When the days get shorter, and temperatures drop, it’s tempting to sit on the couch wrapped up under a cozy blanket until winter passes. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a common issue that occurs in approximately five percent of U.S. adults and can impact on your mental health. Thankfully, with some creativity and a little inspiration, you can enjoy a range of fun activities to enjoy at home during the wintertime. Whether you’re spending your free time with your spouse, kids, friends, or other family members, taking part in a few activities will help you combat those winter blues. Read on to discover a wide range of fun, engaging indoor and outdoor activities to try at home this winter.
The Benefits of doing outdoor activities
Just because it’s cold outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spending time outside. There are many benefits to doing things outdoors, even if it’s in your backyard, including:
- Participating in outdoor activities and winter sports is an excellent way to get some exercise and stay in shape when you can’t head to the gym.
- Even in winter, being outside can help to combat seasonal depression and fatigue. In fact, experts at Harvard University believe that exercise can be just as good at fighting depression as taking medication.
- Enjoying a few family activities outdoors is a wonderful way to bond. Whether you want to learn snowboarding or simply want to have a fun day of sledding, it’s a great way to spend quality time together as a family.
- Going outdoors is important for your brain’s serotonin levels, and getting natural sunlight can help you feel better, even when temperatures outside are freezing. The sun allows your body to produce vitamin D, a key component that helps to prevent depression and fatigue.
If you’re planning a little trip somewhere just remember the importance of preparing your car for winter.
Winter Indoor & Outdoor Activities to do from home
There is a wide range of fun, engaging indoor and outdoor activities you can participate in at home during the winter. Here are some examples of activities to enjoy with the kids, other adults, seniors, and some things you can all enjoy doing together as a family.
Activities for kids
- Spend some time teaching your kids a few basic baking and cooking skills. Whether you learn to make homemade cookies, delicious candy, or just learn how to create simple dishes, it’s a fun and cozy way to spend time with your kids while teaching them valuable skills. Children who learn to cook have been shown to have high levels of self-confidence and excellent sensory development.
- Take some time to work on a few fun arts and crafts projects. From making gifts for the holidays to simple drawing and painting, winter is a perfect time of year to encourage your kids to get creative at home.
- If it’s snowing outside, it’s a perfect time to grab the kids and make a snow angel. You can also make a snowman or have a fun snowball fight to get some exercise.
- Let your kids help you decorate the house for the holidays or trim the tree for Christmas. They can also pitch in and help you wrap gifts for family members.
- Grab some great children’s books and coloring books for the kids to enjoy. Make homemade hot chocolate, gather around the fireplace, and have a fun storytime together.
- After a fun day outside in the snow, snuggle up together with a great family movie. Serve popcorn and other snacks and enjoy a nice evening snuggled with the kids at home.
Activities for adults
- Enjoy the peace and quiet of wintertime with a relaxing bubble bath. Let your cares slip away as you soak in the tub, and be sure to use a lovely, scented bath bomb, luscious bubble bath, or some-smelling nice bath salts to help your muscles relax. Don’t forget to light a few scented candles, too. One study showed that taking a warm or hot bath about 90 minutes before bed can help you fall asleep faster.
- Winter is a fantastic time to learn a new skill like knitting, painting, or sewing. Enroll in a virtual class or schedule some get-togethers with friends so you can work on your new hobbies together.
- Think of some fun and easy home DIY activities you can do at home during the winter, like tiling the fireplace, organizing your pantry, or installing new light fixtures to give your house a refresh.
- Take an evening winter walk around the neighborhood with your friends or partner and enjoy the cool air and crisp atmosphere.
- Winter is a great time to take a virtual class. Whether you enroll in yoga, cooking, or art, it’s a perfect season to try something new without ever having to leave the house.
Activities for seniors
Staying active during the winter is especially important for seniors. Try some indoor yoga, take a dance class, or head to the mall with some friends to do some walking during the day.
- It’s important to keep the brain active and engaged, and winter is a great time to work on a new puzzle, read a good book, or challenge yourself with some Sudoku or crossword puzzles.
- Start an indoor herb garden or grow a few houseplants that will thrive during the wintertime to maintain your green thumb. It’s also a wonderful time to learn something new about plants and discover new gardening techniques.
- Winter, particularly the holidays, is a great time to volunteer. Even if you can only give your time, helping others leads to a sense of fulfillment and gratitude.
- If the weather allows it, visit a friend and schedule a nice coffee date. It’s a great way to catch up with people in your life while maintaining social contact during this time of year.
- Seniors can also suffer from seasonal depression, so be sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D through your diet and from spending just a bit of time outside when the sun is out.
Activities to do as a family
- If you love to ski or snowboard, take the family on a fun weekend skiing trip and book a cozy chalet. You can also visit the local ice rink for some ice skating if you prefer to stay close to home.
- Organize a special family movie night or game night. Gather around the fireplace, sip on hot chocolate, and enjoy some delicious pizza and snacks.
- Hold a family craft day where you can make winter decorations, handmade Christmas cards, or delicious homemade cookies to enjoy or give away.
- Enjoy nature. Try tree growing kits for a fun family activity.
Studies show that spending quality time as a family will result in happier, more well-rounded children with fewer behavioral problems, so make the most of the season and brainstorm various things you can all do together during this cold season.
Winter safety tips
Whether you’re skating, snowboarding, or sledding down a hill, it’s important to follow a few safety tips during the cold winter season. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your family stays safe this time of year.
- When sledding, always make sure that the hills are packed with snow and never ice to avoid accidents. Sled on gentle slopes away from trees and other people.
- If you’re going ice skating, never go alone, and always make sure you’re only skating in approved areas, such as a rink rather than a pond, without proper supervision.
- Dress warm whenever you head outside in the winter. Layer your clothing and make sure you protect your face and hands from the cold.
- Shoveling snow is a great way to get in a good workout, but make sure you warm up your muscles first and take frequent breaks. Make sure someone is home while you’re shoveling just in case you need some help.
- Limit the amount of time you spend outside in the winter and take several breaks to go indoors and warm up.
- Keep in mind that drinks containing caffeine or alcohol can make you more sensitive to cold temperatures, so try to limit these when you’re outdoors and save them for later when you go back inside.
With some creativity and inspiration, it’s easy to find a range of fun, exciting things to do at home during the cold winter months. Remember to spend quality time with your kids and loved ones and come up with a few fun things you can all do together to bond. With the right tips and a little free time, you can find many great activities to enjoy in the winter, both inside your home and outdoors.