The Ultimate Winter Bucket List for You and Your Little Ones

In need of winter activities for kids that the whole family will enjoy? We’ve come up with 50 fun things to add to your winter bucket list.
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By Holly Pevzner, Contributing Writer
Updated November 15, 2023
child wrapped in blanket drinking hot chocolate during winter time
Image: Seamarias

Drawing up a summer bucket list for the family is easy-peasy. It’s warm out, the park and playground are free activities and kids want to frolic and get their wiggles out. Creating a winter bucket list, however, is much trickier. The chilly temps, icy conditions and all those drippy noses can make curating fun and memorable winter activities for kids much harder. Lucky for you, we’ve gone ahead and pulled together our 50 favorite must-dos of the season to add your family’s winter bucket list.

1. Build a Snowman

Or woman. Or dog. Or car. Better yet, write down a bunch of silly choices and have everyone in the family blindly choose which snow-thing they’re tasked with making.

2. Start a Family Read-Aloud

Grab a book (maybe one you loved as a kid yourself) that the whole family would enjoy and start a new habit.

3. Go Cuckoo for Cocoa

Punctuate any and all winter activities for kids with this A+ it’s-cold-outside beverage. Extra points if you get whipped cream, marshmallows and/or peppermint sticks to toss in too.

4. “Elf” Someone

Secretly leave a basket of treats at a neighbor’s door, ring the doorbell and run. Don’t forget to leave a note that encourages the family to keep the fun going.

5. Catch a Holiday Show

It can be A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage, The Nutcracker ballet, Elf the Musical or the local high school production.

6. Create a Holiday Feast for the Animals

If you live outside the city, decorate a tree in your yard or the woods with edible ornaments, like peanut butter-covered pinecones and cranberry garlands.

7. Make a Gingerbread House

And let the kids eat it all up! Pro tip: Gingerbread House kits are super-cheap after Christmas. Scoop them up and turn them into sweet winter cottages all season long.

8. Have a Disney Marathon

It’s Walt Disney’s birthday on December 5th. Why not celebrate with a Disney movie marathon? (Mickey ears for all is a must in our book!)

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9. Make Snow Angels

This means the person behind the camera too. Everyone on the ground!

10. Donate, Donate, Donate

Gather clothes and gently used toys to give to charity, non-perishables to food pantries and used blankets and towels to animal shelters.

11. Make Homemade Gifts

Cookies, candies, breads, popsicle stick picture frames—it doesn’t matter what it is, it only matters that your kiddo used their hands to create it.

12. Have a Winter Picnic

It may seem a little unconventional, but with a Thermos full of cocoa, a warm blanket, lots of layers and your kiddo’s favorite book, it could make for a magical reading spot.

13. Host a Cookie Exchange Party

Encourage all the kiddos to bring their own no-bake cookie options to trade.

14. Visit the Holiday Lights

If you can, drive around to look at the lights while the kids (and you!) are in their jammies and munching on some holiday popcorn.

15. Go Sledding

As long as it’s done safely, sledding makes for wonderful winter childhood memories. Again, remember to put to the camera and take a few rides yourself.

16. Tackle a Giant Puzzle

Commit to taking over the dining room table for a several days and ask for everyone’s help. (Older kids are great at finding edge pieces.)

17. Make Ornaments

No matter if it’s salt dough ornament or made from the kits you get at the craft store, it’s a sweet tradition to add to your annual winter bucket list.

18. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Take a photo of an icicle! Collect three pine cones! Find animal tracks! You get the idea.

19. Celebrate the Winter Solstice

The shortest day (and longest night) falls on December 21st. Celebrate by making luminaries and lanterns.

20. Go Snow Bowling

Fill some water balloons with colored water and freeze them, then peel off the balloons and use these ice balls for a round of outdoor bowling. (Use empty cans and plastic bottles for the pins.)

21. Have a Beach Party

A winter activity for kids that’s sure to melt the winter blues! Pull those sand shovels and buckets out of storage and make snow castles in the yard.

22. Stay in Your PJs All Day

A must on any winter bucket list. Enjoy the coziness of the season—perhaps in matching family PJs.

23. Write Thank You Notes

Start teaching kids about gratitude early on by having them write (or dictate) thank you notes to friends and loved ones for all those holiday gifts.

24. Take a Train Ride

All aboard Amtrak! If you’re traveling this season, consider going by train. You’re technically indoors and the kids get to get their choo-choo on. Win, win!

25. Start a Crafts Bin

Take the scissors to the holiday card pile, gather gift ribbons and wrapping paper and toss it all in a box to be used for kid crafts throughout the year.

26. Paint the Yard

When your backyard piles up with snow, fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and channel your inner-Picasso.

27. Make S’Mores

Roast them over a fire pit in the yard, in your fireplace, over the gas flame of your stove or in the microwave—it tastes delicious any way!

28. Host Family Game Night

Invite family friends over and make kid-friendly board games the shared activity of choice. A classic addition to your family winter bucket list.

29. Go on a Sleigh Ride

See if there are any farms, resorts or festivals in your area that offer them.

30. Check out a Polar Plunge

You don’t have to run into the icy cold water yourselves (brr), but it’s pretty fun to watch.

31. Make a New Year’s Wish List

Ask everyone in the family what they wish for the group in the coming year, write it all down and hang it up for a feel-good reminder. Talk about #goals.

32. Take a Festive Family Picture

Mark your calendar to do it the same time next year, and the year after that, and so on. As a perennial winter bucket list item, it’s a fun way to see your little ones grow over the years.

33. Try a Winter Sport

Ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, hockey—pick one (or several) and give it a go. Team family!

34. Make Candy Cane Dust

Crush up all those leftover candy canes, toss them in some Tupperware and use them to add flair to frosting, ice cream, cake batter or really anything.

35. Create Paper Snowflakes

Fun winter activities for kids don’t always have to happen outside. Dust the snowflakes with glitter afterward for some seasonal magic.

36. Go Swimming

Find a nearby indoor pool or water park and spend a day cannonballing to escape the winter cold.

37. Blow Bubbles and Watch Them Freeze

Instead of using your summer bubbles, mix 3 cups water, 1 cup dish soap and a 1/2 cup light corn syrup—and blow, baby, blow. Make sure it’s below freezing outside (and you and the kiddos are properly bundled).

38. Spread Smiles

Go for a walk and use your fingers to draw smiley faces on all the snow-covered car windshields you see.

39. Have a Pooh Party

Need some more winter activities for kids? Take a glance at the calendar: It’s Winnie the Pooh Day on January 18th. Why not have a tea (with honey!) party in his honor?

40. Make Snow Cream

With a wooden spoon, fold a 10-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla into about 10 cups of freshly fallen snow (key word: fresh), and enjoy!

41. Host a Winter Olympics

Gather the neighbors, make some medals out of cardboard and play all your favorite snow sports.

42. Go Camping in the Living Room

Break out the sleeping bags, build a huge fort and take turns telling “campfire” stories. Extra credit if you’ve got the fireplace roaring.

43. Have a Snowball Fight

A real one that involves hiding behind snow shelters and sneaking up on kids. Make sure the “Bellies, Bottoms and Backs Only” rule is in play from the get-go.

44. Make an Indoor Sandbox

Find a long, shallow plastic bin (with a lid), fill it with play sand and let the kids go to town. Just remember to have the vacuum at the ready.

45. Take a Snowy Hike

You can’t leave an outdoor adventure off your winter bucket list! Bundle the kids in snowsuits, and don’t forget the Thermos of hot chocolate.

46. Play Tic-Tac-Toe in the Snow

Grab some sticks, head to the park or backyard and play a big ol’ game of tic-tac-toe in the snow.

47. Go Snow Tubing

It’s not the same as sledding—it’s better. You can do it at most ski mountains.

48. Have Super Bowl Dinner

Older kids love bar food. While your family watches the big game, enjoy a dinner feast of wings, seven layer dip, pigs in a blanket and more. You can load up on veggies the next day.

49. Bring the Snow Inside

Too cold to play outdoors? Fill a plastic bin with snow, put it in the tub and let your kiddo play away. Winter activities for kids don’t get much easier than this.

50. DIY Your Valentine’s Day Cards

Because heartfelt messages feel extra-special when presented in a handmade card. Grab that crafts bin you prepared and let your little ones unleash their creativity.

Save some of our favorites with this winter checklist:

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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