Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Snow over winter break? Perfect! (Photo: iStock)

100+ ideas for winter break family fun!

You can have fun going out or staying in. Here are lots (and lots!) of ideas.

Winter break ideas, update, Dec. 14, 2022: Winter break is around the corner and with school out and kids at home, there’s plenty of time to explore a new activity, play games, try a new recipe or just hang out. Take a look at our list of things to do. 

Have fun and stay safe!

Winter break ideas: In the kitchen:

If you haven’t yet tried our hot-cocoa bar idea (or even if you have!), this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Also, have you baked cookies? Do you have room for more?

A few to try:

I am still drooling at just the thought of Chef Jason Wilson’s Dungeness crab mac and cheese, but I am also pondering dusting off the fondue pot for a New Year’s Eve family feast. I have told the family that, if they’ll help clean the pot between courses, we could do a cheese course, entree and then chocolate, all with those irresistible color-coded long forks. (My Mom had matching sectioned plates, too, in the oh-so-trendy earth tones of the 1970s.)

Winter break ideas: Around the house

TV/streaming: This is not the cop-out it might sound like. Find something new, maybe something seasonal or educational. Public-TV station KCTS, for example, has a wide range of interesting programming that you can stream either online or using its Roku channel.

Floor skating: If you have hardwood floors and the kids have socks, you’re ready for this one. Put on some music and glide about like figure skaters.

Build stuff! Make stuff! If you have big kids and time to supervise, they might want to try out some tools to build the candle holders from the book “Girls Who Build.” (Those projects are excerpted here.)

Fun project for fidgety hands: Try making a plush lion pillow or a panda bath mitt from Sanae Ishida’s book “Animal Friends to Sew.”
Get out some flour and salt and water. Shape it, then bake it! This works great for ornaments, or maybe even shape them into coasters, paperweights or ladybugs that you can paint later. Instructions here.

Running: If you have a room in your house with two doorways, then you have a ready-made track that’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and younger grade-school kids. When they get too hyper, ask them to run 20 laps. (You’ll be surprised at how compliant they will be.)
Fun and games: Oh, we love games! Here are some of our best lists:

Read books: Check here for titles that we have suggested, or that others have recommended for us, recently. Or explore what your local library can do for you. Many have Reading with Rover programs, story times, and arts and craft workshops for all ages. Also check out our library and park outings round-up. Explore holiday traditions with these children’s books or delve into multicultural books that will open up a whole new world for your kiddos.

Make forts! Pile up the couch cushions and every sofa pillow in the house —  and have a blast right in your living room.

An alternate plan: Get out the big cardboard boxes that you accumulated over the holidays and just climb in.

Camping trip on location: Get a bare table and a blanket and make a tent for a little kid. Make sure they have a book and a flashlight and a favorite stuffed animal too. Adults – maybe you’re ready to plan your spring and summer excursions. Take a look at these campsites and plan to book early for your favorite spot.

Winter break ideas: Out and about

The winter fun is just getting started!

Head to Des Moines or West Seattle for family adventures, places to eat, and things to do.

This came at a good time: 50+ free things that you can do through the Seattle Public Library (some in-person, some online).

Light shows through the end of the year: Check out Wild Lanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo, Evergreen Lights in Bothell, Candy Cane Lane and more. Make your holidays bright!

Special exhibits and experiences in Seattle: Head to the Pacific Science Center to watch the incredible show at the IMAX: “The Arctic: The Last Great Wilderness” and don’t miss these experiences for your loved ones.

Train rides and exhibits: Ride the rails or see a train exhibit at the museum.

NW Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville celebrates Winter Wildland from Dec. 26-Jan. 2 with animals, decorations, keeper chats and “winter magic.”

We are big fans of fresh air and exercise. Here are just a few of the ideas we have written about recently. Get out of the house and go have some fun!

Go on an art walk: The Bellevue Botanical Garden offers a nice walk and many sculptures to explore. Or take one of these walks and see art along the way!

Winter break ideas: In the mountains

Doesn’t a snow day sound like fun? Do your homework before heading out to a ski area (some require advance ticket purchase). Check road conditions, too! And read these tips for properly bundling kids up for the cold.

Let’s go sledding! Where to go from Seattle

Best ski areas you can drive to from Seattle

8 places Seattle families can go cross-country skiing

If all else fails:

Actually, try this even if “all else” doesn’t fail: Have kids help you clean up. Here are ideas for getting started. And don’t neglect safety.

And, what better time to get going on life skills like balancing the checkbook? We’ve divided them here into ideas for the youngest kids, and for older kids and teens.


More to read

Seattle-area holiday events, 2022


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