No Cost Winter Family Fun activities that we can do together to celebrate the season.


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #1-go tobogganing

Actually do this with your kids. Slide down hills, roll around in the snow, really do this with them instead of watching from the side with a cup of hot coffee counting the minutes until it is over. I promise you won’t freeze to death (if you’re smart about it anyway. Don’t go out when there is a frostbite advisory or anything.) low cost winter family fun
This is my best friend’s family out enjoying a day of tobogganing. She has always been great at getting out and enjoying all that winter has to offer


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #2-build a snowman

The biggest snowman your kids have ever seen. Don’t forget the carrot for the nose and some sticks and rocks and other accessories to make your snowman come to life. But not really alive, I don’t advocate dabbling in black magic/animation of inanimate objects part one low cost family fun
Building a snowman is always a good family activity. Build one in your yard with accessories you have on hand and this is a no cost activity for you


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #3-bake cookies

You know the ones. The full-on, pain in the ass, roll out, cut out, decorate ‘em up, sugar cookies in fun holiday shapes. You can buy cookie cutters for cheap at the thrift store and make a super easy buttery decorator icing to frost them with. Add sprinkles and your kids will love you forever. part one low cost winter family fun
Your cookies probably will not look like this unless your kids are older. That’s ok. Making memories is usually not about perfection

Pro Tip: Make a small batch. I’m not lying when I say these are a pain in the ass and the more cookies you have the sooner your kids will lose interest and you’ll be alone decorating a million sugar cookie snowflakes


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #4-snuggle up in front of the fireplace and read your favourite Christmas story

the fireplace channel works too. The important thing is it has the soft glow of a warm fire and that wonderful crackling sound that burning wood makes. part one low cast winter family fun
We don’t have a fireplace in our home so we rely on the fireplace channel our cable provider has during the holidays. It looks ok but man do I miss the warmth provided by a wood burning fireplace. There is nothing quite like it


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #5-make special hot chocolate from scratch.

It is as easy as heating some milk (the more fat content the creamier it will be), mixing in some of your favourite chocolate until it melts, and putting a few mini marshmallows on top. Drink while you watch the snow fall. part one low cost winter family fun
This is the most amazing looking cup of hot cocoa I have ever seen!

Low Cost Family Fun Idea #6-Google close up snowflake photography and see how truly beautiful those little falling pieces of frozen water really are

Then pull out some paper and scissors and try to recreate some of them using the old fold and cut method of making snowflakes. Even if you don’t get them exactly right you’ll have some great snowflakes to decorate your windows with when you’re done. part one low cost winter family fun
You can find some absolutely amazing things in nature. Snowflakes are probably one of the most incredibly beautiful things that most people never think to really look at


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #7-make Christmas cards

or just write heartfelt messages on some old store-bought ones that you already have on hand. Save on postage and hand deliver to neighbours, friends, family, etc. part one low cost winter family fun
Simple Holiday Cards are the best because then the message inside takes centre stage (and my less than stellar crafting skills don’t matter as much)


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #8-build a gingerbread village

You can buy one of the ready-made kits but we’ve found it easiest (and cheapest) to make them out of graham crackers and leftover icing and sprinkles from the cookie making day. part one low cost winter family fun
This is one the village kits that we had purchased last year. They were a little complicated for the kids and the icing was too soft but they had a lot of fun creating their own little houses


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #9-Go for a walk around your neighbourhood

This is most magical on an evening after a fresh, heavy snowfall. I am always amazed at how quiet it is. part one low cost winter family fun
The hush that comes over the neighbourhood after a heavy snowfall is something you need to experience with your family. Just bundle up and head out to enjoy the silence together


Low Cost Family Fun Idea #10-take some family photos

Don’t worry about making them perfect, just make sure you are all in them. Set a timer, take them selfie style, or ask a friend to snap some for you. Having photos to look back on helps keep the fun memories fresh in your mind. part one winter family fun
This was Christmas Eve the first time we did the matching pyjamas thing. I have no idea what we’re watching but I’m so happy to have this photo of us all snuggled up together 

That is it for the first instalment the Winter Family Fun Series. If you’re looking for more inexpensive winter activities to do with your family head over here to check out part two and then over here to check out part three. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and like and follow my social media accounts to be kept up to date on all things Secular Homemaker!

See you Soon!

Chantal, the Secular Homemaker

Posted by chantal

Hi, I'm Chantal. I'm a mediocre stay at home mom to two hilarious, and frequently frustrating, small humans and an even more mediocre wife to an equally hilarious, but slightly less frustrating, grown up man. I like writing, powerlifting, eating, long afternoon naps, and laughing at my own jokes.

11 thoughts on “10 Low or No Cost Family Fun Activities for Winter”

  1. I just googled ‘close up snowflake photography and wow! Absolutely stunning. So beautiful. I’m a huge fan of fancy hot chocolates and snuggling up in front of the fire. I’m going to try and make some Christmas cards this year too. So much fun 🙂

    1. I love close up snowflakes! I used to have a big coffee table book of just close up snowflake photography but little hands got hold of it and it became a pile of snowflake photo confetti 🙂

    1. That is definitely on the list! It’s tough finding games for little kids and I’m getting pretty tired of my 3yo cheating at Candyland 😀

  2. It can be really hard to be stuck inside all winter with the kids. They easily get boarded since my kids are so active. Love this list! So many great ideas.

    1. It’s so hard to get the motivation to get outside in the winter isn’t it? My kids start tearing around the house if we don’t get out often enough 😂

  3. Thank you for sharing! 💚 and I love how honest you are with some projects. The pain in the ass sugar cookies had me laughing!

    1. Haha that’s how I keep myself sane. You have to be able to laugh at some of the more difficult parts of parenting or you’ll just get overwhelmed 😄

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