Winter is almost here! We’ve already had our first snow of the season. Although winter officially begins December 21st, we consider it winter as soon as most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and the cold weather comes in!
For a lot of families, this means a lot more indoor time. And although, for our family, we do spend more time indoors than usual, we still make it a priority to get outside as much as possible!
If you need help thinking of ideas to entertain your kids outside during the winter months, here is a list of 17 awesome outdoor winter activities for kids!
We’ll start with the activities that involve snow!
Snow Activities for Kids
1. Build a Snowman
We are starting our list with the most classic outdoor winter activity for kids- building a snowman!
You don’t even need a ton of snow to build a snowman! You can build a tiny little friend! I personally think it’s cuter than a big snowman, and doesn’t leave a mountain of un-melted snow in your yard afterward!
Bonus: You can put him in the freezer and keep him a while longer!
2. Go Sledding
Who doesn’t want to go sledding as soon as they see the first snow? We do! If you don’t have a good sledding hill in your yard, just head a park!
3. Make Snow Angels
Another one of the classic outdoor winter activities for kids! Spice it up a little by decorating your snow angel after making it!
4. Make Snow Ice Cream
My son loves to make snow ice cream. There are quite a few ways you can make this.
Here is just one recipe:
- 8 cups of freshly fallen, white snow
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 10 oz. can sweetened condensed milk.
Mix together! So easy! If you’re like me, and sweetened condensed milk isn’t something you just keep around, you can swap that out for regular milk plus granulated sugar.
Another option is to make snow cones! In our house, all we do is collect fresh snow in a bowl and pour Kool-Aid over the top. Easy peasy. Feel free to swap the Kool-Aid for something healthier!
5. Eat Icicles
What kid doesn’t want to eat an icicle? It’s like nature’s popsicles! Just make sure the icicles they choose are clean and clear! Toddlers have no problem trying to eat an icicle off the bottom of a car… ask me how I know! Yuck!
6. Have a Snowball Fight
Another activity that we do every time it snows! I usually make sure there are some rules. Don’t hit each other in the face. Don’t hit mom if she’s holding a camera! That one works out pretty well for me 😉
Cold Weather Activities to Get Kids Outdoors
Now let’s move on to the activities you can do without snow!
7. Have a Bonfire
If you have the land to do a bonfire, it’s such a fun outdoor winter activity to do with your kids! If you don’t have any land for a big bonfire, just sitting outside around a fire pit is perfect too!
Our kids always love when we throw in some campfire color packets too!
8. Make S’mores and Drink Hot Chocolate
While you’re enjoying the bonfire, it’s the perfect time to break out the s’mores and hot chocolate!
9. Go on a Winter Hike
I love doing a winter hike! Especially to look for frozen waterfalls!
Make sure your kids are layered up based on how cold it is! Here is some basic layering info:
- Base Layer: Thin layer for wicking sweat. Avoid cotton (it doesn’t dry quickly!)
- Mid Layer: For trapping in body heat. A fleece or synthetic down jacket is good.
- Outer layer: Weatherproof shell. Something to block the wind and the snow.
For bottoms, a pair of leggings or long johns with a waterproof hiking or snow pant.
As far as accessories, a warm hat, waterproof gloves, and wool socks! And don’t forget waterproof boots!
10. Eagle Watch
We are lucky to have bald eagles living near our home, so we just go out on a back road drive to spot them. The good thing is, after we find them once, a lot of times, they can be found in that same spot next time!
Conservation Centers, Environmental Education Centers, and some state and national parks have eagle watching days. Check around near you to see if there is any in your area!
Bonus points if you find a nest! Bald eagle nests can be HUGE. Like, 7 feet wide and 10 feet tall huge!
Don’t forget your binoculars!
11. Make Pinecone Bird Feeders
Making pinecone bird feeders is one of the easiest winter crafts! Collect pine cones, roll them in peanut butter (we spread out a sheet of wax paper to do this on), and then sprinkle with birdseed!
Then you can either tie it up with a piece of twine or just lay it outside where the birds will find it.
12. Go Ice Skating
Hopefully, you have an ice skating rink near you. If not (we don’t!), some towns set up temporary rinks for festivals or on a specific weekend!
If you want to go the natural route and skate on a frozen body of water, make sure you do your research and stay safe!
Ice needs to be a minimum of 8 inches thick. Make sure you check the thickness in several areas (you can use a drill and tape measure!)
One of the fun parts of skating on a frozen pond or lake is that you don’t actually have to have skates! Just “skate” around in your boots! Kids love it!
13. Relax in a Hot Tub
Are you lucky enough to have a hot tub at your house? We’re not! But Grandma and Grandpa do! Sitting in a hot tub in the winter is one of the best things ever!
Make sure you keep safety in mind. It’s not recommended for kids under age 5 to use a hot tub. The first reason is because of the risk of drowning, but another reason is that kids aren’t able to dissipate as much heat as an adult.
If any children are getting in, set the temperature appropriately. Most are default set to 104 degrees. That’s too hot for young kids! It’s recommended to turn it down to 98 degrees, and let them stay in a maximum of 15 minutes at a time!
14. Play Flashlight Tag
Winter means it gets dark a lot earlier. That makes flashlight tag a great outdoor winter activity for kids!
It may be called flashlight “tag”, but it’s more like hide-and-seek. One person is “it” and gets the flashlight. They cover their eyes and count to a designated number while everyone else hides. Then the kid who is “it” tries to find and “tag” the others with the flashlight.
Once they are hit with the flashlight beam, they are out. After everyone is found, the first person that was “tagged” is now “it.”
15. Freeze Bubbles
We just learned how to do this last winter, and it was so cool! This outdoor winter activity is a good science experiment for kids!
To start, you need the right conditions. The temperature outside needs to be below freezing. The colder the better, because the bubble needs to be able to freeze before popping! Other than the temperature, you need to consider the wind. A day non-windy day is best- you don’t want your bubbles to blow away and burst!
As far as your bubble solution, you can use regular old bubble solution from the store, but it’s really not the best. Store-bought bubbles don’t make a very strong bubble.
Here is a recipe for a better bubble solution:
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Stir together carefully, so you don’t form a foam. Wait one hour before use, and gently stir one more time right before use.
Blow your bubbles directly onto the ground (or any flat, solid surface) so they don’t pop in the air on their way down.
Watch the crystals form! So cool!
16. Walk Through a Holiday Light Display
During my childhood, my grandma would drive us around the neighborhoods in town looking at Christmas lights. It’s one of my favorite holiday memories!
Although I still love this fun tradition now, these days, there are a lot more light displays that you can get out and actually walk through.
If you’re anywhere near the Land Between the Lakes area, Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Festival of Lights is one of our all-time favorites! You can read all about our experience at Patti’s here!
In the Cape Girardeau, Missouri area, Jackson has their annual “Flip the Switch” party.
If you aren’t local, just do a quick Google search for your area! I’m sure you will find a lot of options near you!
17. Check out the Holiday Store Windows
One of our yearly traditions is to drive to downtown Cape Girardeau and walk down Main Street looking at the Christmas displays in the shop windows.
It also makes for a cute little photoshoot!
Make it even more fun by stopping into some of the shops and letting your kids make a Christmas list- and then feel good about shopping local later!
I hope this gives you some good ideas to get your kids outdoors a little bit more this winter!
What other outdoor winter activities for kids do you love to do?
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