By Kristine Munroe • January 12, 2015
Instead of having the winter blahs, my family likes to make the most out of the season. I go against my instinct to hibernate and use the snow as an opportunity to do some fun winter-activities. Some activities can get very costly (think skiing and snowboarding) but there are also plenty of ways to get outside that don’t break the bank!
One of my favorite snow activities as a kid was sledding. Nothing was more fun than waking up on a snowy morning, hearing on the radio that school was cancelled for the day, and running outside with the neighborhood kids to the nearest hill. It was hours of fun for practically free! There are lots of types available, but as a kid I loved saucer-style sleds. Target has a great saucer/sled for less than $20.
Another snow activity I love is snowshoeing. I don’t know how to ski or snowboard, but last winter I had a yen to try a new snow activity. Snowshoeing is awesome because there’s no learning curve, just strap on a pair of snowshoes and start walking. It’s good exercise, too! Last year I found a farm that rented snowshoes and allowed you to snowshoe through the premises. It was so picturesque and a wonderful way to get some sunshine and fresh air even though it was cold out. My son and I enjoyed snowshoeing so much that I realized it would actually be more economical to buy inexpensive pairs of snowshoes instead of renting them each time. You can get a pair of snowshoes for only $15. If you end up deciding to be a serious snowshoer, there are more expensive ones available, but these are good for getting started or for kids just getting interested.
Ice skating is a fun, family activity that you can do on the cheap. Lots of cities have outdoor rinks and all you have to bring are your ice skates. You can either rent a pair at the rink or buy some. If you want some nicer ones, you can check craigslist or local yard sale groups. Sometimes you’ll find them in near mint condition but for a low price. If you have young kids don’t know how to skate well, you can look for double-runner style skates to help them stay upright!
If you want to go skiing or snowboarding this winter, there are ways to prevent that from breaking the bank. There are some awesome deals if you check out Groupon or LivingSocial. If you can get a weekday off of work, lots of ski resorts offer weekday discounts.
Not outdoorsy or can’t stand the snow? There are lots of indoor things to help get you through the winter. My family loves museums. In fact, we usually have one membership a year to a favorite museum. Last year we did the Children’s Museum and this year we’re doing the Museum of Science. Museum memberships are great because whenever we’re bored and the weather is lousy, we can just pop into the museum for a few hours. We usually break even on the membership cost pretty quickly, so we certainly get our money’s worth. Many local libraries offer discounted museum passes. Make sure you check the museum’s website to check for any discounts. I discovered that the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut gives discounts if you show a club card for a local supermarket and lots of museums will also offer a AAA discount.
Or just stay home. If you don’t want to leave the house, make something warm in the Crockpot. I love mulled cider, spicy chili, and beef stew. Or bake some cinnamon rolls, cookies, or a loaf of homemade bread. Fill the house with some aromatic comfort food and fill your tummies up, too. Binge watch a new show as a family, do arts and crafts, or build a robust Lego creation.
Enjoy the rest of your winter and before you know it, you’ll be playing outside and planning for the summer!
Kristine Munroe Kristine Munroe is a freelance blogger living outside of Boston with her husband and 5 year old son, Isaac. When she's not being a social media junkie, she's spending time with Isaac and finding fun stuff to do around New England.