Screen-Free Winter Family Fun at Home

January 10, 2021 Updated: January 10, 2021

The early months of the year tend to offer more at-home time than others (though most of us have been clocking record amounts of time at home of late, haven’t we?). With early sunsets and chilly temperatures outside, and with the holidays behind us, it’s a great time of year for simple family fun at home.

Rather than relying on television and digital devices for your family fun, here are some other ideas that don’t involve staring into a screen. Some of them may just turn into your fondest memories.

To further avoid the siren call of the television or those other digital devices, accompany these activities with some enjoyable background music playlist the whole family can enjoy. Good music tends to encourage activity flow and a reluctance to turn it off in favor other entertainment.

Start a Puzzle

Choose a challenging puzzle and work together to complete it. You’re all on the same team working toward the same goal. Depending on the size of the puzzle, this is an activity that can stretch over days and weeks. This fun activity teaches children perseverance and patience and ends with great satisfaction.

Enjoy an Audiobook

No screen necessary—the visuals are all in your imagination if you curl up together to listen to a family-friendly audiobook. The simplest of activities, enjoying a story together as a family is a delight. There are so many to choose from, but “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis remains my family’s long-standing favorite. Pair your listening sessions with snuggly blankets, cozy candles or a fire, and delightful snacks.

Cook Together

Of course you’ve eaten many meals together, but how many have you made together as a family? Rather than seeing “make dinner” as a job that needs to be done and one person’s duty, make this a family activity in which everyone participates. Involve everyone in different aspects: Choose a recipe, gather the ingredients, prepare the meal, set the table, enjoy the meal (of course!), and clean up after the meal. There are so many lessons inherent in cooking that your children will benefit from, not the least of which is self-sufficiency.

Camp Out (In)

Who says camping is just for the outdoors? Pitch your tent and make some s’mores! Perfect for a weekend night, delight in this break in the routine by camping out together in your very own living room. For added effects, use only your flashlights for lights and find some outdoor woodsy sound effects to play in the background.

Play Games

This list would be incomplete without the old standby—game night. It’s a standby for a reason. It’s so much fun! Set out some snacks and crack open a classic board game to play as a family. Some of my family’s favorites include Scrabble, Monopoly, Quirkle, Pictionary, and Blokus. Each of these games is fun and educational.

Create Something

Follow the lead of recent interests that may have emerged in your family and dive into a project together. Whether you’re painting, sewing, baking, woodworking, sculpting, writing, knitting, photographing, or video recording, gather some learning resources and get to work. Start and finish a project together. Who knows where this may lead!

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza