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19 Creative Ways to Have Fun with Your Family in January

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Are you looking for ways to have fun with your family in January? It is a great time to connect with your kids.

Ok.  So anytime is a great time to connect with your kids, but January has a few unique qualities that you can take advantage of right now.

It’s dark.  It’s cold.  And sometimes, if you are lucky, it is white.

All of these qualities make this the perfect month to cozy up and connect as a family. To make it a bit easier for you this month, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can make some family memories this month.

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.}

January Family Considerations

Family fun in January must take into account the unique time of year that happens as the New Year rolls around.

Most families are finishing up the busy holiday season. This isn’t the month to fill the calendar with a ton of activities, but it is a good time to get cozy at home with your family. There are so many creative ways to take advantage of the dark evenings, the cold weather, and the emptier calendar.

January family fun doesn’t have to look like busy schedules. In fact, most of us are usually ready for quite the opposite.

Finding Ways To Have Fun In January

I love the options for family fun in January, but there is no way to do everything on this list. Before you feel any sort of pressure to attempt all of these ideas, let me assure you that I won’t be doing them all.

I’ve compiled this list so we can purposefully select the activities that will work best for our family this month.  After all, we want to connect with our kids and NOT connect with a “to-do” list.

Embracing The Cold In January

1. Sit By a Fire

You can do this indoors if you have a fireplace or outdoors at a fire pit. The coziness of a fire creates a delightful atmosphere for conversation as your family sits around the flames. Make sure the devices are put away so you can focus on the firelight and not the blue light. If you want to take it a bit further, roast marshmallows and make smores.

Make your time around the fire even more unique with magical flames. These little packets burn various colors while in the fire. Of course, you will need to burn them after you have finished roasting any food items.

2.  Enjoy Hot Drinks Together

Warm up any time of day with a steamy mug of…

…or any other favorite warm drink.

3. Make a Hot Chocolate Bar

Keep all of your favorite hot chocolate toppings in special containers in an easy-to-reach area so everyone can enjoy them with their hot cocoa. Ideas include:

  • mini marshmallows
  • crushed candy canes
  • sprinkles
  • baking cocoa powder (for sprinkling on whipped cream)
  • whipped cream (in the fridge)

Kara Anderson suggests putting your hot chocolate bar to good use by throwing a hot chocolate party. This is a great idea for a teen social event you can host this month or something simply fun to do with your own kids.

4.  Draw a Mug of Hot Cocoa

While sipping your favorite drink, gather construction paper and a pack of chalk pastels for a little winter art fun. (our favorite chalk pastels)

Draw a steaming mug of hot chocolate using this video lesson. This fun art activity is one way to have some fun with your kids in a way that suits the season.

Embracing Hygge In Your Family

Unfamiliar with Hygge? You can read all about this Danish practice and adopt the concept in your own home. The closest translation seems to be “coziness” but there is an added sense of contentment.

Use the darkness and the cold to your advantage and connect with your kids purposefully by embracing Hygge.

5. Light Candles

Something about the coziness of candlelight works wonders for conversation.

Light them with dinner or after dinner as you talk and clean up.

Light them during snowy or cloudy days.

Light them while listening to an audiobook together. Candlelight creates opportunities to cozy up and connect.

January family activities that take advantage of the dark.

6. Make Your Own Candles

Of course, a great activity to connect with your kids this month is candle making.

If you are ready for a full-blown candle-making experience, then try making your own Soy Candles using this tutorial from Learning Well.

If you want something a bit simpler, then try one of these beeswax kits. We made this version last year and are still using a few of our candles. These are so easy! You simply roll them up and make designs with the other sheets of beeswax. My kids were 7, 9, 11, and 13 and everyone was able to make candles they felt good about.

7. Make No-Sew Fleece Blankets Together

We love cozy up under our fleece blankets in the winter. Over the years, we have made several of them so everyone has their own. The no-sew versions only require the ability to tie knots so even younger kids can help with the tying.

You can find guides all over the internet with clear pictures and directions to help you along. Of course, after making your new blankets you can snuggle with them and watch a great movie.

8. Hang Christmas Lights

I know. Christmas is over. But something about a room of soft Christmas lights brings people together. Select a room in your house where the family can gather and hang up some Christmas lights. Keep them throughout the winter and you might decide that you don’t ever want to take them down.

We live far enough south that it isn’t too cold through much of winter. Last weekend we hung icicle lights on our porch. On the first night that I plugged them in, the kids all gathered on the porch and talked for half an hour while snuggling under their no-sew fleece blankets.

Something about soft lighting encourages connection and creates that feeling of hygge.

Ideas For Reading Together As A Family In January

9. Snuggle Up with a Winter-Themed Book

There is nothing like a good book, whether you read titles as a family or everyone reads their own individual book. If you want a few great suggestions for the whole family you can find plenty on my booklists:

100 Picture Books to Read this Winter
Winter-Themed Chapter Books for Kids
Winter Reads for Middle School Students

10. Explore the “Best of…” Booklists

January is a great time to check out the best books of the previous year. You can usually find lists on Goodreads, the New York Times, Amazon, and more. This is a great time of year to add a few titles to a list of books you’d like to read this year.

Family Conversation Starters Perfect For January Fun

11. Kick off the New Year with Conversation Starters

This complete set of conversation starters is perfect for every month. You can use them to create delightful conversations at dinner time, at bedtime, or even in the car. Grab your set here or read more about how to use them this year!

Tools for Meaningful conversation with your family.

After printing them, I run them through my laminator, cut them out, and put them in a jar on our kitchen table. This makes it easy to grab a few every now and then.

Family Craft Ideas

Conversation happens so easily when people are engaged in fun activities together. These delightful options will keep your family busy throughout the month of January!

12.  Make Crafts with Your Younger Kids

a.  Look We’re Learning has a HUGE list of Penguin Crafts

b. This Snowman from Learning from my Kids and Indoor Snow Scenes from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers both use Puffy Snow paint.

13.  Make Crafts and Art with Older Kids and Teens

a.  Make a sock monkey. We LOVE our sock monkeys. They are one of my favorite crafts that I have made with my daughters. If you have never made a sock monkey and you have teenagers, then this is a perfect activity to connect with your teen.

b.  These winter luminaries from The Usual Mayhem are gorgeous. They work perfectly for creating hygge in your home.

c. Choose from a ton of Winter Mixed Media projects from The Winter Wonderland Mixed Media course. We own all four seasons and love to dabble in these each season.

14. Make a Bird Feeder

It’s such a delightful activity to watch birds enjoy a homemade, safe bird feeder all year long. We love this simple one that uses gelatin as a base to hold the seeds together. Our family calls these bird cookies and they are perfect to hang in your trees all winter long.

January Poetry Tea Time

Gather some good books and a few fun treats and throw your very own Poetry Teatime. It’s such a fun idea for every month of the year, but a Winter Poetry teatime is a ton of fun!

15. Read Winter Poetry Books

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers. Hands down. My favorite. Just check out the hidden animals in these illustrations.

Winter Bees and other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen. Love these books for their poetry and great information.

Winter Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing!: Winter Poems (I can read Level 3) by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Yossi Abolafia.

16. Make Winter Themed Snacks

You can serve up something simple, like OREO cookies but if you want to make a creative snack, try these:

a. Edible Marshmallow Snowmen from Raising Life Long Learners
b. Popcorn Snowballs from Sugar, Spice and Glitter
c. Cinnamon Sugar Snowflakes from Happy Hooligans (This one looks pretty easy!)
d. Sledding Penguins Frozen Bananas Snack from Reading Confetti

Check out our family’s Winter Poetry Teatime!

Our Winter Poetry Teatime.

Family Games To Play In January

17. Play a Game Together

There is never a wrong time for games and there are literally hundreds to choose from. One of our current favorites is Sushi Go. It’s fairly quick, easy, and fun for the whole family.

Looking for more game ideas?

Best Games to Play on Video Chat
Super Fun Card Games for the Whole Family
The Very Best Board Games You and Your Teens Will Love
Math Games Your Teens and Tweens will Actually Enjoy
Our Favorite Family Board Games

Make New Years Goals

18. Write Goals and Record Memories

Our family uses the same “A Year in Review” printable each year so that we can reflect on the previous year and set goals for the year ahead.

I save these in a folder so we can look back and see some of our previous favorites as well as some of our previous goals. You can always find an updated version of A Year in Review as well as an explanation of how to use it.

This image shows a free new years printable for kids.

19. Read Books about New Years Goals

There are several picture books you can read to inspire goal-setting for the year. These fantastic New Year’s books for kids will also teach a little about New Year’s Traditions around the world.

Have a ton of fun with your family this January

Additional Resources For Family Fun All Year Long:

New Years Goals with Kids

100 Picture Books to Read this Winter

Winter Poetry Teatime

Connecting with Your Kids on Their Terms

Mom’s Winter Booklist 2020


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  1. I love this! My goal for this month was is exactly that, connection and relationship building. My 7th grader is plugging along with her work but my 5th grader is an unschooler for the time being. My focus with the 5th grader is for mom to relax and grow closer and more patient . We have only been homeschooling 11months. My heart knows to do better but head gets a little crazy sometimes…Thank you for the reminder and great ideas.

    1. My head gets a little crazy sometimes too. It is hard to keep perspective, but we just keep trying, right?

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