Budget-friendly winter activities to do as a family

Rounding up the troops to hit the ski hills every weekend is one way to get both kids and adults active in the winter. But not everybody has the time, interest, or resources required to do that on a regular basis. If you don’t have a winter family activity that you all love, sometimes it can be hard to know what to do that will be fun for everyone and easy on the wallet. We asked our Role Models what they love to do with their kids in the winter that either involve spending no money, or very little.

Here’s what they had to say.

Walking and exploring our neighbourhood and skating in one of Toronto’s free ice rinks. We also enjoy sledding.
— Kari Marie Svenneby

Geocaching is a favourite family winter activity for us. The app costs $9.99 but it’s well worth it. We also like to hike up and around our ski hill (on the trails, not the actual hill with skiers on it).
Deb Lowther

Skating at the outdoor arena or on the bay! We head to a local rec centre pool every Friday night for the free family swim.
Jennifer VanOosten 

During the week we love to go on micro adventures close to home.
Tanya Koob

I used to love taking my kids bowling but this past year our bowling alley closed. Nevertheless, in the summer there was a program available nationwide where kids could bowl free all summer if you registered them. You only had to pay for shoe rental and any adult playing. In the winter, weather and conditions permitting, we love outdoor skating rinks.
Erica Gomez

We like to geocache, and sledding and snow fort-building are a go-to.
Heather Gardiner

Long hikes or swimming as a family. Community Centres have free family swim nights on Sunday evenings. Tobogganing where permitted or snow-shoeing in the park (or on the way to school).
Puneeta Varma 

Sledding, skating, swimming, and geocaching are top of our lists (though geocaching doesn’t work as well when there is a lot of snow). The community rec centres have dollar or toonie skates and swims quite often, and have free skating and swimming on most stat holidays. Sleds and skates can be picked up cheap secondhand, but crazy carpets are inexpensive and slide super well. And of course there’s winter hiking (free) and snowshoeing (free once you have snowshoes — but some parks are providing free rentals).
Karen Ung

Karen also shared a great post that outlines how to have fun in the snow with your kids, which provides lots of ideas to keep everyone moving and happy without spending a dime. We love the target practice idea!

Did we cover everything? What budget-friendly activities does your family love to do in the winter?

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