Skip to content

How to parent smarter not harder.

View all articles

Thinking Parenting Blog

10 fun ideas for winter family time

When the days are short and it’s cold outside, it can be hard to come up with creative ideas for fun family time. Then, before you know it, everyone has retreated to their personal screens and the moment has been missed. So, in my quest to save you time and boost your family happiness, I’ve done the thinking for you and come up with 10 fun ideas for winter family time. I’m sure you can find at least one thing in here that sparks your imagination!

(Spoiler: Some of these ideas for winter family time do involve screens. If you are specifically looking for no-screen/low tech activities, check out this list: 20 low tech family time ideas).

Board game tournament

The choice of games and the tournament rules are up to you. You could do one marathon afternoon or spread this out over several weeks with different games and a leader board. If computer games are more your kids’ thing, why not join in? Video games that involve driving or virtual sports are especially good for this! If you want some tips on how to excite your children about board games (or you are worried it will all end in arguments), check out this great book: The Board Game Family. Or feel free to play a card game tournament instead using these family card game ideas.

Best hot chocolate competition

This can involve visiting different local cafes (a great excuse for getting the kids out for an afternoon walk!). Or perhaps a regular weekend judging slot where different family members get creative with whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles. If you have little ones, play in teams. You’ll need a notebook for keeping score (or take photos) and why not go all the way and make scoring paddles?!


Talking of photos, there are so many family activities you can design around photography. And given that we all have those amazing cameras in our phones, why not put them to good use! You could run a mystery photo competition in which each person takes a photo of a place or item in your home or garden (or use the local park) and the others have to guess what it is. Or, you can coax everyone out on a walk to take photos to make a special birthday card for Grandma or to put into a digital photo frame.

Curate your memories

If you already have way too many photos, why not make a family yearbook together? This is a lovely way to preserve memories and if you do it all together as a family, then you get a wonderful peek into your child’s mind. What do they remember from this last year? What mattered most to them? It could be as simple as curating a digital photo album or you could make a scrap book with ticket stubs and programmes and drawings by little ones.

Walk on the beach

Yes, I know it’s winter – but that is the absolutely best time to walk on a beach! Grab your woolly hats, wellies and waterproofs and head to the coast.

Firepit fun

If you are nowhere near the beach but do have a garden, then harness the power of fire to captivate the kids. The dark evenings mean you don’t need to stay up late for this and there is something truly magical about firelight in winter. Why not go the whole way and decorate with outdoor fairy lights too?! You could even try some simple cooking on your campfire. (This one’s good for using up leftover marshmallows from the hot chocolate competition – not that there are ever ‘left over’ marshmallows in my home!)


Getting involved in doing things for others is not only good for children’s emotional development, it also boosts happiness and wellbeing. You could harness your family’s unique talents to fundraise for a local charity or volunteer all together to help out in aid of a good cause. Older children can help with creating fundraising pages and documenting your progress.

Movie night

If all that sounds a little energetic, don’t underestimate the power of a regular family movie night. You could work your way through a series or take turns to choose the film. Make it a bit special by setting up the living room cinema style and providing blankets and popcorn. We use projector on the wall for that extra cinematic effect (and in the warmer months, we move our movie nights outside!).

Summer planning

Winter is the perfect time to start planning your summer. Get the kids involved in researching holiday destinations or summer activities (don’t forget to give them a budget or their expectations might get carried away!). You could even have a Dragons Den moment with each family member pitching their ideas on things they want the family to do next summer or places they want to go.


Never underestimate the power of a long snuggly cuddle to connect with your kids and make everything better. Cuddles are good all year round but are especially good in winter…..

So, there you have it, 10 fun ideas for winter family time – do let me know how you get on! And, if you want some ideas specifically for teenagers, do take a look at these Fun family activities to tempt teens off tech.

photo of two children outside to illustrate article on fun ideas for winter family time

Share this article:

The Work/Parent Switch.

By Anita Cleare

Not sure where to start?

Practical tips on how to be the parent your child needs and create happy family dynamics (but still do your job!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

photo of happy family on a beach to illustrate parenting tips for a harmonious family holiday

Positive parenting tips for a harmonious family holiday

Family holidays are great. They are the stuff that memories are made of – full of relaxed time and laughter, the true essence and point of childhood. Well, that’s the theory, anyway! In...

photo pf a girl on a bike in the summer in article on positive parenting by parenting expert Anita Cleare

A positive parenting toolkit for the school holidays

The school holidays are upon us and I know how busy you are. So, I thought I’d help you save time on your holiday prep and bring together in one place all the positive parenting strategies...

photos of book covers with play ideas for busy parents in article by parenting expert Anita Cleare

Play ideas for busy parents

Let’s face it, the pandemic has been more than a little challenging for working parents with young children. What with homeschooling and lockdowns and blurred boundaries between work and home,...

photo of smiling teenager in article on how to get a teenager ut of their bedroom by parenting expert Anita Cleare

How to get a teenager out of their bedroom

A few years ago, I wrote a series of posts on family activities for teenagers. The emphasis was on exciting, physically active, low tech ideas – including suggestions for winter, spring and...