8 Fun Ways to Spend Winter Break Without Breaking the Bank

Families can enjoy these inexpensive activities together while school’s out.

By Betsy Voreacos
Holiday celebrations take up just some of the time the kids are out of school for winter break, and for many families, that leaves plenty of other days to fill with fun and good cheer! Here are some low-budget ideas to get you started.

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Head to the Library
Local libraries usually have a lot of scheduled events, even over the holidays. Check your town and others nearby for story hours, puppet shows, and other kid-friendly activities.

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Visit the Zoo
Many zoos are open in the winter! Just bundle up and enjoy the outdoors. Zoos are often decorated for the holidays, the lines for train rides and other special activities are shorter, and the animals will be all the more interested in wintertime visitors.

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Host a Potluck Lunch
Invite your kids’ friends and their moms for lunch. Ask everyone to bring a dish, or serve homemade pizza with do-it-yourself toppings. It’s fun for both kids and adults and you’re guaranteed that everyone will eat something!

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Get Out and Play
Teach your kids to make angels in the snow. Go sledding. Go skating. Go for a hike in the woods. Show your kids that winter is a wonderland. Just don’t forget the gloves!

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Go for a Nighttime Drive
Take a nighttime drive and look at all the over-the-top Christmas decorations. Count how many houses have lights and see who spots the craziest ones first. End the night with hot chocolate and marshmallows back at home!

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Cuddle by the Fire
Light a fire in the fireplace, put on your woolly socks, and snuggle on the couch with your family. If you don’t have a fireplace, how about roasting marshmallows around an outdoor fire pit? Or just enjoy the warmth of your house and play some board games together while you listen to holiday music.

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Be a Tourist for a Day
Go to the city, or the country, or the next town over. Go somewhere you only go when you have out-of-town guests. Climb the monument, check out the museum, ride the subway, taste the local goodies, and stroll the streets.

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Have Family Night
Pick a book and read it aloud over the holidays, a couple chapters each night. Or watch a week of holiday movies together. There’s something about sharing a story that brings us all closer together.

How do you spend your winter break with the kids?

Betsy lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three children, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.

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