As the nights draw in and the icy winter weather bites, it’s always good to have a few family-friendly activities lined up to help while away the boredom, especially once the excitement of Christmas has come and gone. We’ve chosen our favourite winter activities for kids. And the best thing about them is they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
If the weather man is right, the UK is set to see the white stuff. Bad news for anyone battling his or her way to work but fantastic news if you love snowball fights, snowman building and sledging. And we do! If you wake up one morning to find a blanket of white outside your window, embrace nature at its beautiful best, get out there and have some seriously snowy fun with the family.
It can be tempting to camp down in front of the TV when the weather draws in but so much fun can be had with a few felt tips, coloured crayons, paper and glue. Get out your glitter, dust off your paint pots and get the whole family involved in spot of creative craftwork. Making a mess can be lots of fun, especially for working parents who don’t get to play much during the working week.
A trip to the park can be a chilly affair once the temperatures drop. But you can make it a fun outing for the whole family by packing a winter picnic to take along with you. Fill it with flasks of hot chocolate and a supply of marshmallows to float on top and include yummy treats like warm sausage rolls, cupcakes and afternoon tea-style finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course). Is your mouth watering yet…?
Sometimes the old fashioned activities are the best. Everyone loves to feast on a delicious homemade cake or biscuit but when was the last time you got everyone involved in the baking? Organise your own exclusive family ‘Bake Off’ when it’s too cold to venture outside. Work in teams and judge each other’s culinary skill. Then when you’re finished, you can all sit down together and munch on the results.
If you’re fed up waiting for the snow, you can all make your own snowy scene with a few empty jam jars, water, glitter and glycerin. Choose a favourite mini plastic toy or create a figure with polymer clay and glue it to the underside of the jam jar lid. Wait until it’s set, and then fill each jar with water and a tablespoon of glycerin and some sparkly glitter. Screw on the lids and flip your jar over and you’ve made your own snowy landscape for the family mantelpiece.
Our feathered garden friends get very hungry at this time of year and feeding them can be another great excuse to get outside. You can buy birdseed at your local garden centre or, better still, why not make your own bird feeders? It’s a simple activity you can do together and with no high tech equipment required. Simply cut 20cm lengths of string, firmly knotting one end, then carefully thread Cheerios onto the string and hang your tasty bird treats from trees all around the garden. Budding bird watchers can enjoy watching to see who flies by for a quick snack.
Why not gather the winter coats together and put on a cosy hat and scarf and embrace the beautiful outdoors. There is nothing better than a winter walk to get the whole family moving and feeling positive. It is also a great way to burn off all those Christmas snacks.
Woods are perfect for winter walks. We are helping our like-minded friends at the Woodland Trust raise awareness of the importance of protecting and creating woodland, so that it can be enjoyed by everyone – now and in years to come. Wherever you are in the UK, you’re sure to be close to a Woodland Trust wood. Explore our interactive map here to discover some of our favourites.
(and remember, enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t cost a penny!)
Watching the TV is about as unimaginative as it gets, so why not set up your own exclusive family cinema instead? Have fun casting votes on what to watch and set up your viewing area with lots of comfy cushions and blankets to snuggle in. Younger family members can make tickets for the upcoming screening and prepare drinks and popcorn to nibble on. Grown ups might even get to relax back with a glass of wine during the show.
You can become a National Trust member which enables you, another adult and up to five children free entry into one of the many beautiful historical homes and gardens dotted throughout the UK. Most of them have a packed calendar of events throughout the winter months and offer great family activities to keep everyone occupied. They usually have a pretty good café too, well stocked with warming winter fare and some great cakes!