Winter Bucket List

After months of my kids being able to just run outside and play, I am starting to dread these next few months of cold that always seem to last forever. At this time of the year, I usually start to wonder how we are going to keep ourselves busy inside, but then I remember that Madison has a lot of really fun things to do in the winter to keep us busy! In no particular order, here is my winter bucket list! I’d love if you share any other family activities that you know of and enjoy during these cold winter months.

Go to the zoo. Henry Vilas Zoo doesn’t just have to be a nice weather outing. It is open year round and is typically less busy in the winter! My girls love visiting the zoo in the winter. Just throw on some warm clothes and you are set.


Ice Skate. The EdgewaterTenney Park, and Elver Park are all great outdoor skating options.

Go Sledding. Here is a list of parks that have sledding hills.

Make a snowman.

Build a snow fort.

Make a fort inside. My kids love finding every pillow and blanket in the entire house to use for their forts.

Go see Olin Park’s lights! Make tea or hot chocolate and drive through the park to check out the lights with your kids.

Play inside. Here is a list of ideas that I wrote about a few years ago. We also have an unfinished basement, and the girls love bringing their plasma cars in from the garage and driving them around the basement.

Invite friends over for a soup dinner. Everyone that comes can either bring a soup, side, or dessert. We’ve done this often and have a blast every time.

Go to an indoor gym. We really like Madtown Twisters or Play ‘N Wisconsin. Last year, when people asked what the girls wanted for their birthday/Christmas, we asked them to get them a gift certificate to one of these places. They girls were so excited. It’s perfect for them to get their energy out.


Bake! You can do this at home with your kiddos or Tara from Yummy Sprout offers classes that are awesome! Check out her website for more information.

Kids in the Rotunda. The Overture Center offers some great performances for kids of all ages. Here is a link to see what they have planned for this fall/winter.

Go to a Badger basketball or hockey game. 

Volunteer. What a great way to show your kids what it looks like to part of a community. The River Food Pantry, the Middleton Outreach Ministry or the Humane Society would be good places to start.

Donate toys. If you don’t have time to volunteer or your children are too young, there are so many opportunities to donate toys or clothing in the winter for children and families in need. 

Go to the Dells. Last winter, we went to Mount Olympus, but we’ve also been to the Wilderness and the Great Wolf Lodge.


Have a snowball fight.

Play a family game of hide and seek in the house. You could make it more fun by turning off all of the lights and only use flashlights.

Make paper snowflakes.

Make a gingerbread house.

Watch a (holiday) movie in your pajamas and eat popcorn.

Family game night. Pick a game or two the whole family can enjoy.

Do a puzzle.

Ride the Polar Express.

Visit Santa.

Visit the Madison Children’s Museum.   


Go to the Madison Winter Festival in mid- February.

Run a race. The Jingle Bell Run in Verona is raising money to help find a cure for arthritis.

Have a dance party. In our house, we blast the Frozen soundtrack and let loose!

Make busy bags.  Here is an article that I wrote a year ago for MMB that explains what busy bags are and some ideas on how to make them.
IMG_0463Do a winter craft as a family. Pinterest is always my go to for craft ideas.


One Response to Winter Bucket List

  1. Juliana December 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    THANK YOU!! I am working on learning to appreciate and not just dread winter here and this helps give me some ideas I can do with my toddler.

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