Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids


The Norwegian’s have a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Their preschools and kindergartens are held largely outdoors, even in winter when temperatures drop well below freezing. It is a culture where people hike, picnic, paddle and bike deep into old age. It is interesting to note that Scandinavian countries are rated the happiest people in the world.   Coincidence? I think not.

Outdoors there are fewer rules. It is a place where there are few NO’s. You can’t yell too loud, or move too much. It is difficult to break things, or be anxious about sibling rivalry, grades, or monsters under the bed when you are climbing a tree or exploring a puddle. Kids are wired to move and the outdoors is the best place for them to stretch and grow into their bodies. What is embedded in childhood—the love of nature—remains into adulthood.

Go Outside!Time spent outdoors is vital not only to children’s physical development, but also plays an important role in their emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual development.


But it is winter and raining! Dark descends early and the temperature is chilly. Going outside feels uncomfortable, it is easier to stay warm and dry by watching TV. What’s a parent to do? Get out (or invest in) good outdoor clothing: warm jackets, rain gear, the hats and the mittens! Put on your own. It is a wonderful time to connect with your child.

Make outdoor time a habit every day. Clothes can be laundered when they get muddy, bodies can be bathed, but the glow inside from fresh air and adventure will never be washed away.

10 Ways to Go Outside in Winter

Make a tarp tent with your child in the backyard. Using twine or rope, secure a small tarp to a fence, a tree, a jungle gym. Slant it down toward the ground to shelter from the wind and rain and push small tent stakes into the grommets to secure. Make a thermos of cocoa. Listen to the rain!
Have a squash toss in the snow:  buy an acorn squash and see who can throw it the furthest
Have a snowman kit on hand. Place rocks, hat, scarf, gloves, sticks, etc in a box and pull it out when it snows
Bike together around the block, down a green trail, or in a local park
Collect balls at the local high school fields. Tennis, baseball, softballs are often left in the bushes and margins of schools; it feels like a treasure hunt!
Use an inner tube as a sled
Use chalk to make a hopscotch, a highway, a maze in your driveway or sidewalk
Use outdoor spaces—patios, verandahs, decks, as play spaces by adding boxes, tricycles, sandboxes, etc

Have a safari hunt with small plastic animals, dinosaurs, etc. Hide them in the backyard and give your child a small aquarium net to ‘capture’ the animals
Have your child use a simple stopwatch to time how long it takes to race across the yard, how many jumps in 30 seconds, how long it takes to run around a tree or up the stairs, or hop on one foot. The possibilities are endless!



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