Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Keeping Busy in the Winter for Free

My quest for a more frugal life has been going really well but I have found one challenge has been finding things to do with the family.  I am one for making memories and keeping busy but with trying to spend less money I have found that we are going out a lot less.  So I started a list of things that we could do in our area in the Winter that would cost us nothing.  But along with Winter in Ottawa comes some freezing cold weather and icy snowy conditions so I need to be realistic and think about the fact that a lot of the time we simply need to just stay inside.  So I decided that I also needed to find things to do in our house to keep everyone happy.

Outdoor Winter Activities
For Free

  1. Skating * We are very lucky as we have a few outdoor rinks around us, some are perfect for the girls who are just learning to skate and others that are set up for adult hockey games.
  2. Make a Snowman * This one has been difficult for us as the snow here just keeps turning into ice.  But we are hopeful to get some nice sticky snow and get out there and build a big round snowman.
  3. Make Snowcastles / Snowfort * We take out our buckets and shovels from the summer and use them the same way you would with sand, along with a fort for the girls to play in.
  4. Walk in the Woods * We have some amazing trails right beside our house.  Looking for animal tracks is a great way to spend an afternoon.
  5. Feeding the Chickadees * The Jack Pine Trails are not far away and are full of chickadees this time of year.  Go with some bird seed and they will fly right onto your hand to eat.
  6. Sledding * There are hills everywhere, from our park around the corner to larger hills all over the city, like in Walter Baker Park.  Not sure where to find a hill near you, check out
  7. Winterlude * From ice sculptures to skating on the Canal there are tons of free things to do with the whole family. Click here for more details.
  8. Snow Painting * All you have to do is take a spray bottle fill with food colouring and water and spray away.
  9. The Park * My girls love the park just as much with the snow, plus it makes for some speedy rides down the slides.
  10. Snowball Fights * I don't think this needs any explanation and everyone knows just how fun these can be :)
Indoor Winter Activities
For Free 
  1. Painting * Put down the drop clothes and pull out the paints.  We did this on the weekend you can see the pictures here
  2. Playdough * Always a big hit and very creative.  Here is the recipe I use to make my playdough.
  3. Crafts * Really I have far to many to even list.  Have you been on Pinterest yet?  All I can say is AMAZING, so many great ideas all in one place.
  4. Cooking * Trying out new recepies and including the girls when it is safe to.  Its a great way to keep things interesting when you start to get those Winter Blues
  5. Baking * This is one that the kids will always be happy to join you in doing.  There is something so soothing about creating in the kitchen through both baking and cooking.
  6. Redecorating * Now I don't mean going out and buying new things, I mean moving around what you have or finding new purposes for items in your house.  I love change so moving around our furniture is pretty common in our house.
  7. Picnics * Pack up a picnic basket, pick a spot in the house, lay out your blanket and have a nice picnic.  Fun with kids but also a fun romantic idea with lots of candles.
  8. Camping * Make a fort and a play camp fire roast your marshmallows sing songs and tell scary stories.  Have extra glowsticks in the house?  You can always add those to the fire for an added touch.  Bonus is that it get dark so early you can turn off the lights and play with the flashlights all well before bedtime.
  9. Movie Night * Pop some popcorn, light the fire, and cuddle on the couch for a movie. 
  10. Read a Book * This cold weather is the perfect excuse to make a hot cup of tea and curl up under a blanket with a good book and enjoy some me time.
I am excited to already be checking things off this list and enjoying our Winter both inside and outside. 

Anyone have any indoor or outdoor activities that they like to enjoy in the Winter for free?  I would love to hear them.

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