12 Winter Outdoor Activities for Kids

Winter doesn't have to be a time to stay stuck indoors. There are plenty of fun activities you can do with your kids if you can brave the cold. It’s a beautiful time of year and there’s still plenty of nature to explore. It’s important to get exercise and fresh air as well as this is very beneficial for physical and mental health. If you’re creative enough you can also find nature-inspired craft activities to do inside, and if you get cold, why not finish the day with a nice hot cocoa? Here are twelve winter outdoor activities ideas for kids.

Woodland walks 

There are plenty of places for perfect winter hikes even when the weather is cold. You might get lucky and find snow-covered fields or even a national park. On a sunny day you can really enjoy a family walk outside. Research areas of natural beauty near you and get the whole family out for the day. It’s good to try to get plenty of exercise even if it’s a cold winter. 


If it snows where you are, you can go sledding. Choose the right hill or slope and grab your toboggan. Sledding is a fun winter activity for kids, as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep them safe. Here are a few quick safety tips for sledding. If you’re sensible about it, there are also plenty of DIY sledding ideas you can try. You can make a sled from as little as a cardboard box, trash bag, and some tape. If you’ve got something like a boogie board, this can also be doubled up as a sled, as long you keep your wits about you. 

Ice skating 

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor ice rink near you, or natural frozen lake, then ice skating is a fantastic activity all the family can enjoy. Ice skating is also very good exercise. It’s beneficial for joint and muscle health, as well as balance and coordination. Not to mention, it can be very tiring. You’ll all definitely be worn out after a few laps of the rink. It’s a great way to keep fit during the winter if you don’t mind the risk of slipping on the ice from time to time. 

A weekend away 

If you’d like to spend a whole weekend away then there’s no reason why you can’t also do this during the winter. If you own a campervan you could consider a motorhome excursion. You could even go out for a daytrip if it’s nice enough weather and discover somewhere new near you. Have a look at what hidden gems you can find that are driving distance from where you live. If you’d like to do more exploring this winter, then why wait? 

Visit passed loved ones 

Another way to spend time together as a family is by visiting passed loved ones. The new year is as good a time as any to do so. You can see if their resting place needs any maintenance or consider updating their cemetery grave markers while you’re there. Although it might seem like a somber activity, it’s also a nice opportunity to teach your children about the natural passing of their relatives. 

Winter wildlife 

There are plenty of animals coming out of hibernation you can spot if you look hard enough. There are even government tips on watching winter wildlife so you can see which critters are out and about near you. You could see if your kids can find any interesting footprints in the snow or other evidence of visiting creatures. It’s a good way to get back in touch with nature. You could even build your own bird feeder, or make your yard more wildlife friendly. 


Snowball fights 

If it snows then pretty much all kids are immediately geared up for a classic snowball fight. You can actually make up rules and strategies and make a proper game out of it. If not, it’s just a hilarious version of dodgeball with snow essentially. With smaller kids in particular, it’s a good idea to have some safety rules in place just in case, so things don’t get out of hand. There are plenty of other, calmer ways you can enjoy the snow, such as making a snowman or snow angels. 

Winter crafts 

There are plenty of winter craft ideas that start by collecting things outside, or an outdoor theme, that you can complete as a family tucked up inside. You can also use items you find around the house. You can even make edible treats such as hot chocolate stirrers. Look into snowflake and snowman themes, you could even make winter scenes. 

Toast marshmallows 

Toasted marshmallows make the perfect addition to a winter hot chocolate. You can also invent your own hot chocolate recipes as a family. You could even set up a hot chocolate “bar” to come home to after those chilly winter walks. Set up festive mugs, hot cocoa, marshmallows, whipped cream, sauces, and sprinkles. You’d also be surprised about how many craft ideas you can use marshmallow for. They are good for creating squashy snow or snowmen. Little children often enjoy the tactile experience of using marshmallows for craft.

Scavenger hunt 

On a dry day you could even organize a winter scavenger hunt with your family. Give them a list of things to look for outside and make a game of it. You could include things like pinecones, animal tracks, and icicles. Geocaching is another option. This is an international outdoor activity, where people have hidden objects all over the world, and you can find them using GPS. 

Plant spring bulbs 

Gardening is an ideal way to teach your children about ecology and nature. The end of winter is the perfect time to get your yard ready for spring. There are plenty of things to do such as plant bulbs in winter that will bloom in the coming months. Get kitted out with some warm clothes and gardening gloves, and embark on a pre-spring clean of the yard. Rake up dead leaves and stalks and clean the patio and decking. Get your kids to help out as well. If you want to get things started early, why not start planting some seedlings in the kitchen? You can make mini planters from anything from egg boxes to old household items. Teach your children about how things grow, and move the seedlings outside when the weather warms up. 

Splash in puddles 

If it won’t stop raining one week that doesn’t mean you and your family can’t have fun outdoors. Put on your waterproofs and a sturdy pair of wellington boots each and go out regardless. Give the kids a chance to let loose and splash in the puddles, it’s very therapeutic, and they’ll burn off all the energy and frustration they’ve accumulated indoors. 

Playing outside in the winter actually helps children to build resilience. Fresh air and exercise are also vital to their wellbeing at any time of year. Ventilation is important to minimize the spreading of germs and they’ll also get to burn off plenty of calories. You can mix and match indoor and outdoor activities for your family during the winter, and go out on longer days out when the weather is sunny. Outdoor activity is proven to improve your mood, for children and adults alike. It’s important, therefore, to try to include it in your daily routine, even during the winter. Plus, you can have a lot of fun. 

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