7 Fun Indoor Winter Activities That Aren’t Gaming or Watching TV

Whether you’re looking to spend less screen time or just find a new hobby, there’s plenty you can do inside this winter.
Image credit: João Silas/Unsplash

When the weather turns wintery, it probably means one of two things: Either you’re ready to go skiing, snowboarding, or some other sort of outdoor activity, or you’re going to be spending more time inside. Even if you love the outdoors, you’ll still be spending plenty of time indoors.

It’s tempting to hit the couch and watch TV or fire up your favorite game console, but those aren’t your only options. Looking to do something else on a frozen afternoon? We’ve got some ideas.

1. Get Into a New Book Series

Reading is a great way to pass a dark, gloomy afternoon. You could always re-read a few of your favorite novels, but so many good books come out every year that you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to check them out.

If you’re a fan of science fiction, we’ve got a list of classics that still hold up, but you could also opt for a newer series like Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Cixin Liu. If you’re more of a fan of fantasy and looking to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your life, try The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.

2. Crossword Puzzles

This may sound like something your grandparents spend their afternoons on, but crossword puzzles can be surprisingly satisfying. If you’re a fan of puzzle video games, especially any variety that uses words as a core mechanic, you may find crossword puzzles to engage a similar part of your brain.

If you find general-knowledge crossword puzzles boring, don’t worry. There’s an entire Subreddit dedicated to nerdy crossword puzzles.

3. Board Games

Maybe you feel like playing a game but you’re in the middle of a digital detox. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck playing kick the can. There are plenty of great board games that offer all the strategy of video games, only in physical form.

Don’t worry if you’re in the mood to play a board game but can’t round up a few friends for a game night. We’ve put together a roundup of board games that you can play without anyone else around.

4. Assembling and Painting Miniatures

If you prefer your tabletop gaming to be of the wargaming or Dungeons & Dragons variety, you’ve probably got some miniatures around. If you don’t, it can’t hurt to start before you’ve got a gaming session lined up. This way you’ll be ready the next time you round up a group of friends.

Painting miniatures is especially nice if you’ve got artistic leanings but can’t ever come up with inspiration for something to paint. Assembling them can be a relaxing, meditative process as well.

5. Cooking

Whether you cook regularly or can’t remember how to boil water, spending a weekend leveling up your cooking skills will pay dividends for the rest of your life. Whether you’re trying out a new recipe or tweaking an old favorite, not only is the cooking process fun, but you get to eat or drink the result.

6. Listen to Music

We tend to listen to music largely as a background activity, which means that we’re missing out a lot of the time. If you’re looking to kill an afternoon, mindfully listening to a few of your favorite albums is a great way to appreciate them all over again.

This is especially true if you happen to collect vinyl albums, which are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Poring over the album cover and liner notes while listening can be surprisingly fun.

7. Organize a Collection

Collecting something, no matter what it is, can be surprisingly satisfying. The only problem is that things can start to pile up after a while. Organizing your collection will tidy things up, sure, but it’s also a nice way to go over and appreciate each item again.

If this sounds fun but you’re looking for ideas to start a collection, we can help you out there.

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4 comments
  1. 2. Crossword Puzzles
    I used to compile them for a local newspaper long time ago—that was fun too, if solving is a bit easy for you 🙂
    Most probably know the USA style of short clues and overlapping words, which I never took to. If you want to try an alternative, my fav is cryptic clues and Brit-style interlocking words:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptic_crossword
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossword#Types_of_crossword_puzzles
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    4. Assembling and Painting Miniatures
    Did that as a kid. If I had the space now, I’d love to give 3D Printing a shot and assemble & paint my own custom bits.
    [paragraph]
    Guys, you need to fix this paragraph problem in your reply box—it’s been this way since the start and can’t help with first impressions.
    [paragraph]
    Physical puzzles: I find those fun to pull out every so often for an evening of aggravation—there are some very good metal & wooden ones these days. Plus all the twisty puzzles—Rubik’s Cube and the other 100 spin-offs.
    [paragraph]
    Pub games: I still love to play a few rounds of darts whenever someone interested drops by. Another on I haven’t played in forever—just reminded myself to try and pick it up again—is a mainly Irish game called rings … or at least, the only place I saw/played it was a local Irish pub:
    https://www.mastersofgames.com/rules/rings-rules.htm
    [paragraph]
    I agree, let’s keep the undisputed Funnest Indoor Winter Activity a secret for now 😉

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