Christmas and then Spring Break are coming up, and even for those not in school, it's that time of year when we all start craving a break from the norm. With the cold weather lingering longer than usual in many areas, you're bound to be dreaming of fun in the sun. But if a vacation in the Bahamas isn't in the cards for you right now, don't worry! There are a ton of fun things you can do around your own home to give your family just the break it needs! Here are 10 cold weather staycation ideas.
1. State Parks. Check online for information about your local state parks and forests. Many will accommodate winter hiking or have trails for cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing. Look into rental equipment either at the park, or at a local sports shop.
2. Ice rinks. Ice skating is a fun indoor or outdoor activity when there's cold weather. Plan a fun time at a rink, either on a lake or pond in your city or at an ice arena. Even your local YMCA may have an ice rink. Call around! Some rinks will rent skates, otherwise check with local sports stores for rental information.
3. A night at the museum. Chances are there's a fun museum or two within driving distance of your home. Look online to find the right kinds of museums for your family. Children's Museums are great for younger kids because they offer a lot of interactive and hands-on experiences. Remember your children's interests – perhaps art museums are a good fit, or natural history. There are also a lot of smaller museums that are lesser known with specialized interests from the local culture or history – like WWII museums, Fish museums, Old West Museums, etc. Check online to see what's offered in your area.
4. A book feast. Take the whole family to the library and stock up on your favorite kinds of books. Experiencing the library is fun in itself! But when you come home, make a giant blanket or cardboard fort so you can all enjoy the books together! You could turn the books into a whole theme week where you try activities and foods mentioned in the books and do art projects inspired by them.
5. Botanical gardens. Visit your local botanical gardens. Check online to see if there are city or university owned greenhouses or gardens. You'll enjoy the bright colors and the warm climate will make you feel like it's summertime!
6. Indoor games. Try out some of your favorite indoor games as a whole family. Look for bowling, mini golf, laser tag or indoor paintball (depending on the age of your kids). It'll be fun and good exercise. Just look online to get ideas of prices and locations.
7. Arcades! Travel back to your childhood by taking the family to a good old-fashioned arcade! There are tons of options for video games, interactive dance games, air hockey, and pinball. Plus, some arcades offer other fun options, like carousels, bumper cars, indoor playgrounds or bowling. You can pack a whole lot of fun into one arcade visit.
8. Get theatrical. Check around town or within a days drive to find some concerts, musicals, operas, plays or other fun theatre events. You can check for specific interests your family has – like orchestras or local rock bands for music lovers, or ballets for those who love dance. Kids' plays are a great way to introduce younger family members to theatre.
9. Camp in the yard. Yep, it's cold. If you're adventurous, that won't stop you! This is a good idea if you've got a fire pit you can use to keep warm! Tent up, add a ton of warm sleeping bags and blankets and show your kids how to be outdoorsy even in the snow! You can tell ghost stories, make s'mores, do shadow puppets with flashlights and sing camp songs!
10. Board game tournaments. Host a board game night with friends and other families. Pick your favorite game (or games) and play several rounds to determine the ultimate winner or FAMILY of winners! Make sure to provide plenty of snacks and get some simple prizes for winners (like giant candy bars).
What do you like to do for fun when it is cold outside?