Summer is coming. I promise! In the meantime, you can still enjoy your backyard. There are lots of fun winter activities that you can do with your whole family. These activities are sure to get your blood pumping enough to keep you warm and happy out in your very own winter wonderland.
1. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt can be done year-round but is fun in the winter. It’s a great way to get everyone outside for some fresh air and involved in a group activity. Depending on your backyard or the location you choose, your objects will differ.
The gist is the same as any scavenger hunt. Hide objects (or if you are short on time, pick objects you know are around!) and create a list for everyone to find. If you have young kids, it’s probably easiest to just print one list and do the hunt together. However, if you have some independent older children, give everyone a list and make it a race.
Nothing beats winter blues like getting your heartrate up in some friendly family competition!
2. Footprint Tag
This is a great version of tag! The rules are the same as tag except for you can only go where there are footprints. You must step in the footprints to move! I like this version for winter especially in small spaces.
It challenges kids to think critically and makes the anticipation go way up. You will definitely hear some screaming and laughing coming from outside with this game!
3. White- A game of visual perception
This is another great game for kids! The rules are simple and it can work well for kids of all ages. Each child gets three white objects to hold outside. Think: cotton balls, Q-tips, etc. Then, you count to three and on three everybody throws their objects in the air. Finally, on another count of three, everybody rushes to gather all the white things.
Whoever grabs the most white objects wins. It’s a great way to get kids to use their visual perception and get your kids moving! It’s fun with younger kids because it’s a little more challenging, but older kids will enjoy the competition too.
This idea comes from the great book 100 Games for Winter by Josep M. Allue.
4. Create a Toboggan Run
A toboggan run is sure to bring back some nostalgia. It’s an easy activity to do but is sure to create hours and hours of fun. If you don’t have a nice hill near you, make your own! Push all your snow to one side of your yard or driveway. Hopefully, you have equipment to help you with this, but shovels work. Heck, it’s another great way to get your kids outside and moving.
Once your pile is huge, push down the top so you have a starting pad. Make steps up to your platform. You can even get really fancy and put wood boards on top of your snow steps! Try to make a nice steep slope so that your toboggan can go fast, but not too steep where you stumble over the top.
Image Source: YMC
The last step? Enjoy! This can be done early in the winter and maintained throughout. The kids will love it and it will be something they will look back on and remember fondly.
5. Snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing
Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are wonderful winter activities! They are fun in the backyard but if you can get out in the open at a park it’s even better. A lot of places will rent the equipment you need, but it’s a great idea to invest in some for the whole family.
The gear for both is usually convertible so can grow with your kids to some extent. Snow shoeing and cross country skiing are both ways to warm your blood and take in the beautiful scenery in the winter. Whoever said you can’t have fun outside in the winter hasn’t tried this activity!
7. Snow Fort
This one’s a classic winter activity that you probably have done. However, it’s something that every child should experience! Building a snow fort is something that the whole family can enjoy. Make it look like a castle and having a winding staircase.
You can even build an igloo! I’ve even seen some cool bridges that looked like the perfect setting for a snowball fight. Whatever you decide on, make sure to take pictures!
8. Build a Snowman
This one doesn’t warrant much of an explanation. It’s so much fun to design a snowman. He can be a family friend for as long as winter holds out. Make him funny or crazy. Here’s another moment in time you will want to capture on camera.
Tips for having fun outside in the Winter
Dress appropriately! This is the biggest mistake people make in having winter fun. They are either dressed too warm or not warm enough. This leads to frustration and can ruin a good time. A good tip is to dress in layers so that if you get too warm you can just shed a layer and keep going.
Go inside when everyone is getting cold! It’s just not fun anymore if you try to prolong your fun and you can’t feel your toes. A great tip is to take a “time-out” if you are in the middle of a game or activity. Go inside for hot chocolate and warm up. Then, head back out to resume your game!
Remember to have FUN. If one of the activities seems to be not getting everyone excited, try another! The great thing about it is letting kids take control. Maybe they want to slide down a slide in their snowsuit instead of trying to tube. That’s okay and you should run with it!
Backyard fun isn’t just for Summer
It doesn’t have to be 70 degrees and sunny for your family to have fun outside. These activities will have you making memories for years to come. So, get out there, enjoy that fresh crisp air, and have some winter time fun in your own backyard!