Every now and then you get one of those days where it's really cold outside, the kids are home from school, possibly due to a snow day, and the whole family is bored out of their minds. Don't just sit on the couch and watch mindless television. There are plenty of creative and beneficial activities you can do that will keep you busy and having fun on a long, cold day.
Encourage the kids to get in touch with their imaginations. Younger children can play hide-and-seek throughout the entire house. If there are a lot of children, Sardines is version of hide and seek in which each child joins the person hiding when they find him, packing into the hiding spot until the last person finds them all. Art projects can also keep kids busy and engaged. Break out all the art materials in the house -- glue, glitter construction paper, scissors and paint -- and allow them to come up with whatever they like. If they need inspiration, give them a theme such as winter, family or a day at the beach. For older kids, have them write a play that involves the whole family that they can direct and put on at the end of the day, or give them a video camera to create their own home movies.
If you don't have kids or the kids aren't home, you and your significant other may be trying to figure out what to do on this cold day. One fun idea is to have a romantic picnic in the living room. If it's snowing outside and you have large windows, set up your picnic by the windows to watch the snow falling while enjoying hot chocolate and simple sandwiches. A cold day is also ideal for snuggling up and watching a romantic movie together, or having a romantic scavenger hunt using important mementos. If you are missing your dinner reservation because of the weather, prepare a romantic dinner for your loved one anyway. Get dressed up like you were planning to and enjoy your meal by candlelight.
Keep the whole family entertained by breaking out the board games. Choose games that everyone in the family can participate in if possible. You can also come up with your own games like dividing the family up into two teams and playing charades or family jeopardy. Make up your own family rules for each game. To keep the kids learning, create categories for jeopardy based on things they are currently learning in school. Improve culinary skills by getting the kids into the kitchen to bake cookies or cupcakes. You can also allow the children to plan the dinner menu and make dinner, with adult supervision. Let the children pretend to be servers at a restaurant and serve you.
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you have to stay in. If there is a decent amount of snow on the ground, bundle the kids up, break out the sleds and go sledding down the nearest hill. Build snowmen and make ice angels. If you know your neighbors well, bring them a homemade treat and walk over for a visit to break up the day. If the roads are fine, go ice skating at a nearby ice rink if possible. Take the kids to see a movie or go bowling. A cozy coffeehouse can be ideal on a freezing cold day.