Written by Spotloan

Cabin fever can set in quickly once winter break hits. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to combat both the boredom and the cold without breaking the bank before the end of the year. Americans plan to spend roughly $998 on gifts, food, and decorations this holiday season

Whether you splurge or save throughout the holiday season, many families find that there’s little room left for extras like school breaks. When your thoughts are wrapped up in work, shopping for gifts, and cooking festive meals, it’s hard to find inspiration for fun and affordable activities. 

Affordable Adventures for the Holidays 

If you have been scratching your head trying to think of what to do to get out of the house, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s taking in some off-hours entertainment, enjoying a winter sport, or choosing another activity, we have some suggestions that will help get you and your kids out of the house. 

  1. Check for Local Movie Matinees 

Movie matinees are a way for theaters to drive in business during the hours and days that they typically see less traffic. The busiest showtimes are around 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. School’s out, most people are out of work, and there’s still time between dinner and bedtime. 

But because this is when most people prefer to go to the movies, and theaters have no trouble wrangling customers at full price, there’s no reason to offer incentives. Instead, movie theater-goers get the best deals before 6:00 p.m. Check with your theater before you buy, as some matinees are anytime before 6:00 p.m. and others are before 3:00 p.m. or sometimes even before noon. 

Whatever time your matinee window is, you’ll score significant discounts on tickets. Some theaters offer as much as 50% off, which means that a family of four would essentially get two movie tickets for free. 

  1. Browse the Things to Do Section on Groupon 

The Things to Do Section on Groupon changes regularly and offers fun and affordable activities for the whole family. Their website says that you can save on thousands of great deals at nearby restaurants, spas, activities, shopping, travel, and more. 

Some examples that hold up through the cold: escape rooms, aquariums, zoos with winter exhibits, light festivals, trampoline parks, and arcades. If you get a nice enough day, there are also options for horseback riding, farm tours, and other outdoor festivities. 

  1. Meander through a Museum 

Museums are a great way to combine a leisurely and fun activity with some light learning for a well-rounded afternoon. Like movie theaters, many museums offer discounts for their slower days or before a certain time each day. 

Also like movie theaters, many museums offer discounted or free tickets to students to encourage continued learning. Others offer discounts for parents on certain days and allow free entry for children under a certain age, typically age 10. 

While you’re looking at local museums, be sure to check for local plays, historical societies, and other affordable activities that won’t cost too much or take you too far from home. 

  1. Find an Affordable Sporting Event 

Football takes us nearly to the end of the year, and hockey continues throughout the remainder of the colder months. About half of all states across the U.S. have professional sports teams. And many who don’t still have semi-professional sports and local events. 

Semi-professional football, hockey, and other sports games offer hours of entertainment at incredibly affordable prices. You may even be able to find tickets on Groupon for far less than you would expect. 

And with a hot chocolate or another warm and budget-friendly treat in hand, the cold won’t take away from the fun. 

  1. Bundle Up and Visit a Park 

Last but not least is a winter activity that won’t cost you much if anything. When the temperature starts to drop, most parks clear out pretty quickly. This means that you and your family can find a park to enjoy without the crowds or the costs. 

Wear warm layers, bring blankets or extra coats, and plan a few fun activities that will get everyone moving. Nothing beats the winter blues faster than moving around a bit. Spend the afternoon playing tag, competing in winter scavenger hunts, or otherwise enjoying the time off. 

When you get back home, make homemade hot chocolate or bake up delicious cookies, and find a festive movie to watch through one of the streaming services that give you the most bang for your buck.