Sometimes families struggle to find things to do in the Winter. It can be especially challenging when Winter weather brings cold temperatures and snow. Fortunately, there are so many fun things you can do with your family during the winter months that will help you spend quality time together while having lots of fun. This article shares some ideas for fun family winter activities that you can do in cold and snowy weather.
Preparing for the Time in Cold Weather
Before you head outdoors for some family fun, it’s important that everyone dress appropriately for the weather. This means dressing them in layers that can be added or removed as needed. You’ll want a warm winter jacket, winter pants, insulating gloves, and protection for your head and ears.
For adventures taking you into the wilderness, make sure to bring enough water and shelter from the cold. Make sure you have a plan and supplies in case you get stranded outdoors.
Unexpected weather can put a damper on outdoor activities. Keep an eye on the sky and be aware of the weather forecast. This will help you know when it is safe to go outside and when it is time to head back inside.
Outdoor Winter Activities for Families
Winter is an especially enjoyable time for families to get outside and enjoy the natural winter weather. And cold, snowy days are perfect for playing in snow! Here are some of my favorite outdoor activities to do with the family.
Take a Winter Hike
Hiking in Winter offers different views and scenery than you see in other seasons. So, why not put on some Winter hiking gear and hit the trails and explore the outdoors with your family? It’s a great way to get out of the house and spend time together in a beautiful setting.
Hiking is an excellent family activity because it requires no special skills, just some good sturdy shoes or boots, warm clothing, and a little bit of preparation. If you have never hiked before, then it is best to start out on an easy trail that has been cleared of snow and ice by park staff.
Dressing in layers is especially important when hiking. Remove layers as you start heating up to avoid trapping in moisture that will make you colder. Then, put them back on as you cool off. It’s also important to have proper Winter hiking boots to avoid getting cold feet.
Make sure to bring plenty of water and take breaks often so you don’t get too tired. And if you’re hiking with young children, be sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
Create Frozen Bubbles
Making frozen bubbles is an activity that can only be done in cold temperatures, making it a perfect Winter activity for families. You can use a store-bought bubble solution your make your own combining one part water, four parts dish soap, and a dash of light corn syrup. The temperature needs to be just right for the bubbles to freeze, otherwise, they might pop before they freeze. For the best frozen bubbles, temperatures should be in the single digits or below 0F.
Identify Animal Tracks in the Snow
The day after a fresh snow is a great time to bundle up and track some animals. The tracks will be fresh and easy to see. Animal tracks can teach us a lot about the animals that are living in our area. Identifying animal tracks can be a fun game for kids and adults alike.
To help you get started, you can print some basic animal tracking cards to help you identify the different tracks in the snow. Look for animal tracks around your house, school, nearby parks, and neighborhood. See who can find a track first and have fun guessing the animal.
Set Up Bird Feeders and Bird Watch
Winter is a great time to set-up bird feeders and bird watch. Not only will the bird feeders lure them in when there isn’t as much food in the wild, but the birds are easier to see when they are not hidden by tree leaves.
Hang your bird feeder from a strong branch. Choose a spot that is close to some trees or bushes, where the birds can perch and feel safe. Make sure that it is high enough off the ground that cats and other predators cannot reach it. Then, fill your bird feeder with bird seed, and then wait for the birds to come! You can use a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at them as they eat.
Pick up a bird watching guide for your region and see how many different types of birds come to visit your yard.
Build a Snowman
Building a snowman is another family-friendly activity that can only be done in cold and snowy weather. First, you will need to find a good spot in your yard to build your snowman. Make sure the area is flat and there is enough snow. Then, start by rolling a large snowball for the body of your snowman. Keep rolling until the snowball is as big as you want it.
Next, make a smaller snowball for the head of your snowman. Once you have the head, place it on top of the body. Then, use sticks or coal to create eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Have fun as a family by choosing other fun accessories like a colorful scarf or funky hat.
Finally, step back and admire your creation!
Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt
While it’s easy to stay inside when it’s cold, it’s healthy to get outdoors and stretch your legs while you can. You can easily turn a nature walk into a fun scavenger hunt for kids to encourage them to explore nature in Winter. Before you head out make list or Bingo card of things you’ll likely find on your nature walk. Keep it simple for younger kids, such as different color rocks, bugs, or leaves. As kids find each item, they can mark it off what they find. The person who has found the most things wins!
Sledding is a great way for the family to have fun on a snow day. You can buy a snow sled to ride or create your own sled using things around the house, such as a lid for a large plastic bin or a flattened cardboard box inside a sturdy garbage bag.
When sledding, it’s important to be safe. Don’t go down steep hills on a sled if you don’t have a way to safely slow down or steer. Keep in mind that smaller kids may not be able to steer well, so choose a gentle slope when sledding with children. The snow can also make it slippery, which means you’ll have to be extra careful when walking back up the sledding hill.
Build a Snow Castle or Snow Fort
A bit of snow on the ground doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Use the extra snow to build a snow castle or snow fort! Both kids and adults can use their imaginations to design the ultimate snow fortress. To help the walls of your snow castle or fort sturdy, try to use snow that has been packed down by the wind.
Once your snow castle or snow fort is built, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a snowball fight!
A snowball fight is a great way to have some winter fun with the kids. Since this activity involves pelting each other with snow, make sure everyone is bundled up in warm clothes. This includes gloves and hats. You don’t want anyone to get too cold. Then, you can divide into teams and have a blast seeing who has the best aim!
Make Snow Angels
Another fun Winter activity for families is to make snow angels. Find a patch of freshly fallen snow that doesn’t have any debris or rocks under it. Your front lawn or snow-covered yard are great places to start. Then, lay down on your back, arms and legs spread wide. Move your arms towards your head and back towards your waist, and open and close your legs together to make wings. Gather rocks, leaves, sticks, or other items to make a face and decorate your angel.
Ice skating is another great family-friendly Winter activity and can be fun for the whole family. It helps everyone get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. The best part is that it’s an activity everyone can do together. When temperatures fall, many local ice rinks or frozen lakes or ponds open up, providing great opportunity to glide across the ice – or at least try to. Most rinks offer equipment rentals so you can pick-up ice skates and any assisting items you might need to help find your footing on the ice.
Go Ice Fishing
Most people think of ice fishing as a solitary sport. However, there are many great reasons to take the whole family out on the ice with you for an afternoon of fun and laughs. It is a great way to spend time together. It may be cold, but there’s no way to beat the family bonding that comes from sitting around the ice hole with some hot chocolate and waiting for your fish to bite!
Build a Camp Fire & Roast Marshmallows
Cooler weather is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a warming campfire! Many national park areas have designated campfire spots, but you can also use a safe fire pit in your own backyard to build a roaring fire. Then, just grab a bag of marshmallows and a few sticks, to roast marshmallows over the fire or make S’mores.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and completely extinguish your fire when you’re done.
Benefits of Spending Time Outside
There are many reasons to consider taking your family outdoors this winter. Spending time in the fresh air is good for your health. It can help you relax and unwind from the stress of everyday life. It also helps you connect with nature, which is something that many people miss out on today. Here are a few other benefits to your family heading outside in the Winter.
Better Creative Thinking
When it comes to creativity, research suggests that spending time outdoors can lead to better results. So why does spending time outdoors help with creativity? One theory is that it can help reduce stress and improve focus. When we’re stressed, our minds are more focused on negative thoughts and we find it harder to think creatively. But when we’re relaxed and in a positive frame of mind, our minds are more open to new ideas and possibilities.
More Vitamin D
Spending time outdoors can help increase your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is important for both health and disease prevention, and spending time outdoors allows you to naturally produce some of the Vitamin D you need to stay healthy. So spending time outdoors in the winter can actually be beneficial for your health. Just make sure to bundle up to stay warm!
Winter Family Activities Checklist for Going Outdoors
Before you head out the door into cold or snowy weather for your family’s Winter activities, it’s important to take a few steps to ensure your experience is as enjoyable as possible.
1. Check the Weather
When going outside with your family, it’s best to avoid hazardous or extremely cold weather. You also don’t want to be caught in a storm while you’re away from home. Check the weather forecast before going out to prepare for current temperatures and upcoming weather conditions.
2. Dress Appropriately
The best way to stay warm in cold weather is to wear layers of warm, insulating clothing. As you are active outdoors, your body will naturally start to sweat (yes, even if it’s cold outside!) By wearing layers, you can remove layers as you begin to heat up, and add them back on as you cool off.
3. Stay Hydrated
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re in cold or snowy weather. However, cold weather can actually make you need more water. The cold air can cause your body to lose moisture through breathing, and it can also dry out the mucous membranes in your nose and throat that help keep you hydrated. That’s why it’s important to drink plenty of water when you’re outside in cold weather.
So don’t let the cold and snow keep you indoors this winter. Get out there and enjoy some quality time with your family with one of these fun Winter activities to do outside. With a little planning, you can keep boredom away and make it a Winter to remember.