20 Winter Bucket List Activities for Frugal Families

Winter may be the official holiday season, but that doesn’t mean that everything your family does has to be high-priced and overly festive.

Here are some of my favorite winter bucket list ideas!

List of Winter Activities To Do With Your Family

Snowflake Cookie Decorating

Want to turn some ordinary confections into beautiful works of art? If you do, grab your crew and mixing bowls and whip up a batch- or two- of winter-inspired cookies! A quick internet search, and you’ll have hundreds of recipes to choose from.

Still, with a stick of butter, a few eggs, some confectioner’s sugar, and your chosen extract, you could create your own delicious recipe and make it your yearly go-to winter bucket list activity! From zesty lemon to a decadent red velvet flavor, your family will have a blast baking these pillowy treats to perfection, which can easily yield 12 to 24 cookies per batch.

Make a Pair of Mittens

Making a pair of mittens is a fun activity to get your mind off the dreariness of winter; plus, creating a pair of mittens is easy to do and seemingly inexpensive.

If you have old sweaters stuffed in the back of your closet or an unused roll of material in your sewing kit, you can get to work quickly and even make a few extra to pass out as gifts.

Fleece, cotton, wool, and nylon are excellent materials for mitten making, and if you don’t have any on hand, they can be found at your local craft store at a steep discount.

Participate in a Holiday Charity Drive Event

Another winter bucket list activity that warms the heart is participating in a holiday charity drive event.

If you and your loved ones have caught a case of the winter blues, you can turn it around and volunteer at any of your local charity drives. Many charities open their doors to provide food, clothing, and other donations during the winter season to survive the winter months.

Getting out and doing a good deed, whether that’s writing cards for the homeless shelters, helping to sort through donated clothes and toys, or assisting in taking up collections for holiday feasts, your spirit will be full of bright cheer in no time in lending a hand to those in need.

Build a Graham Cracker Sandcastle

Do you live in a southern climate or area that doesn’t get the winter chill everyone goes about? Don’t fret because there are plenty of ways to enjoy the winter season still, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Should you live on or near a beach, grab your crew and make your way there to build your first-ever Graham Cracker Sandcastle. Now you may be wondering how on earth to pull this off, but simply put, you are creating a sandcastle in resemblance of a graham cracker gingerbread house.

Using a few stray sticks or broken tree twigs, you can build up the sides of the castle and then go back and create tiny holes around the sides and top of the house. Once finished, go back in, decorate with seashells and other items you find, and celebrate your first winter gingerbread Graham Cracker Sandcastle!

Decorate a Pinecone

If you’ve found yourself living in an area with no snow or white sandy beaches, then chin up! You and your family can do many activities together that’ll bring winter into your home- decorating pinecones is one of them.

If you have a yard, head out and see how many pinecones you can find. Pinecone decorating has been a favorite winter pastime and always makes its way onto my top 10 winter bucket list activities. With some Elmer’s glue and a few bags of glitter, you can make winter pinecones to hang outside on the porch, on the mantle, or even over the sink as a decorative wall design.

Plus, the good news is you can score big bags of glitter and glue at the local dollar store, bringing the total budget for your project to less than $10! So douse your cones in purple, pink, and yellow glitters and place them out front for the neighbors to see!

Whip up a Batch of Candy Cane Brownies

Winter is all about the frost, the chill, and the big freeze, so put some of that energy into creating your first batch of peppermint brownies for the season! Double Chocolate Candy Cane Brownies will give Godiva a run for their money and have friends and family ringing you up to send a few their way.

Candy Cane Brownies are easy to make, require few ingredients, and take less than 30 minutes to create, all under the cost of takeout!

Build a Snow Sled

Building a snow sled with the family can be a great bonding activity to add to your winter bucket list for all my handymen and women out there.

Whether you intend it to be a sled to ride on or a nice holiday decoration, a piece of old plywood or an old palette would work well to break down and build up for the family’s first winter project.

And should you not have any wood lying about, there are plenty of online tutorials for PVC and Metal sleds, even sleds made out of cardboard!

Make a Snowglobe Lantern

This is one activity that tops my list every year. Snowglobe lanterns are fun to create and a great bonding activity that’ll make the hours go by quickly.

You can make snowglobe lanterns out of old mason jars, vases, or any material you like as long as it has a lid for the handle. Then, with a couple of jars of paint, cotton balls, glitter packs, a few tealights, and some gorilla glue, you can put together your snowglobes in no time.

Go Ice Hiking

If your family is more of the outdoors type, then Ice Hiking might be right up your alley. Many lodges, national parks, and entertainment centers open doors for those interested in hiking up the snow.

But be forewarned, ice hiking requires skill and a good bit of knowledge about the area, so do your research and find the centers that provide training before packing up your crew and heading out there.

Have a Snow Sculpture Competition

Calling all competitive sports fanatics! If you are looking for a good-hearted, fun-filled winter activity to add to your winter bucket list, try hosting your first Snow Sculpture Competition.

You can designate anyone from your party (or neighbors) as the judge, and your family can face off against each other to see who can make the best snow sculpture with what you have on hand. And no, it doesn’t have to be real snow which is great for those who live in warmer areas. Creativity can blossom here, and the best snow sculpture design wins a prize!

Build a Snowman

Building a snowman is a classic winter activity and is a must for any winter bucket list. Rolling big balls of snow across the yard is fun and can be a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. This is great for old, outgrown or worn-out hats and winter gear. Toss them into a tote to keep by the door for when the kids head out to play.

Go Sledding

Another classic winter activity is sledding! Grab a sled and go find a hill with the kids. This fun and simple activity are great for getting kids outside having fun and a definite must on your bucket list.

Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is a bit more expensive than the other activities, but if you have a cheap rink near you, then you can rent skates and take the kids on a fun adventure in the rink. This is an easy new activity for kids who are used to rollerblading. Or, if it is really icy out, you can let the kids glide around on the ice found on sidewalks for a fun activity.

Have a Snowball Fight

Snowball fights are one of my favorite memories as a kid. Gather the kids and their friends in the neighborhood and set up piles of snowballs around the yard to make it easy to dive right in.

Drink Hot Cocoa

After a long, cold day of snowball fights and other outdoor snow activities, gather around and have a nice, steaming cup of hot cocoa. You can add whipped cream and marshmallows for a truly fun bucket list activity. Live somewhere hot? That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some hot cocoa! I always say it’s never too hot for hot cocoa and never too cold for ice cream!

Snuggle With a Book

I love reading, and it is so important to encourage kids to read. After a trip to the library, have the whole family snuggle up (with hot cocoa or tea) and read books together or separately. There is nothing cozier than a whole family snuggled up with books!

Have a Family Game Night

Grab some board games, and let’s get playing! No matter how old you or your kids are, playing board games as a family is sure to be a good time. Pop some popcorn, and no matter where you live, you can enjoy this item on the winter bucket list.

Drink Hot Apple Cider

Winter means the smell of apple cider! I love using old apples and oranges to make a pot of yummy apple cider for everyone to enjoy. It can take the whole day to cook, but the smell will make you feel like winter. Enjoy!

Try a New Soup

Soups are delicious and the perfect winter food. So why not put trying a new soup on your winter bucket list? Even little kids can be involved in peeling and chopping (with supervision), and then you can all enjoy it together!

Make  a Fire

Fires are so cozy and perfect for winter! If you have a fireplace, you already know what to do, but if you don’t, you can make a safe bonfire outside or even crank up the grill. So grab some marshmallows or a book and a blanket, and enjoy!


Let these twenty winter activities inspire you to start checking off your winter bucket list of activities!

Read More:


Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

Leave a Comment