College Life

15 Fun Winter Activities for a Cozy Night in with Your Roommates

published Dec 21, 2023
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Cheerful woman looking at friend sitting on bed
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If you’re anything like me, winter weather makes you way more likely to want to stay in at night. But just because I want to be cozy in my dorm room, it doesn’t mean I need to waste the evenings away cooped up alone, under a ton of blankets. There are plenty of fun activities to do with roommates to make a night in feel special.

Staying in together is a great opportunity to make memories — for roommates who are besties as well as those who still need some time to bond — especially when going out with friends as the temps drop might seem far less appealing than when it’s warm out.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic board game or you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new, there’s always something you and your roommate(s) can do to make a night in fun. Here are a few ideas to get started.

1. Paint & Sip

At my school, we love paint and sips (aka small-group painting sessions, usually paired with an alcoholic beverage for those 21 and older). Grab some paint, paintbrushes, and a canvas and gather your roommates for a lively creativity session. (FYI: Five Below has art supplies for $5 and under.) Also, if you’re underage or alcohol isn’t your jam, you can make a cup of your favorite hot cocoa instead.

2. Movie Marathon

This activity is a classic that only requires a subscription to your favorite streaming platform. Make it feel like a real event by picking a theme to have the movie, snacks, and even your attire correspond to. Or, have everyone pick their favorite movie and enjoy the variety of everyone’s tastes. For those who don’t have a TV to watch movies on, you can connect a budget-friendly projector to your phone or laptop to project your favorite movies on a blank wall.

Credit: MTStock Studio/ Getty Images

3. Karaoke Night

None of you have to be the next Beyoncé to have a successful karaoke night. If you want to go all out, you can buy a karaoke machine or standalone mic, but if you’re looking for something simple, just search for the instrumental version of your favorite songs on YouTube and sing along. Just be sure not to make too much noise during your dorm’s quiet hours!

4. Presentation Party

If you haven’t seen the popular TikTok trend in the past couple of years, this entails everyone creating a slideshow presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc.) based on any topic of your choosing, then presenting it to your group. The topics vary, but the sky’s the limit; my recommendation is to choose something that will be fun for you to put together, and fun for your roomies to watch.

5. Yoga Session

If you need to decompress from school, follow an online yoga tutorial, meditation session, or breathing exercise with your roommates. Turn off the big light and fire up a scented candle (if you’re allowed to) to maximize the relaxing vibes. If you’re in a small dorm room, consider using a common area.

6. Escape Room Challenge

Bring the excitement of an escape room into your dorm room by organizing a DIY escape room challenge. Create a series of puzzles and clues, and work together to solve them within a specified time. If you want to be part of the fun (rather than the one who knows how to solve the whole thing), you can buy ready-made escape room kits!

7. Informal Holiday Dinner

Whether you have an apartment with a kitchen or you order takeout to your dorm room, a delicious, low-fuss meal is sure to bring you and your roomies together.

8. Self-Care Night

If you can, take a trip to Target (or your favorite store) and pick out your favorite budget-friendly self-care items like face masks, hair treatments, and essential oils for a diffuser. Take this time to catch up with your roommates while getting in some much-needed “me time.” 

9. Puzzle Marathon

Puzzles are a great way to get your mind off of school while working together to create something. If your brain is tired from too many organic chemistry notes or philosophy lectures, you can opt for puzzles of varying levels of difficulty.

10. Virtual Travel Session

It may sound silly at first, but hear me out: Browsing dream homes on Zillow might typically be a solo activity to pass some time, but doing it with your roomies can be a super-fun way to manifest together — and even get ideas for how to make your shared space look and feel more like your dream homes. 

11. Comedy Night

Put on a show in your room or a shared common area, taking turns making stand-up jokes or telling funny stories. It doesn’t have to be anything formal — in fact, I’ve found the best comedy nights are done on the fly. Just be sure to keep the jokes friendly; you don’t want to accidentally hurt someone’s feelings.

12. Scrapbook Evening

Print some photos and collect concert tickets, flyers, and other little trinkets from this school year. Using those pieces, you can create a scrapbook to document and cherish the moments shared with your roommates. Adding cute captions and little notes will help you remember the details many years down the line.

13. Vision Board Party

Get creative and crafty as you let your roomies in on your hopes and dreams, and encourage them to set goals of their own — because roommates who support one another are the best kinds of roommates.

14. Secret Gift Exchange

This one may require a little advance notice, but it’s sure to create some memories. Everyone is assigned a roommate to buy a gift for (you can use a name randomizer website or use the old pull-names-from-a-jar method). Then, on the night of the gift exchange, everyone takes turns guessing who bought their gift. 

15. Trivia Night

Test your knowledge about each other with trivia questions you make up yourselves. Alternatively, you can purchase a card game with questions to learn more about each other; my personal favorite is Hella Awkward because it includes thought-provoking questions that’ll help you get to know one another on a deeper level.

Makenna Underwood


Makenna Underwood is a senior journalism major, English minor attending Howard University. Originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Underwood has always been interested in media and has a deep appreciation for the power of storytelling. She is passionate about exploring the intersection of culture, style, and wellness as they pertain to her community. Makenna is an active member of her school’s newspaper, where she reports on various events and issues affecting the student body. Additionally, she dedicates her free time to writing on her blog, Makenna’s Meditation, which focuses on college lifestyle and wellness. Through her writing, Makenna hopes to inspire others to prioritize their well-being and to live their best lives.

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