Free Indoor Fun (Because It’s Cold Outside)

A monthly family fun outing is a great way to spend time together, but our choices become more limited in colder months. Here’s a little know fact (unless you happen to know me personally to hear me complain all the time): I hate snow! It’s cold, it’s wet and it takes away my favorite activities. Gone are the trips to the park, walks on the trail and sports in the backyard. It’s time to find some free, indoor activities to bring a little fun back into my life!

  • Library: I could write sonnets about my library. Oh, how we love it! More than the books, there is story hour, special events, free activities and even classes on everything from knitting to pottery to computers! Check out the offerings at your public library and take advantage of this fantastic free resource.
  • Indoor Playgrounds: While many of these aren’t completely free, you can enjoy an inexpensive soda at Chick-Fil-A and take advantage of their free wi-fi while the little ones have a blast in the play area. Many malls also have a stretch-n-play area for younger children. If you can resist the shopping, it can be a great place to take a break while the children play.
  • The Airport: I would never have thought of this one, but my friend Jen mentioned it in her guest post on Bargain Briana. My girls love to watch the airplanes taking off when we drive by the airport. I can only imagine kids’ excitement at having a front row seat.

If you live in an area being pummeled by snow right now (as in the entire Eastern half of the United States—it’s snowing in Georgia. What is up with that?), an outing probably isn’t your first choice. It takes more time to bundle up the kids, fit seatbelts over puffy winter gear and slowly make your way down the unplowed roads than you would spend at your destination. With that in mind, I’ve also tracked down some fun, at-home activities.

  • Pajama Day: If I didn’t have to bundle up to drive the kids to and from school everyday, I’d be in pajamas all the time. Okay, let’s be honest, sometimes I drive them to school in my PJs. How do you homeschooling mamas ever motivate yourself to get dressed? When we are stuck at home, my kids are super excited when I declare PJ day. We wear our jammies all day long, watch movies, read books and most importantly—never step foot outside in the cold!
  • Build a Fort: Oh, the forts my siblings and I would make with the couch cushions, blankets and pillows. I even remember grand forts in my grandparents basement with all the cousins participating in the construction. Kids still love nothing more than creating their own hideaway. Plus, getting to move the couch cushions is a forbidden treat.
  • Board Games: Joanna shared how she uses board games as a frugal date night, but they can also be fun for the whole family. One of our favorite games is Cranium Hullabaloo. I love that this one gets them moving a bit (in a controlled environment) while they have fun with the silly instructions & game play. We especially love doing the Victory Dance.

When I ran out of my own ideas, I turned to Twitter (naturally). They really came through for me. In spades! Here are several more great ideas from frugal friends around the web:

This post is part of our New Year, New Budget series. We are concentrating on New Year’s resolutions and helping you find ways to tackle them inexpensively. Over the next few days, our articles will focus on the popular “spend more time with family” resolution with tips on fun, frugal activities you can enjoy together.


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