Published October 21, 2022
The wind is blowing, the trees are bare, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s wintertime in Indianapolis! Many people tend to use the colder weather as an excuse to curl up under a blanket on the couch and watch TV. And while this is a great way to feel cozy on occasion, it gets old awfully quickly…and then the winter blahs set in.
Not to worry—there are plenty of ways to stay busy this season in your home or around town (and without breaking the bank). Here are just a few family-friendly activities that are sure to make this winter more fun, productive, and memorable.
A nice, steaming bowl of chili is one of the most comforting and delicious wintertime meals. But the act of making it is also a fun process with plenty of room for creativity. Do you like it with ground beef or turkey or Impossible crumbles? Do you like it spicy or mild? And did you know some people even add chocolate? Getting your kids involved in the kitchen can be a great bonding experience (and means more hands to help you out).
Teach your kids how to make a pot of chili, and see if you can come up with a secret family recipe. Click here for a great article that explains the basics and has some ideas for getting creative. And if chili isn’t your thing, the same concept applies to making cookies, cider, or a warm apple pie. Your kids might really enjoy cooking and learn an important skill along the way.
There may not be snow on the ground yet, but during an Indiana winter, there will be eventually! Take advantage of the next snow day and plan an outdoor afternoon with the kids. Head over to the park and make a few snowballs. Set some cans on top of a fence post and give yourself a little target practice. This is a fun alternative to a snowball fight, which—let’s face it—usually ends up with someone crying. Then you can make a few snow angels, go sledding, or even build a snowman. Having fun in the snow is a great way to enjoy the colder weather.
Watch Sports Together
Do you follow the Pacers or the Indiana Fever? Maybe you’re really into the Colts. Or perhaps the Indy Fuel is more your speed. But wherever your loyalties lie, sports are a huge part of any city’s culture. So, grab your favorite spot on the couch, make a healthy snack, and watch a game with your kids. Explain the rules to them, and encourage them to ask questions and pick favorite players. It can be a great way for them to bond with you and feel like they’re part of the community. And if sports aren’t resonating, try a family movie or game night.
Drawing has been shown to improve focus, relieve stress, and release endorphins. If you or your kids like to draw, encourage that interest by setting aside family drawing time. You don’t even need the fancy art supplies—you can start small with just a few colored pencils and a single piece of paper. If you struggle with coming up with ideas of things to draw, click here for fun, creative prompts. Then have your kids pick their favorite masterpieces and create a family art gallery on one of the walls in your home—places like Goodwill always have tons of interesting, cheap frames. And seeing their artwork framed and hanging on the wall can help give your kids a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Go to the Circle of Lights Tree-Lighting Event
What’s the holiday season without a big, festive tree? On November 25th, head to Monument Circle for the 60th annual Circle of Lights Tree Lighting ceremony! Or if cold weather and crowds aren’t your thing, catch the action on TV (WTHR Channel 13). This is a fun, affordable, and festive way to get in the holiday spirit. It’s also a great way to make the season special for your kids. And who knows—they might like it so much that this becomes a family tradition. Even if you miss the main event, the “tree” and light show will be up through January 13th.
Attend a Game Night at the Library
Winter isn’t just about the holidays. It can also be a great time to get together with friends and other members of the community for engaging indoor activities. Several branches of the Indy Public Library, for example, host game nights that are fun for the whole family. In fact, our libraries are a great place to go for a whole range of free activities. Visit their Events page online, where you can sort by date, branch location, age group, and event type.
Check Out Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit
A lot of this list is focused on having fun. But it’s never too early for your kids to start dreaming of their future. Black Men in White Coats is an organization that encourages them to do exactly that. Back in 2013, they realized that not that many Black men were applying to medical school, so they started this organization to get kids interested in the medical field from an early age. The FREE Youth Summit on November 12th is kind of like a career day for kids and includes mentorship, hands-on activities, and networking. Both boys and girls in grades 3-12 are encouraged to attend! Click here to register.
You could just as easily call the winter season the “giving season.” So, pick a day to volunteer with your family. Donating your time is a great way to give back to your neighbors, the planet, or the animal shelter down the street. Is there a cause that resonates with your kids? Volunteering can obviously make an impact. But it also sets a good example for the little ones. Click here to find a volunteer opportunity near you.
Indianapolis might have some pretty cold winters. But we can tell you this; they’re definitely not quiet! Whether your kids are learning a new skill, enjoying some family time, or blowing off steam, there’s always a low-cost activity right around the corner.