Winter break is almost here! Are you wondering how to fill up the entire two weeks? We have you covered! Here is our list of more than 75 FREE winter break activities in Columbus to keep the kids active as well as having fun during break.
Winter Break Day 1: Play Indoors!
Check out these FREE indoor play areas:
- Indoor play areas: The Naz Playplace, Vineyard Community Center’s indoor playground, Westerville Community Center’s indoor playground, and Central Park Playland. Note: Please check the websites for open play hours. Some places are closed for part of the winter break.
- Nature centers with a play area: Highbanks, Scioto Audubon, Battelle Darby Creek, Blendon Woods, and Blacklick Woods
- Libraries with a play area: Upper Arlington Libraries, Worthington Libraries, Westerville Library, and Grove City Library
- Food places with a play area: Whole Foods in Dublin, Graeter’s Indoor Playground, Chick-fil-a locations, and Coffee Connections.
- Mall play areas: Tuttle Mall and Polaris Mall
Also, check out our Guide to Indoor Play Areas in Columbus.
Winter Break Day 2: Get out in Nature!
- Attend a Metro Parks program or hike. Check out the current list of winter activities.
- Make a homemade bird feeder with pine cones, peanut butter, and seeds.
- Go on a winter break scavenger hunt at Blendon Woods Metro Park from December 21, 2019 – December 17, 2019 between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Look for stars and constellations. Try the free app, SkyView Lite, to navigate the night sky.
- Watch for wildlife in your neighborhood. Search for animal tracks outside. My own neighborhood is full of rabbits!
Winter Break Day 3: Books, Books, and More Books!
- Attend a free event at your local library. See our list of Story Times in Columbus.
- Read through a whole chapter book.
- Attend a nature-themed story time at the Grange Audubon Center on Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m.
- Listen to an audiobook.
- Check out a story time at a local bookstore. Cover to Cover Books has regular story times as well as author visits.
Winter Break Day 4: Fun at Home
- Have a movie night with popcorn.
- Practice or learn a new instrument.
- Turn up the music, and have a dance party.
- Put together a puzzle.
- Build a fort or set up a tent indoors.
- Have a family game tournament! Check out our list of game night ideas.
- Watch a sports game together, and cheer for your team.
Winter Break Day 5: Be a Tourist for the day
- Discover a new area of the city. Check out our Guide to Neighborhoods and Suburbs in Columbus.
- Visit the kid-friendly Wonder Room at the Columbus Museum of Art. Note: The art museum is free on Sundays.
- Take a tour of your local fire station. Call ahead to schedule a tour.
- Watch planes land and take off in the observation tower at the OSU airport.
- Take a factory tour of Anthony Thomas Chocolates. It’s almost free: Children under 2 are free. Ages 3 to 18 are $1 per person. Ages 19 and over are $2 per person. Admission fee may be used towards a candy purchase, however.
- For a day trip, discover the amazing planes and rockets at the National Museum of the US Air Force.
Winter Break Day 6: Cooking and Baking
- Have a pancake breakfast with delicious toppings.
- Make homemade pizzas together.
- Warm up with a hot cocoa bar.
- Bake a batch of your favorite cookies.
- Try popping popcorn on the stove.
- Decorate a gingerbread house.
Winter Break Day 7: Get Active!
- Go for a dip at the Columbus Aquatic Center. Check out their website for open hours. It’s almost free: $1 per person.
- Make a ninja warrior obstacle course in your basement or backyard.
- Play at a free open gym at one of your nearby Columbus Parks and Recreation Community centers. Check out the winter break schedules for each of these great centers: Carriage Place, Lazelle Woods, and Whetstone.
- Bundle up, and play outside. Shoot hoops. Go to a playground. Play tag.
- Jump on backyard play equipment during the charitable play hours at Recreation Outlet on Tuesday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. It’s almost free: $4 per child.
- Take a winter walk around the neighborhood.
Winter Break Day 8: Family Memories Day
- Look at photos from the past year.
- Record a video of each person’s favorite activities from the past year.
- Watch old family videos together.
- Make a time capsule to open the following year.
- Spend quality time as a family. Check out our list of 35 Ways to Spend Quality Family Time This Winter Break.
Winter Break Day 9: Play in the Snow!
- Build a snowman or even a whole army of snowmen.
- Go sledding. Try one of these 20 sledding hills in Columbus.
- Make snow angels.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and food coloring, and “color” the snow.
- Build a snow fort, and carve out snow chairs inside.
- Fill a large container with snow, and bring the fun indoors for sensory play.
Winter Break Day 10: Get crafty!
- Fold paper airplanes, and have a flying contest.
- Make bracelets on a rainbow loom.
- Play with homemade slime.
- Fold and cut classic paper snowflakes, and hang them with string.
- Paint the windows with window chalk.
- Finish a coloring page.
- Play with homemade play dough.
- Make a collage from old magazines.
- Instead of using paintbrushes, paint with items such as marshmallows, bubble wrap, car wheels, and balls.
Winter Break Day 11: Visit a Fun Store
- Shop the hands-on children’s section at IKEA. Note: Grab an inexpensive breakfast at the restaurant.
- Discover the taxidermy animal displays at Cabela’s.
- Build a creation on the lego table at the Lego Store at Easton Town Center.
- Check out all the beautiful fish at Aquarium Adventure.
- Play with a puppy at the Petland on Bethel Rd.
- Make a free craft at Lakeshore Learning stores on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Make a New Year’s mask on Dec 29, 2019.
- Build a free project at one of the Home Depot Kids Workshops.
Winter Break Day 12: Keep Learning!
- Build a sculpture with marshmallows and toothpicks.
- Practice those math facts with flashcards and games.
- Watch a kids travel show about another culture or country.
- Learn some card and magic tricks!
- Make a homemade volcano.
- Build a new lego creation with ideas from Pinterest or library books.
Winter Break Day 13: Serve Others
- Donate old toys or other items to a local charity.
- Write thank you cards or draw pictures for all the people who gave gifts.
- Tackle some home projects or chores together.
- Make cookies for your neighbor.
- Volunteer at a local non-profit such as Seeds of Caring.
Winter Break Day 14: Enjoy the Holiday season!
- View the beautiful light displays at the Columbus Commons and along the Scioto Mile.
- Check out the Huntington train display at the main branch of the Columbus library until December 30, 2019.
- Drive around your neighborhood, and see the residential light displays.
- Check out these Free and Inexpensive Christmas Activities.