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100 Things to Do This Winter

Updated Jan. 10, 2018

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of that winter blues funk. Without the excitement of the holidays, snow and sub-zero temperatures lose their appeal and winter quickly becomes monotonous.

Luckily, Make It Better has a wealth of ideas to keep you occupied — some indoors, some outdoors, some a little out there, and some that take no effort at all. Try to tackle them all and spring will be here before you know it.

1. Have a snowball fight.

2. Spread the love with these simple acts of kindness [1].

3. Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago [2] with your kiddos.

4. Grab a mug full of hot chocolate [3].

5. Find your philanthropic passion. [4]

6. Cuddle up with someone you love.

Chicago Children's Museum [5]

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Children’s Museum.

7. Take the kids to an indoor play space. (Check out our list of nine great ones [6].)

8. Have some fun outdoors while getting in your daily cardio. (Here are six calorie-melting winter workouts [7] that have a definite fun factor.)

9. Catch up on new TV shows from the fall [8].

10. Build a snowman.

11. Take the time to organize your home [9].

12. Read a new book. (We have a few suggestions [10], from the best of 2017 [11] to parenting books [12].)

13. Order dinner from one of these to-go joints [13].

14. Try a new restaurant. [14]

15. Support a local nonprofit. [15]

16. Play a game. (Here are five options you may enjoy [16].)

17. Get cozy and watch one of these films [17].

18. Put down your phone and unplug for an entire day. (Could your phone could be ruining your relationships? [18])

19. Try a subscription box. You don’t even have to leave the house for these suggestions [19].

20. Go green by swapping out the cleaning products you’re using [20].

Tribune Tower [21]

Tribune Tower (Photo by Heather Leszczewicz.)

21. Go on a day trip. We have our DayTripper Guide handy [22].

22. Find the perfect paint color [23] for your home.

23. Bake cookies [24].

24. Make paper snowflakes.

25. Experience the new, female-driven [25] show at Medieval Times [26]. Between now and Feb. 4, as part of the Fill the Pantry campaign supporting local food pantries, drop off three non-perishable food items to the Schaumburg Castle and receive 35 percent off adult tickets, and 20 percent off tickets for children age 12 and younger.

26. Try the best coffee in Chicago [27].

27. Serve breakfast [28] in bed.

28. Make soup. Here are eight great recipes [29].

29. Round up things in your home to donate [30].

30. Write a letter. People appreciate a physical piece of mail.

31. Learn a new skill, like knitting.

32. Go to your local library.

33. Warm up with a modern casserole recipe [31].

34. Go to a museum [32].

35. Plan a visit to Brookfield Zoo (maybe for Winter Wine and Whiskey Fest [33] on Feb. 24?).

36. See a show. [34]

Shoveled Sidewalk

37. Shovel your neighbor’s walkway or parking space.

38. Visit a distillery [35].

39. Go wine tasting.

40. Volunteer at a local shelter [36].

41. Send us your events. [37]

42. Bring treats to your office.

43. Shop at an international food market [38].

44. Have a family pizza party and try making your own [39].

45. Schedule regular family dinners. (Learn more about the benefits of family dinner [40] and how to make it a priority.)

46. Go bowling.

47. Go skiing at one of these resorts close to Chicago [41].

48. Make an igloo.

49. On a freezing day, try making steam by throwing boiling water in the air. Just make sure you do this safely.

Flinders Chase National Park (Australia) [42]

View from Flinders Chase National Park in Australia. (Photo by Amber Gibson.)

50. Plan your summer or spring vacation. (How about South Australia [43], Boston [44], an under-the-radar wine destination [45], or one of these life-changing family vacations [46]?)

51. Have a “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and/or “Lord of the Rings” marathon.

52. Meditate by trying out a coloring book.

53. Try making ice balloons [47].

54. Enjoy those candles you never light or buy a new scent.

55. Take down your decorations.

56. Make a resolution. [48]

57. Break a resolution.

58. Complete a resolution.

59. Write something — a haiku, a script, a book.

60. Create a killer at-home workout [49].

61. Take an acting class. (Find out more about the Actors Training Center in Wilmette [50].)

62. Try new yoga trends [51].

63. Call a loved one you don’t see very often.

64. Bundle up and go to the beach.

65. Go thrifting.

66. Check something off your bucket list.

Plant pot rings vertical container garden close up. Photo courtesy of Bottle&Branch. Photo by Nicole Radja [52]

Plant pot rings vertical container garden at Harvest Juicery. Photo courtesy of Bottle&Branch. Photo by Nicole Radja.

67. Try creating a vertical garden [52].

68. Sing karaoke.

69. Try a new recipe. (How about one of these with five ingredients or less [53]?)

70. Put together a jigsaw puzzle.

71. Warm up with a Winter Sangria [54].

72. Organize your pantry [55].

73. Get started with the stock market. (Have questions? Here’s a beginner’s guide [56].)

74. Watch a documentary. (10 worth your time [57].)

75. Partake in high tea [58].

76. Try listening to a new podcast [59].

77. Buy yourself some flowers to brighten up your space.

78. Get ready to spring clean [60].

79. Quit a bad health habit [61] (and adopt a good one instead).

80. Work on potty training [62] the little ones in your life.

81. Try out a high-tech parenting tool [63].

82. Work on reading with your child [64].

83. Pamper yourself [65] at retail or beauty hotspots.

84. Meditate.

85. Update your home with beautiful wallpaper [66].

86. Go for a brisk walk around the block.

87. Try out a new social network.

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Platter [67]

Photo by Kerri Sherman.

88. Throw a dinner party [68]. Don’t forget the cheese platter [69].

89. Make sure your home is up on its winter maintenance [70].

90. Host a sleepover for your kids and their friends.

91. Transform an empty room [71] into one you will use.

92. Have a create-your-own-pasta party with a variety of noodles, sauces, and cheeses.

93. Find a local fundraiser [72] to support.

94. Work on your skin regimen and make sure you’re eating the right foods [73].

95. Get healthy and active! (You can turn to our Best of 2017 Fitness & Recreation winners [74].)

96. Find something you normally don’t clean and do that. The baseboards, your electronics, etc.

97. Work on your stress levels [75] in one minute, one hour, or one day.

98. Ready to make a change at work? Follow these career tips [76].

99. Sign your kids up for camp.

100. Spend time with your family. Don’t worry about needing to do things with them. Just enjoy their company.

If you have other great ideas, leave a note in the comments!