Winter break is 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, 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 (masks in required in many play areas): Upper Arlington Libraries, Worthington Libraries, Westerville Library, and Grove City Library
- Food places with a play area: Graeter’s Indoor Playground, Coffee Connections.
- Mall play areas: Tuttle Mall and Polaris Mall
- Check out Pins or 16 Bit for arcade fun! Great location at Easton now too!
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!
- Visit the brand new Quarry Trails that opened near Grandview.
- Make a homemade bird feeder with pine cones, peanut butter, and seeds.
- 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!
- Take a road trip to Hocking Hills.
Winter Break Day 3: Books, Books, and More Books!
- Attend a free event at your local library! Many libraries are bringing back story time this December.
- Read through a whole chapter book.
- Join in for a few fun stories in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center! Be sure to pre-register HERE! Enjoy this nature-themed story time at the Grange Audubon Center on Thursdays. Or Reserve your playtime in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center and have an adventure while engaging in imaginative play in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center Forest Room Playroom and Climbing Area!
- Listen to an audiobook.
- Check out a local bookstore. Cover to Cover Books is a great one to explore!
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! Sleeping queens and Left Right Center are new favorites for us in 2022! Check out our list of games without tears list of game night ideas!
- Watch a sports game together, and cheer for your team. Go Buckeyes on December 31!
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 11 are $1 per person. Ages 12 and over are $2 per person. Admission fee may be used towards a candy purchase, however. Must schedule in advance on Tuesdays and Thursday.
- 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. Check out this banana chocolate chip pancake recipe.
- Make homemade pizzas together.
- Warm up with a hot cocoa bar.
- Bake a batch of your favorite cookies. Use these tips for decorating cookies with kids.
- Pop some popcorn on the stove. Consider even adding some fun toppings like a chocolate drizzle or these creative topping ideas.
- Decorate a gingerbread house.
- Make dinner together and try a new soup recipe. Use this list of 50 Soups You Need to Make.
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.
- Take a winter walk around the neighborhood. Many neighborhoods have luminaries too!
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.
- Head to the Lego Store at Easton Town Center.
- Check out all the beautiful fish at Aquarium Adventure.
- See puppies at the Petland on Bethel Rd.
- Build a free project at one of the Home Depot Kids Workshops. The next one is January 7 , 2023!
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.
- Let your imagination soar as you put together a neat stop-motion animation project.
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 January 8, 2022.
- Drive around your neighborhood, and see the residential light displays.
- Check out these Free and Inexpensive Christmas Activities.