Active Winter Ideas

Focus on fitness and family fun to stay happy and healthy this holiday season

It’s easy to hibernate and become a lonely coach potato, zoning out with electronics when it’s cold and dark outside. The kids can get bored during winter break and adults often skip exercise. Prevent cabin fever in your home and stay healthy and happy with these fun activities. Remember, The American Heart Association recommends at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate intensity physical activity every day.


  • Take a family walk to a park or playground or visit a new neighborhood
  • Build a snowman, make snow angels, or go sledding
  • Have a snowball fight, or hang a target in the tree and let children take aim with snowballs
  • Catch a parade or outdoor festival
  • Go ice skating
  • Volunteer to walk the dogs at your local animal shelter
  • Participate in winter sports (snow skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, etc.)
  • Go birdwatching; make your own birdfeeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed
  • Create a nature book by collecting twigs, leaves, and flowers on a winter hike; or iron leaves or flowers between waxed paper
  • Head to the zoo
  • Make snow castles using buckets and shovels from the summer months
  • Shovel an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk or driveway
  • Visit the local botanical gardens or other public park to view the holiday lights
  • Make snow paint out of water and food coloring to paint your yard
  • Go mini golfing
  • Take a family hike at a national park
  • Bundle up and run laps at your local track


  • Build a gingerbread house or make cookies
  • Go caroling at a nursing home
  • Declutter your home and collect gently used toys, household items and clothes to donate to charity
  • Make holiday cards for sick children, veterans, or the elderly (see our Volunteer on the Spot Guide for indoor volunteer activities)
  • Find volunteer opportunities near you
  • Donate food to a soup kitchen or food bank
  • Volunteer to pack holiday food baskets or sort food donations
  • Shop for children in need (backpacks, holiday gifts, etc.)
  • Tour local museums, aquariums, science centers, or other places with free or low-cost admission
  • Make fruit baskets or homemade bread and preserves/jelly for neighbors
  • Create a scavenger hunt around your home
  • Have a family dance-off or talent show in your living room
  • Do a workout video or fitness video game or try yoga or gentle stretching
  • Start an indoor garden
  • Fight the winter blues by journaling; make a gratitude list and write encouragement cards
  • Visit the local library, take part in story time and other activities, or volunteer to read to younger children
  • Do a puzzle together
  • Have a Lego or block building competition
  • Play board and card games like Uno, Sorry, Monopoly
  • Visit friends and family, set up play dates, or meet up for coffee
  • Visit indoor playgrounds, bounce houses, or trampoline parks
  • Cook together and experiment to make your favorite holiday recipes healthier
  • Play freeze tag, charades, hopscotch or Simon Says
  • Shoot hoops at your local recreation center, take an exercise class, or swim indoors
  • Use outdoor toys (jump ropes, hula hoops, balls, push toys, etc.) inside
  • Create an indoor obstacle course or play hide and seek (you can hide a stuffed animal as well)
  • Go roller skating or bowling as a family
  • Invest in an indoor mini basketball hoop, Nerf ping pong, pool table, or air hockey table
  • Use your imagination! Build and paint cardboard boxes to create spaceships, castles and more
  • Visit an indoor rock climbing facility
  • Join (or start) a book club; don’t forget the healthy snacks
  • Take an art class or learn a new craft every week
  • Be sure children get the sleep they need
  • Set step goals and compete as a team; reward meeting goal with a fun family outing
  • Do “winter cleaning” or chores together; kids often enjoy helping rake leaves, shovel snow, wash dishes, paint, vacuum, clean closets, etc.
  • Plan a fun overnight trip to an indoor water park or hotel with a pool (find a deal on Groupon or another discount site)