Don’t let a little cold weather keep you cooped up! With indoor spaces closed right now, it's time to find fun new ways for kids to safely play outside. With the right winter gear (and a little ingenuity) there is plenty of fun to be had even during the shortest and coldest days.
Before your kids experience a bad case of cabin fever, try one of these 30 outdoor activities that are sure to get the whole family outside and moving.
From backyard campfire cooking to outdoor science experiments, these activities help keep kids away from screens and devices and get them fresh air and exercise in these long winter months.
Take Out the Sand Toys
Pull out your shovels, pails and other sand toys and start building a snow castle or sculpture, or just play! Just like sand, snow is wet and dense ― and can be easily formed into shapes.
Build a Winter Campfire
Dust off the snow on your outdoor fire pit. Cozy up with a mug of cocoa and let kids roast their own marshmallows, camp style. Don't have a fire pit? Build your own Winter campfire. Get instructions from Cottage Life.
Have a Snowman Competition
Get the neighbourhood to safely participate in a snowman competition. Arrange awards for categories like "most creative", "funniest" or "tallest" snowman.
Do Some Winter Photography
It's not difficult to find the beauty in winter. Just look at the landscape through a new lens. Photograph a winter day adventure, or just have fun taking photos at the park after a fresh snowfall.
Make Frozen Bubbles
If the temperatures are particularly frigid, try blowing frozen bubbles with the kids! It's a science lesson with a wow factor. Get instructions from Kids Activities Blog.
Visit a Conservation Park
Unlike their furry residents, our conservation parks do not hibernate in the winter. In fact, guests will enjoy smaller crowds and get to enjoy the beauty of these natural treasures. Check www.ontarioparks.com to make sure parks are open and what restrictions are in place this winter.
Make Maple Taffy on Snow
It's called maple syrup taffy, and it is the candy of your dreams. Enjoy these delicious golden sticks of taffy after a fresh snowfall. Get the recipe from Food Network.
Find Animal Tracks
Head to a local park or conservation area and take a walk in freshly covered snow and see if you can spot any animal tracks. Try to identify rabbits, squirrels — or maybe even a fox.
Make Snow Angels
Making a snow angel is a totally Canadian thing to do every winter. Find a nice big patch of undisturbed white snow. Carefully lie backward with your arms outstretched in a T position. Move your arms and legs like you’re doing jumping jacks. Gently press your head into the snow to make the snow angel’s head. Get up slowly to preserve your amazing creation.
Make a Snow Volcano
If there's snow, you will want to get outside for this winter science experiment! Kids can explore a favourite chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar with an easy to build volcano made out of snow. Plus you can leave the mess outside! Get instructions from Little Bins for Little Hands.
Paint in the Snow
Freshly fallen snow is a perfect blank canvas. Fill spray bottles with diluted watercolours or food colouring and spray away to create a masterpiece.
Chalk Your Walk
Any paved surface can become a beautiful canvas ― yes, even in the winter. Chalk your walk with motivational messages, or draw a snowy winter scene.
Keep the Magic Going with Twinkle Lights
The holidays may be over but you can add a little light to the darkness by creating an outdoor play space with twinkle lights. Place lights around a patio or swing set to create a bright and cozy winter play space for kids.
Go Winter Bird Watching
Not all birds fly south for the winter. If you're looking for a Winter activity that the whole family can enjoy... try bird watching. It’s a great way to explore nature. Anyone can do it just about anywhere, anytime, making it a great activity to share with kids. More
While it’s fun to catch a few snowflakes on your tongue, there is a whole lot of science behind those little flakes. Before they melt away, observe and study these little six-sided wonders on your own. Find out how to collect and preserve snowflakes from Science Friday.
Organize a Winter Scavenger Hunt
Kids love playing in the great outdoors and exploring it with all their senses. Here's a fun winter scavenger hunt for the whole family to enjoy! Get instructions and printables from CBC Parents.
Glow Stick Hunt
To set up a glow stick hunt, crack some glow sticks and place them into the snow, or behind rocks and trees. Once the sun goes down, head out, and see how many the kids can find.
Build a Snow Slide
Everybody builds snowmen. Some parents get creative and build igloos or snow forts. But if you really want to build a structure in the snow that will not only entertain but also exhaust kids, go with a giant slide. Get instructions from Fatherly.
Go on a Winter Hike
When the seemingly endless cold and grey of winter is giving the whole family a case of cabin fever, it’s time to bundle everyone up and head to the nearest park or trail to enjoy the crisp air.
Create a Snow Obstacle Course
There’s no better (or more fun) way to challenge a variety of motor skills all at once than a good old fashioned obstacle course for kids! The blizzard going on outside your house can inspire you to create this winter-themed obstacle course for kids. Get instructions from The Inspired Tree House.
Have a Snowball Fight
Nothing says winter like a good old fashioned snowball fight! Bring your snowballs to the next level with a Snowball Shooter available at Canadian Tire. No snow? No problem! These play snowballs, available at Amazon, will get the job done.
Learn to Snowshoe
Snowshoeing requires very little instruction or equipment to enjoy a day of exploring in the great outdoors. Many Ontario Parks offer the perfect trails.
Build an Epic Snow Fort
If you’re looking to level up your snow fort building game this winter, these construction pro tips will position you as king of the hill. Get instructions from Backyard Boss.
Find a Sledding Hill
Get your gear and head for the hills! It doesn't take monster mountains and tricked out sleds; any snowy incline and saucer or even cardboard box can provide plenty of exhilarating runs for some family fun.
Find an an outdoor rink or on a pond. No matter what the weather is outside, in the winter there is usually a skating rink nearby. Here's a list of Free places to skate outdoors. Note that there may be restrictions in place due to the current lockdown.
Make Snow Sculptures
Ice sculptures can definitely help you achieve that special winter look. Get 40 ice sculpting ideas from the Backyard Boss and create a Winter Wonderland.
Play Snow Golf
Smooth out a fairway and a green. Take an open tin can and plant it in the snow. This is the hole. For golf balls, use hockey pucks and for clubs, use hockey sticks or real golf clubs.
Make Snow Ice Cream
It’s a must that you at least make one batch of snow ice cream. Especially if you’re a kid. And especially if you’re an adult. (Hey, there’s gotta be some reward for shoveling that driveway!) Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
Set up a Game of Ice Bowling (it's a thing!)
Other than the cold weather, all you need is a few bowling balls, some pins, a shovel to clear the snow. And, you don't even have to wear those goofy bowling shoes! To play, set the bowling pins in a triangle at 1 end of the ice. Place the bowling balls 10 or 15 steps away. In turn, each player has 3 tries at sliding the bowling balls toward the pins to see how many he can knock down. 1 point is given for each pin.
Make Frozen Suncatchers
Suncatchers made from ice are not only beautiful, but super easy to make! Spend some time outside gathering natural items to use in your suncatchers. The more colourful the better. Get instructions from Run Wild My Child.