Ways to Keep Your Mind Busy Through the Rest of a Long Winter

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If you are looking for some projects or activities that can keep your mind busy during these last few weeks of winter, I have some fun suggestions for you today.

If you are looking for some projects or activities that can keep your mind busy during these last few weeks of winter, I have some fun suggestions for you today. #longwinter #winterboredombusters #wintersanity #winter 

Ways to Keep Your Mind Busy Through the Rest of a Long Winter

It seems like winter can get so long and as much as I love to watch the beautiful snowfall, being stuck inside for months on end can have a maddening effect on a person. My little ones keep me busy during the day but after they go to bed we often find that the evenings can get very long since they are so dark.

Here are some things to do to keep your mind busy so you don’t go crazy waiting for spring to arrive:

Puzzle Pieces


Some evenings I like having a little project to work on that doesn’t really take much brain power (since I often don’t have much left at the end of the day!) Puzzles are a great way to fill the time and put your mind on something besides those long dark days. If you have little ones like I do that might think that those puzzle pieces would be fun toys/snacks, you might want to pick up one of these Puzzle Roll Up Mats to put away your activity during the day.

Organize a New Room

There’s always plenty of cleaning and organizing to do around the home but sometimes I find that it’s “funner” to focus on one organizing project instead of feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. Pick one room to work on for the rest of the winter and have fun cleaning it out and making it into the room that you really want it to be. You will find smaller projects in making things for the room and before you know it, spring will be here again. 🙂


Make Candles

I love the glow of a candle in the winter. It makes everything feel so nice and cozy and warms the room that you are in with it’s soft glow. Candle Making is fun and fairly simple to do. You can make Soy Candles or Beeswax Candles or any kind of candles that your heart desires. I have some candle holders that I love so we’ve been making taper candles this winter.


We started doing some indoor exercising several months ago when the mud became too much of a nuisance to walk outside. You could come up with your own routine or do like we have and choose from one of the many free exercise videos on Amazon Prime. We do this during the day with the kids since I’ve found that it helps to wear them out a little so they are more ready for bed when bedtime rolls around AND it helps to perk me up when I get to that mid-afternoon sleepy slump.

Take Free Classes

Another great way to occupy your mind is to find online classes that you can take from home. There are many free course available for various subjects online. If you are looking to learn to crafting techniques you might also want to check out the Free Craft Classes on Craftsy. Winter is always a great time to work on crafts, sewing, and other fun projects so taking some classes and learning new skills seems to go right along with that.

Pen and Paper

Write to Pen Pals/Correspondence

We love sending and getting snail mail and have really increased the amount of mail that we send over the last 2 years. Penning a lovely letter is an excellent way to pass time in the winter and it will really brighten your day to get a response back in your mailbox. Both adults and children alike enjoy having a pen pal or two so make sure you look for one for each member of your family! We found several for our oldest son this winter and even though he can’t write yet, he enjoys coloring pictures for his friends and receiving a similar “letter” back in the mail from them.

If you want to work on your simple living type of lifestyle in the winter, you might also be interested in my workbook, 31 Days to Simpler Living. Going step by step through the days will help to keep your mind occupied through any season of the year and will guide you to live a simpler lifestyle than the one you already lead.

These are just a few things that we’ve been having fun with this winter. While I love each season of the year for it’s uniqueness, winter can definitely start feeling like it’s lasting much too long up here in the north.

Here are some other winter weather posts you might enjoy:

What are some simple things that you do to help your mind escape when the winter is seeming like it’s going to last forever?


This post on How to Keep Your Mind Busy During Winter was originally published on Little House Living in January 2016. It has been updated as of January 2020.

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  1. Hi Merissa,
    not that we’ve had much of a winter here in Germany so far, but my hubby and I often use quiet evenings to snuggle up together and read out aloud to each other. We just pick a book that we both like and take turns in reading. It allows us to spend some quality time together and as a bonus you always have something fun to talk and speculate about.
    This is also something you can enjoy as a family with older kids.

  2. First time to visit here (from Hope in Every Season). What a fun list! I’d love to try my hand at candles and I love puzzles. The one that caught my attention was writing letters. My blog, Shelter: Postmarked just went up last week and we are counting postmarks. I’d love for you to stop by each Friday and leave your week’s total or share a picture of your mail. We are having fun!

  3. I feel like I don’t have much time in the evenings. 🙂 I generally write, work on my blog, and read. Still, because I love these activities so much, I always look forward to my evenings!

  4. I love all of your suggestions and have one to ad. Crafting can be very rewarding in the winter when getting out becomes more of a chore than fun. I love to sew, cross stitch and crochet, especially in the evenings after the daily tasks are over and we are settling in for some movie time. We do not have cable, so our TV time is limited. I love working on a crocheted blanket on the cold nights when temps are below zero with a windchill making it feel even colder. Once our cement house gets cold, that cold seems to seep right through the walls, so having a nice afghan growing longer on my lap certainly helps to keep me warm. I find most of my craft supplies at the local thrift store, Goodwill or St. V’s and mostly make things that I donate. But I will also use this time to get a head start on homemade gifts for this Christmas.

  5. I find I like to see bright colors in the Winter-time. So I try to put a bright bow on the lamp-post outside. I also like to use colored pencils to do the new adult botanical (coloring books) that are about $5.00 a book.
    I then rotate displaying the finished colored pages in a picture frame in my living room. Winter is a good time to read and make cotton washcloths.
    We haven’t started gardening yet, so no seed buying for us yet. Special recipes are calling out to me to make them this time of year. Exercise indoors in not my favorite thing, perhaps I just need a new routine.

  6. I love this article. I have found that I am enjoying knitting scarves. I am knit up a scarf for my son, two scarves for my son’s school clothing drive, and two scarves for two of my son’s long distance friends. (They are 7 and 5 years old and loved bright coloured scarves.) I am making a scarf for co worker, and I recently heard of a need for scarves at a local food pantry. You can turn your hobbies in the Winter time into a way to invest in others. Make the puzzle, glue it, frame it, and give it to an elderly person in a nursing home, or so the same with the adults colouring pages. The possibilities are endless! Thank you, Wendy Briscoe

    1. If you print coloring pages out on card stock (available at your nearest office supply store), it will be easier to frame, and you can get a nice frame at your favorite dollar store location.

  7. Such great ideas that I would never have thought of! Can’t wait to give them a try. Thanks for sharing on the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop 🙂

  8. Good topic. We’re up in the mountains and only go outside when the dogs need their walks. But it’s so cold that even that is a dreaded chore! I keep busy doing things I find that I don’t have time for, or don’t feel like doing, in the summer:
    – reading or watching movies by the fire (so cozy with bf and the 6 pets cuddled up together!)
    – planning and researching new and frugal recipes (I do this daily)
    – planning my garden (yay!)
    – trying new recipes (tried a Baked Alaska last night, terrible fail!)
    – sleeping more
    – major house cleaning because summer for me isn’t about washing windows
    – painting (I started painting watching Bob Ross and I love it so much, so I do a painting each week during the winter months)
    – photography (we set up several bird feeders and ground feeders so I can get great closeups of the wildlife outside)

    I get cabin fever in the winter, plus S.A.D…so it’s really important to keep as busy as possible!

  9. Hi there,
    Here in Australia its summer, so there is always plenty to do at this time of year. Its a hot 40 degrees Centigrade. PHEW!!!!
    For our big family… its summer salads, & trying out new recipes for some fun summer drinks for the children. ( I love fruit ice drinks)
    and lots of swimming to stay cool.
    I enjoy letter writing too, and have some dear friends in America that I like to write to. It seems to be a lost art these days.
    Thanks for your great blog.
    Bug hugs to all, from the great south land.
    love Jules xx

  10. I enjoyed reading your suggestions very much!

    I especially liked the idea of picking a room to organize for the “rest of the winter”. That seems very manageable and not overwhelming.

    Great ideas!

  11. I have used tutorials on YouTube.com for many things: fixing a door handle back-set, complex crochet stitches and projects, and complex origami as well as book-binding and many other things.

  12. I recently bought your book and it is wonderful to have, thank you.
    This past summer I learned how to knit via Youtube, and on most nights I spend crocheting and knitting. I love this activity of making lovely items to wear, for my daughter to play with, or to give as gifts.

  13. I live in Michigan, so we have very long winters (and cold!) I’ve never thought about making candles, as much as I love them. Your ideas are fabulous!! I’m thinking about taking an online CPR class. Thanks so much for all your great ideas!

  14. I soon needed this! I’m counting the weeks until I take an extended vacation, and it seems like it’s taking forever. 🙂 I was considering taking a language class to help me get get ready for the trip and help pass the time. Great advice, Merissa! #prettypintastic

  15. Wonderful ideas! I live in the deep south so there are no days of being snowed in. I did live in Maine when I was a child and I do know what you mean! We are in for a few days of rain and I find that it is the perfect time to organize. This is my first visit to your blog! I’ll be back soon:)
    Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

  16. Old fashioned pen pals sound like so much fun. I’d love to find something like that to do for myself and my kids.

  17. Jigsaw puzzles, jacks, tops, shooting marbles, cats cradle, tiddlywink’s, any hands on pub puzzles, tinker toy types. Jump Rope games.
    Penny Press or Dell puzzles on paper: logic/crossword/word or number search/mazes/sudoku- they have free printable ones daily- any game to exercise the mind….Look for these in Sunday newspaper, Penny Savers- any newspaper or magazine, find/save it, keep a stack ready.
    Games: board games, dice, shut the box, dominoes, mahjongg, Backgammon, Uno.
    Any card games with self or group: Solitaire to Go Fish, Crazy 8’s, Spoons, etc. even building a house of cards.
    Learn a language.
    Research the “pass times/hobbies” of Colonial, Native American, Victorian, ancient Greece, Aztec, Viking, etc.
    Look into Fox Fire Book Series for many how to’s: Games, Hobbies, Preserving, music, crafts, etc.
    Check out: Readers Digest of the 1970’s books. Sunset Magazine Books. Old Boy and Girl scout books.
    Crochet just about anything, knitting, macramé, rag rug making, embroidery, tole painting, scrap booking, writing, hand sewing clothing-free patterns online, moccasin making, how to make: felted art and slippers, darning, tatting lace and curtains, drawing, stenciling your room/doorways, toy making, carving, wood working, clay house hold oven fired pottery or greenware ceramics, beading, decorating for any holiday,
    this is just a small bit of a list.
    Research, find, gather information how to, where to buy, etc- make a library of the above.