The 30 Best Winter Activities for Boston Kids

Learning to snowshoe is fun and great winter exercise. Photo courtesy of
Learning to snowshoe is fun and great winter exercise. Photo courtesy of

Winters in New England can sometimes feel dark and dreary, but the silver lining of all the frosty weather is snowy outdoor adventures, like ice skating outside or trying snowshoes, cozy traditions like at-home crafts, and fun winter family events to go to. Our picks for best winter activities in Boston for kids include winter woodland days, fire pit picnics at Appleton Farms, and a kid-friendly film festival.  

For more winter activities that keep kids busy, bookmark our Boston Winter Fun Guide. Keep warm—and have fun!

Note: Many locations in Boston are requiring masks be worn indoors and some venues are requiring proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test, for entry. Check locations for specific details. If you are traveling to an activity outside of your state or local area, check for any travel restrictions, advisories, or quarantine orders.

Outdoor Winter Activities Near Boston

1. Go on a Reindeer Quest

Reindeer may be sticking around these parts for a little while past Christmas—see if you can spot the wooden herd on a Reindeer Quest at Chestnut Hill Farm through January.

2. Catch the Last of the Holiday Lights

Some spots are keeping their holiday lights on even after the holidays. Catch ZooLights at the Stone Zoo or Winter Lights in Canton and Stockbridge through January 9.

3. Book a Fire Pit Picnic at the Farm

Gather up your pod and head to Appleton Farms in Ipswich for a Fire Pit Picnic—your tickets (good for up to 6 people) include a s'mores kit and 2 hours at a fire pit (plus wood for burning).

Spot Snowy Owls in their natural habitat. Photo courtesy of the Trustees of Reservations

4. Spot a Winter Visitor

Hike North Shore beaches in search of the wisest of birds on a guided Family Snowy Owl Prowl

5. Put on Your Ice Skates

Get some fresh air, exercise, and loads of fun at some outdoor ice skating rinks or try these free indoor ice skating rinks in Boston.

6. Spend a Day Skating and Sledding

Head to Brookline's Larz Anderson Park, which includes a hilltop outdoor skating rink and has one of the area's most hopping sledding hills.

7. Find the Best Sledding Hills

Throw the sleds in the car and head to one of these sledding hills—we promise, they're worth the drive.

8. Surprise the Family with Snow Tubing 

Step up your sledding game and hit one of these snow tubing spots for some extra fast fun!

Spend the day in an enchanted winter woodland. Photo courtesy of Frozen Fruitlands, Facebook

9. Visit the Frozen Fruitlands

Every Saturday and Sunday through March, bring your winter boots, sleds, snowshoes, or cross-country skis for some high-energy fun as you explore the hills and woodland trails of Frozen Fruitlands. Warm up at a fire pit after.

10. Skate the Charles

Discover the wintertime secrets of The Cove, which features the city's only skating area on Charles River.

11. Teach Kids to Snowshoe

Explore the grounds at Gore Place in Waltham on snowshoes (January through March).

12. Visit the Animals

Bundle up and see lions, a tiger, zebras, and more at the outdoor exhibits at the Franklin Park Zoo

Visit Two Big Black Hearts by Jim Dine at the De Cordova Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of the park

13. Enjoy a Winter City Walk 

Pick one of these wonderful winter walks in one of Boston's beautiful outdoor parks.

14. Head up Hill

Take new skiers to the bunny hill at Blue Hills Reservation in Milton and stop by to visit the otter and owls at the outdoor exhibits at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

15. Make That Family Ski Adventure Happen

If you're looking for a little more speed, sign your kids up to learn how to downhill ski (or snowboard) without even leaving the Boston area.

16. Plan a Winter Day Trip 

Pack up the car and hit the road for an easy winter day trip.

17. Twirl in an Ice Castle

Pretend to be Elsa and visit a real ice castle opening January 22, just over the border in New Hampshire. (Be sure to check intrastate travel restrictions when planning your day trip.)

18. Track Winter Birds

Join your neighbors and share your backyard birding sightings with the Great Backyard Bird Count (beginning mid-February). 

Great Winter Indoor Activities Near Boston

Warm-up in the greenhouse and take in all the lush greenery. Photo courtesy of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

19. Catch Warm Vibes Visiting a Conservatory

Check out Tower Hill Botanic Garden's spectacular 171-acres of outdoor gardens and lush indoor conservatories. They are accessible with advanced ticketing. Check the calendar for fun events like a Yeti Hunt, Snow Slime workshop, and more.

20. Spend a Stormy Day Doing Science 

Try a winter-themed reindeer toothpaste experiment or any of our easy science experiments using household stuff.

21. Give Back Virtually

Honor Martin Luther King's legacy during the 17th annual Boston Cares' MLK Day of Service, which will be held virtually this year from Friday, January 14 - Monday, January 17.

22. Help Kids Learn to Cook 

Pick up ingredients for a cozy one-pot family dinner.

23. Go for a Cocoa Cuppa

Indulge in a cup of steaming hot chocolate at one of our favorite spots for this cold-weather treat.

24. Check out a Kid-Friendly Film Festival 

Catch some of the world's most charming and clever movies for kids ages 3 to 12 at a virtual edition of the annual (and locally produced) 19th annual Belmont World Film's Family Festival.

25. Bounce Away

Let your kids bounce out their energy at an indoor trampoline park (note capacity restrictions and some potential closures).

Bring the kids to view great art. Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

26. Make Time for Museums

Explore an exciting museum, like the Museum of Science, Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, or the Museum of Fine Arts.

27. Build an Epic Winter Igloo

Take the snow fort to the next level and build a multicolored igloo!

Bigger kids can build amazing things. Photo courtesy of Bigstock

28. Turn the Dining Table Into a STEAM Workshop

Try guided, hands-on engineering projects at home during National Engineers Week February 20-26.

29. Make the House a Competition

Build your very own indoor obstacle course right in the house. 

30. Share the Love 

Show some love with handmade Valentines.

Originally published in December 2013

Updated January 2022

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