Studies show outdoor play time is vital to a child’s health and well-being. Thanks to these 30 sweet and simple ideas, your kiddos will be begging to get outside to enjoy the chilly winter days. Just scroll down for our ultimate list of ways to get outdoors this winter.
1. Play tag! It doesn’t get any easier than tag when your kids need to burn some energy outside. Name someone as “it” and leave the rest up to them. All they need is an open space and some cool clothes to get this game going.
2. Camp out. Before the weather turns absolutely frigid, pitch a tent in your own back yard or head to one of these incredible camping spots around the country. Not sure you want to commit to an overnight? Set up camp during the day in your own yard or at a park, and pack it up when twilight falls.
3. Set up a science lab in your driveway or on the sidewalk. Need inspiration? Plenty of these awesome activities are perfect for cool fall and winter weather.
4. Jump in a pile of leaves. Put all that fall foliage to good use and rake a huge pile before going in for a big jump. This is one chore the kids won't mind helping with as long as they get to keep jumping!
5. Go sledding. Grab your discs and sleds and head outdoors for a few exhilarating trips down the local sledding course.
6. Create beautiful outdoor art. From nature-made mandalas to colander spin art masterpieces, these outdoor art projects are easy to clean up and guarantee hours of creative fun.
7. Make nature soup. Grab a bucket or bowl, let your kids gather their "ingredients," and then hand them the hose. They'll be dishing up the goods for hours.
8. Have a winter picnic. Before the thick of winter sets in, pack up a lunch and enjoy some outside dining in the crisp weather.
9. Make a snow volcano. Grab a cup, food coloring, baking soda and vinegar before heading out to the snow and creating some chilly eruptions in the crisp winter air.
10. Have a snowball fight. It's always time for a good old fashioned snowball fight when the snow starts to fall. Stockpile handmade balls and let the refreshing game begin!
11. Break out the binoculars. Make a pine cone bird feeder with peanut butter and birdseed, then find a nearby spot to spy on what comes to eat with binoculars.
12. Make Sugar on Snow. Kids will love making "maple syrup on snow candy," especially with only two ingredients: maple syrup and clean snow!
13. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Wondering what to look for? We've got printables right here!
14. Go ice skating. Hit up the local outdoor skating rink for a seasonal skate.
15. Hit a festival. Check our local events calendar and check out a winter festival near you.
16. Make Potato Heads in the snow. Grab your potato parts and head outdoors to make snow potatoes. Spend all afternoon making hilarious faces and don't forget to capture them in photos.
17. Go geocaching. When the wiggles hit, load up the kids for a real-life treasure hunt in the great outdoors. Follow high-tech clues left by geocachers when you download the app that tracks treasures hidden all over the world. Not sure where to begin? Try this step-by-step guide.
18. Make a snow painting. Grab some markers and use the snow as your canvas! Your kids will love painting in the fresh air, especially with an endless amount of snow to go around.
19. Blow frozen bubbles. A simple mixture is all you need to head outdoors and watch bubbles freeze before your very eyes.
20. Build forts. Scavenge fallen branches and pine tree boughs to build a teepee, or try one of these incredible (and totally doable) forts that you can build together. Or, find a bush or a tree with low-hanging branches and use its canopy as your fort roof.
21. Set up an outdoor treasure hunt. Set your kids free in the backyard to seek out hidden treasures. They’ll have a blast trying to find little trinkets you’ve hidden beforehand.
22. Collect pinecones. Once your kids have a good collection, set out to catalog the different evergreen trees they came from by their bristles.
23. Make an outdoor obstacle course. Use snow, tree branches or anything else you can find to make tunnels and jumps fit for kids or dogs.
24. Grab a book and hot chocolate. Gather your goodies and a blanket and head to the front porch for a refreshing reading sesh.
25. Make a snowcone. All you need is snow and a little flavoring to make your own refreshing treat!
26. Get some snowball target practice. Make a simple target and see who can get closest to the bullseye.
27. Collect items for a nature book. Make a winter-themed book with seasonal finds and drawings, like pinecones, acorns and leaves from the chilly season.
28. Make a snow maze. Dig out a fun windy adventure that pets and kids can enjoy during the thick of winter.
29. Paint rocks. Want to do more than jazz up your garden path with colorfully painted rocks? Check out these reasons to paint a rock for kindness. Join a movement!
30. Build an ice sculpture. Whether you live in a snowy climate or enjoy a milder winter, you can create colored ice cubes, then build an imaginative culture that is STEM approved!
—Shelley Massey, Gabby Cullen & Karly Wood