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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth S

Budget friendly outside family activities

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

If your family is like mine, about mid January is when we all start getting cabin fever. So we came up with a bucket list if you will of budget friendly activities everyone can enjoy. Ice fishing is our favorite.

1. Ice fishing

If you live in an area where ice fishing happens, share this experience with your kids! This activity is definitely one of our family’s favorite things to do! Make sure you dress warm and go with an experienced angler that knows what they’re doing and how to stay safe. It really is a lot more fun than most people think.

2. Make a birdfeeder

Winter is the perfect time to feed your local backyard birds and observe them. Make a pine cone bird feeder using peanut butter and birdseed. Then hang it outside a window where you'll get to see the birds enjoy the treat each day. There are so many other great ways to make simple bird feeders with kids. Set some up in your yard where you can easily observe them from a window and let your kids watch the fun (and drama!) that is backyard birding.

3. Build a snowman

Have a snowman challenge with your family or neighbors. Give out prizes for the most creative and best-looking snow person around.

4. Build snow castles

Sandcastles are all the rage in the summer, but building snow castles can be just as much fun! Get out your sandcastle building equipment (cups, bowls, shovels, etc.) and do the same in the snow! Create elaborate castles with moats and leaf flags. Bring out the army men, Barbies or characters and make an entire town. Add some colored water to give it a whole new look! There are so many fun things to build in the snow.

5. Snowball Fight Have a snowball fight. If your kids are different ages/sizes, set a few "ground rules" up front.

6. Go sledding

Go sledding together. Don't forget to bundle up and bring some hot cocoa

7. Make snow angels

There’s nothing more tempting after a snowfall than jumping onto a fresh slate of snow and making snow angels. See if you can come up with any other kinds of creatures, and just have fun in the snow together.

8. Go ice bowling

Keep your kids outside and occupied for hours with ice bowling! All you need are 10 water bottles and a balloon. Fill all the water bottles with colored water and place them outside or in the freezer to freeze solid. Leave room at the top or leave the lid off to give the water room to expand as it freezes so it doesn’t distort the bottom of the bottle, keeping them from standing upright on a flat surface. Fill a round balloon with water and freeze to make a round bowing ice ball. Once it’s all frozen solid, take outside and set up a bowling lane! The bottles are the pins and the ice water balloon is the ball. Teach your kids how to keep score.

9. Go geocaching

Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity for kids no matter what the season. As long as your location isn’t buried under tons of snow, geocaching is a great way to get outside and explore during the cold winter months. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting, with the GPS on your phone as a guide. Caches can be found nearly anywhere these days and kids have a blast finding them! Bring along a few trinkets to trade and mark them down as a smiley! Not sure how to do it, a quick google search will result in countless blogs about it.

10. Paint your windows

While technically an indoor activity, this is one that is worth including on the list. Use washable paint, dry erase markers, and gel clings.

11. Hibernation hunt

There are lots of animals that hibernate through the cold winter months. We all know about bears and immediately think of them in dark caves. However, chipmunks, bats, turtles, snakes, hedgehogs, frogs, skunks, and prairie dogs all hibernate as well. Studying hibernation is a great wintertime activity. Pair your study with a hibernation habitat hunt (or hike) and let the kids look for places they think animals might hibernate. Look for dens, burrows or hollowed-out tree trunks. This is more of an i-spy activity and identifying potential habitats. Stay away from any place you think might be housing an animal, as we don’t want to disturb any hibernating animals.

12. Find winter constellations

Cold (and early) dark winter nights are the perfect time to teach kids about the constellations. Stargazing is a great outdoor winter activity for kids. In the winter, there are six constellations that you can usually find in the night sky: Orion, Taurus, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, and Aurigo. These constellations are known as the “Winter Six.”

Feel free to print this list out and come back and tell us which activities where your family's favorite!

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Samantha Al-Salhi
Samantha Al-Salhi
Jan 23, 2021

Geocaching is so much fun. My kids get a kick out of it and they get to go “hiking” in town. We use the app called Geocaching.

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