Now that the ski resorts and tubing parks are open for business and Seattle has seen its first big snowfall of the season (we still can’t believe we woke up to a white Christmas), it’s beginning to look and feel a lot like winter. Since we know the cold, dark days of winter can be challenging with kids, we’ve put together 50 fun winter activities to keep you and your crew from going stir-crazy. Psst…if you’re lucky, by the time you’re finished with this list, spring will be knocking on the door. Scroll down and start making plans!
photo: Mark Grantor
1. Take advantage of a three-day weekend or take a day off (cough, cough) to explore the snow-covered town of Leavenworth. The Bavarian-themed village is bustling with families during the winter months and is a great spot to go snowmobiling or skiing, take a sleigh ride or dog sled ride or just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this snowy magical alpine town.
2. The Pacific Science Center is the best place to learn how weather works. Take a trip on a stormy day and discover how Mother Nature works.
3. Spend the day seeing and touching bugs of all shapes and sizes at these creepy crawly spots around town.
4. Jump, hop, climb, swing and burn off the winter stir-crazies at Flying Circus Extreme Air Sports—our area’s newest indoor sports park.
photo: Kristina Moy
5. Kids can learn about urban farming techniques, vegetable gardening and more at this year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
6. Take your crew to the Sugar Factory at The Shops at The Bravern to experience extreme sweetness. Or book a sitter and hit the Chocolate Lounge with your significant other or mom’s group.
7. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean your little ones can’t play on the playground. The awesome playground at Lake Sammamish State Park and Bellevue Downtown Park both feature rubber surfaces and weather protection to ensure tykes are safe whether they play on the wet or dry playground.
8. Get out of the house and learn about Seattle history with a visit to MOHAI. Psst! Admission is always free on the first Thursday of the month.
9. Get lost in a good read or enjoy a story time at our area’s best indie bookstores. Psst…these spots all love kids and put a premium on pint-sized readers.
10. Winter = snow! At least in the mountains. Head to one of the local passes for sledding and tubing fun!
11. The Reptile Zoo in Monroe is every lizard lover’s dream. With a warehouse filled to the brim with reptiles, spiders and crocodiles, it’s a haven for the creepy crawly enthusiasts.
12. Put down the electronics and head to one of these fish-tacular spots to watch (and even touch!) our finned friends.
13. Kids out of school again? These 15 tried-and-true destinations are sure to entertain your brood any day of the week.
14. Take your train lovin’ tykes to the 44th Annual Model Railroad Show. In addition to lots of hands-on activities, kids can catch a ride on the Iron Horse Railway—a kiddie-sized train!
15. Treat your crew to a chocolatey cup of goodness at one of Seattle’s best spots for hot chocolate.
16. Thank goodness for indoor ice skating rinks in our (kinda) temperate climate. Check out these super spots near Seattle to lace up your skates.
photo: Kristina Moy
17. Take advantage of our area’s free and super cheap museum days. Psst! You might just find a new family fave.
18. The Little Prince, based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, will be lighting up the Seattle Children’s Theatre stage this winter.
19. There will be plenty of car-crushing, high-flying action at the T Dome when the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series returns for three action-packed days in January.
20. Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t go swimming. Dive into one of our favorite indoor pools.
photo: Maggie Edelman
21. Are your kids bouncing off the walls, literally? Take them to the Seattle Gymnastics Academy for lots of high-flying fun during indoor playground time. Psst! You have three locations to choose from: Columbia City, Lake City and Ballard.
22. This year’s Tet Festival at the Seattle Center will feature live performances, hands-on activities, food, crafts, games, martial arts demonstrations and a lively marketplace.
23. Need some well-deserved, kid-free time? The Pacific Science Center will entertain your kids while you enjoy a night out on the town or a quiet night in.
24. Learn about one of the coolest creatures in Puget Sound, the giant Pacific octopus, during the Seattle Aquarium’s annual Octopus Week.
25. Bundle up your little reindeer and dash over the hills for a trek through a wintry wonderland.
photo: Bruce W. via Yelp
26. Score a pot of freshly brewed tea for two (or more!) at one of our favorite tea houses.
27. Sign up for a mom-friendly fitness program this winter and be beach ready by the spring.
28. The Seattle Children’s Film Festival kicks off its 2018 showcase on January 25 with more than 170 short and feature films that represent more than 50 countries and 37 languages.
29. Who says wine bars don’t pair well with kids? Head out to one of these wine bars that not only welcome kids, but embrace them.
30. Jump in the car and head south to Portland for some winter fun in a new city.
photo: Portland Aerial Tram
31. All the cool kids (and their parents) go to BAM on Saturday afternoons for drop-in art activities.
32. No tropical plans for mid-winter break? You can still go on an ocean adventure at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s South Pacific Aquarium.
33. All winter long, Seattle’s best kindie bands will be performing on Saturday mornings at the Mount Baker Community Club. Get your tickets now!
34. They’re pretending Seattle is in the tropics at the Seattle Aquarium this winter—ukulele players included.
35. A perfect indoor activity on a rainy winter Seattle day is bowling! Here are some family-friendly alleys to try for a strike.
photo: jess2284 via Flickr
36. Bundle up the kids and visit a Washington state park for free.That’s right! No Discover Pass is required on several days in 2018.
37. Think ahead to summer by trading that too-small bike for a bigger version at the annual Seattle Bike Swap on Sun., Feb. 3. Kids under 15 are free!
38. Mark your calendars for the annual Lake Chelan Winterfest Festival. A community favorite for almost 30 years, this family-friendly event commences over two weekends and features ice sculptures, live music, wine and ale tasting, activities for kids, a polar bear splash and much more.
39. Are your kids looking to try a new class in 2018? Check out these classes that all offer free sample sessions.
40. Avoid cabin fever and the winter doldrums by trying these plug-and-play activities.
41. Indulge your sweet tooth with one of our area’s best cupcakes. Score if you happen to visit a spot that also serves homemade ice cream!
photo: Cupcake Royale
42. Find your neighborhood community center’s toddler play time for some cheap, easy rainy day fun.
43. With an awesome water exhibit and winter-themed workshops and special events, the Imagine Children’s Museum is the perfect winter destination for curious kids.
44. Just as winter is coming to an end, the whales start to arrive in Puget Sound. Take your family out to see these magical beauties during their short visit.
45. The penguins at Woodland Park Zoo love the winter! Come help feed them their lunch…if you don’t mind some smelly fish.
46. Climb and slide until your little ones tucker out at these parks with amazing slides.
photo: Natalia Dotto Photograhpy
47. Kidstock! 2018 is back and better than ever. Need we say more?
48. For little airplane lovers who are going winter stir-crazy, book a tour at the Boeing Museum in Everett and see where those planes are made. Psst! There’s a minimum height to go on the tour. Or take advantage of First Thursdays at The Museum of Flight when admission is free from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
49. Each month, the Seattle Children’s Museum picks a new theme. From castles and dragons, to everything hearts, to Gaelic and green, you’re sure to find lots of wintertime fun at this kiddie hot spot.
50. Mark your calendars with the family and community festivals at SAM this winter. They’re full of art-making activities, live music, storytelling, interactive performances and family art tours.
What’s on your winter bucket list this year? Tell us in the comments below!
— Kristina Moy