10 low-cost family fun ideas this winter

A family having a picnic in the forest

10 low-cost family fun ideas this winter


Most of us will be tightening the purse strings and adventuring on a budget this year but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy some unforgettable fun. Read on to discover 10 low-cost winter activities for the whole family this season.

1. Head to your local forest and take some wintry snaps 

The forest is a magical place to be during the winter months. The glistening blanket of frost, the crunching of leaves beneath your feet and that indescribable scent of winter in the air. Photograph a robin, red berries, frost-covered tree branches and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. All you need is your mobile phone and a keen eye for photography...and the kids can join in too! When you get home, snuggle up under a blanket and pick out your favourite snaps as a family.  

We would love to see your best photographs - share them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using our hashtag #ForestFocus. 

Find a forest near you 

Young boy taking a photograph in the forest
Family in an Autumn forest looking at Gruffalo panel

2. Celebrate The Gruffalo's 25th birthday

Pull on your wellies and waterproofs to join in the party fun on our brand new interactive family trail.

Featuring all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures. Pick up an activity pack for £4 at your local forest.

Find a trail

3. Unwind on a wellbeing trail

Escape the chaos of Christmas and head out on a wellbeing trail for a mindful stroll through the trees that invites you to truly relax. Follow the themed panels that encourage you to pause, notice and connect with the forest environment around you. Download a forest wellbeing journal to get even more from the experience, whether you’re at home or out in the forest. 

Find your nearest trail


A sign in the forest that reads 'Pause, be in the moment'
Boy in cycling helmet on a bike in a forest

4. Become a Forest Rider 

The chilly winter weather shouldn’t stop us getting out and about and staying active, so why not hop on your bikes and ride your way to adventure with our Forest Rider packs! With tips and tricks to hone your cycle skills and a logbook to track your progress, we challenge you to log five rides and see what you can find as you explore the forest. There are puzzles, fun activities, stickers and tips for riding safely too. Packs are just £5 (plus postage and packaging of £1.50 when ordered online). 

Find the hidden letter on each page of the logbook and you could also be in with a chance to win an epic £500 prize bundle for the whole family. 

Find out more

Sign up to our family newsletter to be the first to receive news about more family events and other exciting forest activities.

5. Download your free Gruffalo Spotters winter activity sheets

Winter doesn't have to stop you getting outside and learning about nature. Download your free activities and enjoy a day of frosty fun in the forest, or at home!

Download activities 

Gruffalo winter activity sheets
Robin perched on top of the snow dusted forest floor

6. Head out for a mini scavenger hunt 

Head out on a mini scavenger hunt and challenge your little ones to explore the forest and find something beginning with W, I, N, T, E and R! What natural treasures will you discover in the forest? The possibilities are endless. 

Find a forest near you 

7. Bake some scrumptious treats for a forest picnic 

 Why not spend a couple of hours enjoying some baking as a family then pack up the picnic basket and head out for a forest picnic? Don’t forget to pack a blanket to sit on, some extra layers and a flask of hot tea! 

Read our recipes

Mother and two children grinning while eating a picnic on a cluttered bench
Fantastic forests activity sheet

8. Have a digital detox 

If one of your new year's resolutions is to limit screen time, encourage the kids to have a digital detox by downloading a few of our printable activities. Choose from a fantastic forest word search, some forest-themed colouring in sheets or Tree-Trumps plus loads more! No matter what age or ability, we want to inspire every generation to build a personal and lifelong connection with forests and these activities will enable you to do just that as a family.  

Find more resources

9. Treat the kids to a steaming cup of hot chocolate 

Head to your local forest cafe and let the kids indulge in a hot chocolate complete with cream and marshmallows! It’s a simple, low-cost treat and they can let off some steam on a woodland walk whilst you’re there.  

Plan your visit 

Young girl stirring a cup of hot chocolate
A sign that read Gruffalo Orienteering Course starts here

10. Try out our Gruffalo orienteering course 

Discover new parts of the forest and gain useful skills with our Gruffalo themed challenge. Use a simple map to find twelve Gruffalo markers hidden in the deep, dark wood. Answer questions along the way and gain valuable skills in decision making and map reading. And if you're feeling competitive, choose to run, walk (or skip!) the course against the clock. 

Before you begin the trail, pick up a Gruffalo orienteering leaflet with a certificate and map for just £1.50. 

Find a course near you 

Keep exploring...

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