Many schools are out for two weeks or more during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and many parents are looking for cheap things to do on winter break.

Winter break can be a challenging time for parents who are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained and educationally stimulated, yet — with a bit of planning — you can find cheap things to do on winter break that will stave off cabin fever and send your kids back to school with some new inspiration to keep studying.

Here are a few tips on how to have fun with your kids on winter break, without breaking the bank:

  • Go to the library. School’s out? No problem — public libraries are still open. Keep reading! Your local public library might even have a special Winter Book Club or Winter Break Reading Program for kids. Libraries often have cheap things to do on winter break and all year round!
  • Museum visit. Winter break is an ideal time to visit your city’s museums and art galleries, many of which are open during weekdays when the kids are usually at school. Check out the latest special exhibits. Many museums and galleries have free or discounted admission for kids, or there might be a day of the week when there is free admission for everyone.
  • Arcade. Of course, sometimes there can be such a thing as “too much” book learning — if you want to just give your kids some exhilarating indoor fun, many cities have old time video arcades where your kids can have loads of stimulating fun for a few hours for not too much money.
  • Video game tournament. Running low on quarters? Fine — don’t go to an arcade, stay home and play video games on your favorite gaming console.
  • Sledding. If you live in a cold weather state, you can go sledding on a snowy day for free at city parks! Check with your local parks and recreation department to see which parks are open and welcome sledders.
  • Ice skating. Many cities in cold weather cities have free ice skating on city park public ponds in the winter time — again, check with your local parks department. Or look for deals on skate rental and indoor public skating times.
  • Take a hike. If you live in a warmer climate, winter break can be an ideal time (and temperature) for outdoor activities. Go for a hike in the woods, take a walk in the park, go for a bike ride, get outdoors! Some of the best outdoor entertainment is free and is powered by your own two feet.
  • Movie matinees. Going out to the movies can be a costly night out for a family — but, during winter break, you have more free hours during the day and can take advantage of daytime movie matinee discounts.
  • Home movie festival. Or save even more money on your movie-viewing by hosting your very own “film festival” at home. Gather the family on the sofa and spend the weekend watching a bunch of your favorite movies on your preferred video streaming service or on DVD.
  • Cookies and cocoa party. Stay home and invite friends over to bake and decorate cookies and enjoy hot cocoa and marshmallows — you can have hours of delicious fun for just a few dollars.

Winter break doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can have plenty of low-cost fun just by exploring your own city’s amenities or staying home and having some low-budget, high-quality time with the people you love.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.