With the winter season right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to do when it’s cold outside. Depending upon where you live, getting outside to stay active or engage in fun activities can really be difficult. And if you’re not careful, it can get expensive with your more limited indoor choices.
So what are some fun things to do when it’s cold? Take a look at this list of ideas for some frugal winter fun activities including everything from indoor sports to wine tastings to family fun.
Staying active during the winter is tricky, especially if you’re an outdoorsy person like I am. To prevent cabin fever, finding other creative ways to stay active is the ticket. Luckily, a lot of cities and town offer some free activities through their Parks and Recreation division.
Tara Naz, from the ChooseFI Facebook group, suggests, “Free city-funded ice skating once or twice a week…go for a walk in the PATH (19 miles of an underground pathway that connects public transit, office buildings, etc), tobogganing, swimming in the heated pools at the community centre.”
These are all fantastic tips, not just for her city but in many others, too. I know my city now offers free activities at the city parks and recreational centers, which I am really excited about. The cost was fairly nominal to begin with but now that it’s free, there’s almost no excuse not to partake in these opportunities.
Another ChooseFI Facebook member, Danielle Greco, mentions one of my favorite activities as an option for staying active when it’s cold. She says, “Hiking – you can see lots of animal tracks and things you might not notice when there’s no snow on the ground. Popular trails are not crowded when it’s cold either.”
Fortunately, there are a lot of different options to help keep you active during the winter. Here is a great list of free, or greatly reduced in price, things to do when it’s cold:
- Biking greenways and trails
- Hot yoga (a lot of studios will give you a free class to try it out, so check out a few different studios)
- Swimming in indoor pools
- Taking classes, many offered through community centers and colleges
Fun With Kids
Having fun with your kids when it’s cold is a whole different story. They can get bored easily, and keeping them active can help maintain a calmer household. Depending upon the age of your child, there are many different frugal options to keep them engaged.
As previously mentioned, a lot of cities and Parks and Rec departments are now offering free classes. Since many of them offer fun classes for kids, this is a great opportunity to get them involved in something new. I have taken my kids to many classes through the city programs, such as:
- Indoor soccer
- Mystery theater
- Science experiments
Another awesome idea comes from Brooke Plotnick from the ChooseFI Facebook group. She says, “Paint rocks and then go hide them in the parks.” Not only do you get to go on a rock finding adventure, but you and your kids get to show off your artistic skills by painting the rocks in your own unique style. Hiding them in a park is a great way to keep your kids active along with using their creativity.
Another spin-off of this is geocaching, where you use a GPS to find a hidden treasure location. Once you find it, you take something from the cache and leave something else in return. It’s a really fun game of hide-and-seek blended with hiking. What could be more fun?
Some other great things I have done with my kids that are free, and a lot of fun, are:
- Barnes and Noble storytime
- History museum exhibits and special events
- Indoor play area at the mall
- Library classes and scavenger hunts
- Library storytime
- Science museum storytime and meet the animals, as well as just wandering around (ours is free, but if you are an ASTC member and yours isn’t free, this can get you in for no charge to over 300 museums nationwide)
One last great tip for keeping kids entertained comes from another member of the ChooseFI Facebook group, Dillon Rhodes. He says, “If you have any Bank of America cards, they can get you into certain museums for free the first full weekend of each month.” He also shared the Bank of America link for all of the museums they partner with to take advantage of this.
As a couple, there are a multitude of things you can do when it’s cold that won’t destroy your budget. We always have fun visiting breweries, bars, restaurants, bitteries, and wine shops, but they aren’t cheap. At least, that is the case most of the time. A lot of our local breweries, bitteries, and wine shops will have free events during the winter. They are usually geared towards a specific drink or concept, but it is a great way to get out, meet other couples, and learn more about a topic.
One of my favorite options is to browse my Groupon app and see what is available. Quite frequently, Groupon will run a sale on certain events or for the entire day on everything. This is when I really try to take advantage of trying new things.
There are a lot of date options to do, both locally and within driving distance. Some of the awesome date ideas we have run across on Groupon are:
- Ax throwing
- Distillery tour with tasting and souvenir shot glass
- Foraging class
- Indoor rock climbing
- Murder mystery theater
- Mushroom growing and identification class
- Succulent class with beer
Don’t forget how much fun a winter hike or ice skating and holding hands can be also. These types of activities can get you outdoors and invigorated, which is always a plus for a date.
There are lots of options for cold-weather activities, but the biggest problem is often determining where to start. Whether you are just trying to stay active, keep your kids engaged, or want something fun do to as a couple, your choices are almost limitless. If you’re stuck or overwhelmed, pick one thing from this list that sounds like the most fun and figure out how to make it happen.
We are so lucky to have the ability to keep on the FI path and have fun at the same time!
What are some of the best things you have found to do when it’s cold that are frugal yet fun?
- Frugal Parenting: Keeping Costs Down When You Have Kids
- Podcast Episode: Planned Spontaneity With Mrs. Adventure Rich