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80 Winter activities – Fun things to do with kids this Winter.

80 Winter activities – Fun things to do with kids this Winter.

Its hard to keep little ones entertained during the chilly weather but we have asked our Clued in with kids members to share their top tips to keeping little ones busy throughout November to March.


Please note, details of Christmas events will follow shortly in our Christmas blog but at the moment, most suggestions are generic or suggest some places to visit across Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside. For specific events and times, please check back this weekend.   

Get Outdoors!

🎄 Head off on a trail in the forest.

Make your own Gruffalo trail or bear hunt. You could even use some sticks to make your own den for the bear.


🎅 Head to the woods and collect leaves and other materials to take home for a little crafty fun.

You could collect branches to use as paintbrushes and use mud as paint in the garden if its dry for an all natural experience. If headed back indoors, use the leaves to make prints or use autumn fruits like apples. Use leaves as a stencil, make Christmas cards, make a family fingerprint tree, or even add googly eyes to the leaves to make some interesting characters. Just make sure you take the wellies and check for little critters in your leaf litter.


🎉Winter Scavenger Hunt

Ask the children to collect or tick off on a special sheet when they see pine cones, holly, frozen puddles, animal prints, or particular animals e.g. robins etc. The Woodland trust has some great ideas to help provide inspiration.


🦃Head off to forest school

For example Forest Explorers in Delamere, Nest in the woods in Cheshire, Mersey Forest, Douglas Tree Forest school on the Wirral or Nant Y Glyn Forest school in Colwyn Bay. Check their events pages for any Winter themed activities. It may be wet and muddy but hey, kids love it! The muddier the better.


🧸Winter woodland nature walk

Some great spots include Delamere, Erdigg, Eastham Woods, Teggs Nose, Alderley Edge, Loggerheads and Ty Mawr. Its also worth noting that many National Trust properties allow visitors to walk on the grounds for free, you only pay when entering the house and/or gardens.


🦌 Head off on the hunt for some reindeer!

In North Wales, head to the Reindeer Lodge near Mold where there will be reindeer talks, fairground rides and more. Alternatively, if you fancy a free attraction and a tasty hot chocolate, head to North Hills Farm for a quick stop over. In Cheshire, Tavin Sands has gorgeous Scandinavian Reindeer and some cheeky elves. At Tatton Park Prancer and Dancer will take centre stage on select weekends throughout November and December. Of course, you can also see the deer in the ancient deer park at Dunham Massey. In Liverpool, why not visit ‘Farmer Christmas’ at Farmer Ted’s near Ormskirk? Here you can also visit Elf school and enjoy some gingerbread decorating. There will also be two reindeers at Old Holly Farm from 1st December to Christmas eve. There’s also Winter Wonderland in Telford or the Land Rover safari at Hawkstone Follies if you don’t mind a drive.


Splash in muddy puddles.

Head to your local woodland e.g. Delamere Forest for a free day out. You also can’t go wrong with a visit to National Trust properties as many have surrounding parkland that is often free to explore. Please note parking charges may apply. Alternatively, a walk down your local country lanes is also a great option.


🎁 Go skating on an indoor or an outdoor ice rink

For example, Ice Village Greater Manchester means that you can skate under the stars come rain or shine. There is also an ice cavern with an ice slide. Winter funland in Manchester intu Trafford Centre is also back with a Christmas Panto, festival circus, funfair and Santa’s grotto. Further details will be in our upcoming event blog. There’s also Planet Ice in Altrincham or Widnes, Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival at Pier Head is complete with roller coasters and the UK’s only Ice Jet Ride, Otterspool Adventure in Liverpool, and in North Wales, who can forget Deeside Ice Rink?


🎄 Get active with a trip to a skiing centre.

Why not take the family to the slopes for some skiing, snowboarding or toboggan riding with a visit to Llandudno Snowsports Centre, Runcorn Ski Centre, Stoke Ski Centre, Chill Factore and more!


🎅Alternatively, find your local ‘sledge hill’

Seek the landowners permission first but a free family trip to your local communities Sledge Hill will certainly lead to smiles all round. Examples of some great locations include the Carrs in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge Golf Club, Frodsham Caves, Kelsall Hill in Tarporley, Teggs Nose in Macclesfield, Walton Park in Warrington, Helsby Hill, Castle Park in Frodsham, or for the thrill seekers theres Lymm Dam for our Cheshire members. In North Wales, you cant go far wrong with a trip to Loggerheads, Ty Mawr, Moel Fammau, Hope Mountain, Llyn Brenig or the Horseshoe Pass. For our Liverpool families, there is Newsham Park in West Derby, Camp Hill in Woolton, Princes Park in Toxteth, Fornby Point, Everton Brow, Vale Park, Harrison Park in Wallasey, Allerton towers, Vale Park in New Brighton and Dawstone Park in Heswall.

Note: Please take sensible precautions and wrap up warm. Sledging is taken at the riders own risk.


🎉Head out to see the Coca Cola Truck

Go on the hunt for the iconic Coca Cola truck. Tour dates and locations can be found here


🦃Enjoy a Land Rover Safari through illuminated woodland.

You will be whisked away in a Land Rover across Hawkstone Park under a wishing arch and up the steep hill to Santa’s spectacular network of caves. Santa’s elves will keep you entertained as you wander around the decorated, fairy-lit caverns and tunnels until you finally arrive at your destination – the magical grotto itself! Where every child is greeted by Santa and gets a gift. You’ll have the opportunity to meet Santa’s reindeer and enjoy the illuminated woodland fantasy.


🧸Go for a walk and admire the Christmas lights

Wrap up warm and head off for a walk to admire the hard work of your local community! Don’t forget to take the pooch and then get the Pjs on and enjoy a family film with a hot drink.


️Carol singing

If you are a little too shy to go as a family, you can normally find an organised event. Your local parish may also be running events.


🎁 Visit a Winter market.

Visit a Christmas market and treat yourselves to some roasted chestnuts and seasonal beverages. The Manchester, Liverpool and Beaumaris Victorian Christmas markets are not to be missed!


🎄 Choose a Christmas tree.

Why not take the kids with you this year and get them involved in picking a real Christmas tree? There are plenty of local farm shops and garden centres that you can head to.

Walking in a winter wonderland!

Families can enjoy a visit to the magical  Peter Rabbit™ Christmas grotto at intu Trafford Centre, Manchester this Christmas.  Image copyright owned by intu Trafford Centre, kindly provided to CIWK. 

🦌Visit Peter Rabbit in his grotto at intu Trafford Centre

Why not head to Manchester this Winter for an immersive adventure with the much beloved Peter Rabbit? Beatrix Potter’s woodland wonderland is brought to life by actors playing the part of Peter Rabbit and friends. Meet the excitable Squirrel Nutkin, decorate Christmas Elf biscuits with Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and keep those eyes peeled for that cunning Mr. Tod! Will you be brave enough to join him in his twinkly lair and take a peep inside his cooking pot? There will also be autism-friendly grotto experiences, featuring smaller groups of visitors, quieter music and specially trained elves. Feel free to visit our blog for more information and the link to book


Visit a light show.

For an incredibly magical experience head to Christmas at Dunham Massey or Chester Zoo’s the lanterns.  Details to follow in an upcoming blog.


🎄 Visit the Christmas Tree Festival at Chester Cathedral.

Head to Chester Cathedral and admire approx. 55 stunningly decorated Christmas trees, all designed by school children and local businesses in the cathedrals beautiful cloisters. The Cathedral can be visited for a small donation making this a cheap option for families.


🧸 Head to Winter Wonderland in Telford

A truly magical experience for little ones and their grown ups. Visit Santa in his snow-capped log cabin, walk through Ice-Mountain, take a spin on the Winter Carousel and Sleigh Ride. Visit the Elve’s Mail Room and Geppetto’s Christmas Toy Shop. See Santa’s Reindeers, Dancer and Prancer staying in the Winter Village. Winter Wonderland is always a complete sell out and operates on bookings only.


🎅 Visit Santa in his grotto, read a story with Santa or even have Breakfast with Santa.

Our blog highlighting all of the places you can see Santa this Christmas will be going live very soon in our huge Christmas round up. In the meantime, its worth checking out all of the National Trust properties for a meet and greet with Santa, play cafes, garden centres, soft play and imagination centres as they all normally run special Santa related events including pyjama parties. If you fancy getting into the Christmas Spirit, maybe try the ‘Reverse Grotto’ at Erdigg near Wrexham where families are encouraged to leave an item to help someone in need.  


🎁 Enjoy a visit to Elf School.

Again, Elf school style events will be added to our upcoming Christmas event blog. In the meantime, why not check out the Elf Academy on offer at Park Hall Farm in Oswestry, The Reindeer Lodge in Mold, and see some naughty elves attempt gift wrapping at Manorafon Farm Park in Abergele. There’s also Winter Wonderland in Telford, Elf Adventure Challenge at St George’s Hall in Liverpool and a number of key events at intu Trafford Centre. You could also book an Elf visit from companies such as Let’s Play Parties who will visit you in your home across Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside.


🦃 Head to your local garden centre for some fun animated characters or a Winter Wonderland experience.

Grosvenor Garden Centre in Chester has a train and the singing Reindeer. Gordale on the Wirral has the singing penguins.  Snowdonia Nurseries and Garden Centre has set up a Winter Wonderland. Bents Garden Centre in Warrington also has set up a Wonderland with miniature village and even a meet and greet with the Reindeer. The Gruffalo is making an appearance at Dobbies in Liverpool. You will also find most garden centres run free or cheap events such as cookie decorating so its worth a quick look on their website.  


🧸Enjoy a Christmas Train ride

Book a magical steam train experience for the family with Father Christmas. For example, Llangollen Railway in Llandudno, West Lancashire Light Railway, East Lancashire Railway, Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, Bala Lake Railway, The Polar Express in Telford, High Legh Railway and more.  

Its story and rhyme time!

🎄 Play story cubes to make up your own themed story.

This doesn’t have to be Christmas themed but if this is what you prefer, why not explore the nativity or your child’s favourite Christmas book. Alternatively, they may wish to write their own story based on things they have seen or heard over the recent weeks.


🎅Create your own nativity scene

You can either purchase a pre made wooden or plastic nativity scene, or you can use a range of cardboard boxes, plasticine, generic wooden figures and felt etc to create your own. There are printable figures available online too.


🎉Sit by the fire and read a story

Take it in turns to select stories and have a good old snuggle up by the warm fire. In our house we make a Christmas book advent and so madam has a different book to read each night once mummy and daddy have finished work. Tea, bath, book, bed…. A great way to finish off the day.


🦃Make a story den.

Use couch cushions, sheets, whatever you can get hold of and create a cosy little den and have a family cuddle. Fairy lights will give it a truly magical touch!


🦌Head to a pantomime, nativity or the theatre.

For Cheshire followers, there’s the upcoming snowman tours in Chester cathedral, Peter Pan and Dear Santa at Crewe Lyceum, Peter Pan at Storyhouse in Chester, Aladdin at the Grange Theatre in Hartford, Sleeping Beauty at the Wilmslow Guild, Dick Whittington and his Cat at The Forum theatre in Stockport and Aladdin at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse. Our Liverpool members may be interested in seeing Peter Pan at Liverpool Empire, Snow White at M&S Bank Arena, or Cinderella In Liverpool at Epstein Theatre. For our North Wales members, there’s Sleeping Beauty at Venue Cymru, Jack and the Beanstalk at Theatre Clwyd, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Pavillion theatre, Rhyl. More details to follow in our upcoming event blog.

Whether marking a child’s first Christmas or honouring an age-old family tradition, a visit to the Victorian Christmas Grotto at Gwrych Castle, Abergele is the perfect way to start the festive season

 ⛄Treat yourselves to a new releases at the cinema

Take a family trip to the cinema to watch a new release Christmas film or visit the cinema on one of the weekend kids clubs sessions. The Grosvenor Museum in Chester often has free film showings.


🎁 Movie Marathon

Turn off the lights except the Christmas tree twinkle lights, snuggle on the couch and take it in turns each night watching your favourite Christmas films.


🎄 Karaoke pyjama party

If you don’t feel confident going out carol singing, why not stay in the warm, get your comfiest PJ’s on, and have a little karaoke party. Keep it simple, just you and the kids and take it in turns belting out your favourite Christmas tunes.

🎅Character meet and greets.

If you are worried that too many visits to Santa are going to lead to some awkward questions, why not head to a meet and greet with the Gruffalo by heading to Z-arts in Manchester. Clued in with kids had an amazing time the last time we visited as you become immersed in a ‘World inside a Book’ where children can explore a range of Julia Donaldson themes all hidden behind ‘Charlie Cooks’ bookcase. Details of other character meet and greets including Elsa from Frozen will be released in an upcoming event blog.


🎉 Arctic animals sensory play

Use a range of materials that you are likely to have at home to create a small world for imaginative play. For ideas complete with images, please visit


🦃 Of course, who can forget the Elf on the shelf?

Discuss the antics of the elves and ask the kids what mischief they think the elves can get up to. Include older kids in the set up for the younger siblings. Our blog filled with ideas is on its way!


🧸 Play festive family board games or create the best dressed ‘Santa’

Favourites in our house include Pin the tail on the donkey, Christmas quizzes, and other board games. In terms of some more ‘creative’ games, our parties have included working in teams to create the best wrapped up Santa or Christmas cracker. Simply buy some cheap wrapping up paper and cellotape and let the chaos commence.


Visit your local library for a story

Many local libraries host free or cheap events such as festive story and rhyme times in the lead up to Christmas.


Don’t miss out on a fantastic Christmas themed Messy Play play party for your preschoolers this Christmas. Events across Chester and the Wirral. 

Arts and crafts!

🎁 Paint and hide a Christmas themed rock

As mentioned earlier, kids love heading down to the woodland or forest. Why not pick up a few rocks, clean them off, give them a paint on a rainy day and then head back out when its drier to hide them. There are plenty of rock finding groups that you can join on social media so you can take snaps of your work and your finds.


🦌 Colour a play house grotto

You can buy these from Hobbycraft, B and M, and other good retailers. You and the kids will have hours of fun not only colouring, but using their imaginations afterwards.


🎄 Make salt dough ornaments.

Use these ornaments to decorate the tree, adding that personalised touch. The ornaments may also make a sentimental gift for loved ones. For a simple recipe, please visit


🎅Let the kids pick the baubles – Alternative to the above.

Why not head to your local garden centre or retailer and let each member of the family select a bauble. Kids will love placing their choice on the tree and it’s a great way to help them feel included in the festivities.


🎉Make a homemade snow globe.

Kits can be brought from retailers such as The Works or alternatively, you can just use recycled glass jars, clay, water (don’t worry about using distilled) and environmentally friendly glitter, figurines and glycerine. Here’s a handy video to summarise a simple method. Just be mindful of potential choking hazards for the under 3’s if you choose this activity.


🦃 Make paper snow flakes or other Christmas decorations.

This can be quite tricky but you can usually find templates online. A great activity for older kids.

Make a new bauble or ornament at your local pottery/ craft centre.

Many local pottery and craft centres have package deals available. Its also a great option for a rainy day and keeps all the mess away from home. Grandparents love these type of gifts. Its also nice to have a new keepsake from your child once a year that can be added to the tree.


🧸Create a memory jar from 2019

A great way to bond as a family and reflect on all the good experiences shared in 2019. You can purchase a scrap book and stick in either written memories, or if you are a tad more organised that we are, pre print some images of your favourite family moments and get them all glued in.


🎁 Make personalised Christmas cards

As if the kids need any excuse to get out the gems, glitter and paints! Handprints and footprints always go down well and can be used creatively to turn them into characters. Again, just be mindful that some decorations will be choking hazards to the under 3’s. An example of some hand and foot print characters can be found on pinterest


🦌 Decorate Pine Cones

As mentioned earlier, take the family out for the morning or afternoon to the woods. Observe the animals that live there and as part of your scavenger hunt, collect pine cones to decorate using environmentally friendly glitter or paints.

🎄 Make festive slime

The best recipes involve borax but unfortunately this is almost impossible to get hold of and can cause irritation on little hands. Contact lens solution is a good alternative. Here’s an example of a recipe using contact lens solution. Please note we have not yet tested this.


🎅Make festive play dough.

The Clued in kid loves play dough. She has hours of fun and although we do normally buy it in, making your own is so simple and you know exactly what ingredients go into it. You can then add other items such as environmentally friendly glitter and colour it to your child’s exact wishes. An example of a recipe is here


🎉Make a winter bird feeder

Use the cold and probably wet weather to have a discussion about how to look after animals this Winter. We particularly like the idea of the LEGO bird feeder suggested on this site.


🦃Make a pomander

Kids can spend hours making these fabulous smelling little Christmas decorations.


🧸Write to Father Christmas

Write a letter to Father Christmas as usual to give Santa some suggested ideas for a gift but don’t forget to acknowledge what you are grateful for this year. In terms of present buying for yourselves, why don’t you work on the principle of something they want, something they need, something they’ll love and something they’ll read. Kids don’t need every toy under the sun. Take away the hassle and keep it simple.

Its all about the food of course!

🦌 Make no glitter Reindeer food or an Elves breakfast.

Use a mixture of porridge oats, seeds, nuts, fruits and the odd sweet to make reindeer food or a yummy tasty breakfast. If hosting an Elves breakfast, you could also throw into the mix some pancakes, blueberries, syrups, milkshakes and other tasty treats. If possible, think ahead so that its on a day where the family doesn’t have to rush and it can be eaten together at the table. A nice recipe for the granola based recipe can be found here


Gingerbread houses.

Decorate a gingerbread house as a family or make individual ones around the table with hot chocolate. You can make the gingerbread yourselves or buy from as little as £1.99 from B and M. Alternatively, buy a pack of gingerbread from the local supermarket along with some icing tubes and sweets to decorate. Then snuggle up under a blanket and watch a film.


🎁 Do a spot of baking.

Make cupcakes or biscuits. Create an afternoon tea. Or maybe teach the kids how to make their own pizzas? Obviously if Christmas hasn’t yet been, making your own gingerbread, snowflake cookies or mince pies is the perfect rainy day activity. You could even get the kids to make extra and add the personal touch to any gifts. These go down great with the grandparents.


🎄 Make Fudge

This can then be enjoyed as a family during a Christmas film later on, or carefully wrapped and given as an extra personal gift to family and friends. You can add all sorts of fillings e.g. cherries, raisins, etc.


🎅Toast marshmallows.

And of course you must enjoy these with hot chocolate. For the adults, why not add a dash of baileys or even some orange liquor?


🎉Festive afternoon tea at home

Get some turkey and stuffing sandwiches, a range of festive sweet treats (made even more special if you have worked together to make one or two) and, depending on the age of your children, maybe even the teddies can join in the fun.


🦃Host a Christmas Party

Ok so this isn’t necessarily the cheapest option but it’s a great way to get family and friends all in one place (and the perfect opportunity to sneakily exchange gifts away from the kids). The children will enjoy helping prepare the food or you can keep it simple by hosting a ‘bring a little, eat a lot’ party whereby each guest volunteers to bring one or two items.

It’s a time for giving!

🧸Donate old toys to charity

We have seen a fantastic elf on the shelf idea whereby the elf is suspended in the Christmas tree with a basket below asking the children to go on the hunt for toys they no longer play with but could bring joy to other boys and girls. The toys are then donated to either the local hospital charity or food bank. Please check with the recipient business of any stipulations. For example, many hospitals can only take toys that can be wiped down.


☃️ Shoe box appeal

Run by Operation Christmas Child, the shoe box appeal brings a little love and good cheer to children in need all around the world. Many local schools will be hosting collections or the website allows you to build a box online. Alternatively, some drop off centres are still running. Please check the website for the remaining 30 centres who operate until 6th December 2019.


🎁 Visit a reverse grotto

Erdigg near Wrexham is just one example of somewhere families can go to leave an item to help someone in need.  


🦌 Donate food to your local food bank

This is a great alternative to handing out Christmas cards. Many of our readers instead use the money they would have spent to purchase a couple of food items and encourage the children to come with them to drop the items off so they understand how fortunate they are compared to others.


🎄 Get into the Christmas spirit by carrying out a random act of kindness.

 This could be something simple for a friend, relative or neighbour or donate warm clothing, food or drink to someone in need e.g. the elderly or homeless?

Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow!

🎅Hunt for ‘buried’ treasure

Great for little ones. Send them out with a little spade to go on the hunt for some items you have hidden prior to their ‘exploration’.


🎉Make a snowman Alternatively, get the kids to step it up a notch and be a little more creative by creating a snow animal.


🦃Make a snow angel

Just ensure that the ground is undisturbed and the snow is deep enough that you wont see the ground when finished. Just remember to check for rocks and dog poop before you begin!

🧸Family snow ball fight or a little target practice

Rather than just have a typical snow ball fight (which normally ends up with someone in tears), why not raid the recycling and set up some form of target practice in the garden. You could even draw a giant snowman and its great for kids to practice their aim.

☃️ Build a snow fort

Ok so this will take a fair bit of effort but you can make all sorts of shapes and sizes and it will keep the kids entertained for hours!


🎁 Go sledging on your local ‘sledge hill.

Seek the landowners permission first but a free family trip to your local communities Sledge Hill will certainly lead to smiles all round. Examples of some great locations include the Carrs in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge Golf Club, Frodsham Caves, Kelsall Hill in Tarporley, Teggs Nose in Macclesfield, Walton Park in Warrington, Helsby Hill, Castle Park in Frodsham, or for the thrill seekers theres Lymm Dam for our Cheshire members. In North Wales, you cant go far wrong with a trip to Loggerheads, Ty Mawr, Moel Fammau, Hope Mountain, Llyn Brenig or the Horseshoe Pass. For our Liverpool families, there is Newsham Park in West Derby, Camp Hill in Woolton, Princes Park in Toxteth, Fornby Point, Everton Brow, Vale Park, Harrison Park in Wallasey, Allerton towers, Vale Park in New Brighton and Dawstone Park in Heswall.

Note: Please take sensible precautions and wrap up warm. Sledging is taken at the riders own risk.

🦌 Go Snow tubing

As above but replace the sledge with an inflatable beach ring left over from the Summer.


🎄 Tracks in the snow

Have fun making the Imbonerable snowman footprints. Alternatively pretend you are the Gruffalos child and make/follow tracks in the snow. If you are really lucky and you have headed to an isolated spot, you may be able to spot actual tracks and use this to discuss the wildlife in this habitat.

 🎅Blow bubbles and watch them freeze

Kids love this activity. It’s a simple experiment that can be performed at home where bubbles will turn into orbs of ice! You can use a good quality bubble solution or if you are brave enough, you can attempt to make your own. All you need is one part water, four parts dish soap and a small dash of glycerine or a light corn syrup. The temperature must be below freezing for this to work and the colder the better.

🎉 Play snow golf

Break out the summers mini golf set and just enjoy.


🦃Re-create the battle of Hoth

Theres always an excuse to play with the star wars figurines!


🧸Snow graffiti

Fill up some spray bottles with water and food colouring and just let the kids go for it. Make sure that they are wearing their ‘scruffs’ though as if they get a little trigger happy it will stain.


☃️ Build a snow construction site or model village

Whizz out those toy cars, diggers, toy homes and villagers, establish a little ‘road network’ and create either a model village or a construction site in the snow. Great for imaginative play.


🎁 Don’t forget to check in on elderly neighbours and family/friends.

Maybe give them a call or pop round with a few emergency goodies!

Finally have a fantastic Christmas from all of us at Clued in with kids. Here’s to another fabulous year in 2020
Copyright 20th November 2018, Clued in with kids. All rights reserved.
Revised 19th November 2019.

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