Many people think of winter as a time for battening down the hatches and
hunkering down indoors. Kids in particular are prone to spending more time on their smartphones, laptops and tablets and less time in the great outdoors.
However, this does not need to be the case and there are plenty of outdoor winter activities that are fun ideas for kids to get involved in.
The world of nature has so much to offer during winter time. Beauty and ingenuity are apparent in abundance, and your children can benefit enormously from putting down their screens and throwing on their duffle coats.
Luckily for you, we have a list of 30 fun, educational and creative activities that kids can do outdoors this winter. So read on for some inspiration, then pull on your hats and scarfs and get out there!
Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids (30 Fun Ideas)
1. Make A Snowman
Let’s kick off with an absolute classic, because really, what better winter activity is there than building a snowman together?
Your kids will get rosy cheeks and rosy noses rolling up snow for the body and head, and then they can get as creative as they like with the features and details (a carrot nose and button eyes never fail however).
2. Create Ice Dream-Catchers
One of the best outdoor winter activities for kids is less well known but equally as magical. First, get your kids to pick as many colorful items from the garden as they can find, like berries, twigs, leaves and feathers.
Next, arrange the items in the back of a frisby or similar disc-like mold and pour water over them. Leave the water outside to freeze and then de-mould the ice dream catchers and watch how they glisten in the sunlight!
3. Hang Wind Chimes
Many things can become a wind chime, be they old plastic bottles, empty cans and tins, or even old cutlery. Tie the items with string and hang them in the trees, then listen to the marvelous winter music they make.
4. Build An Outdoor Winter Fort
For the adventurous out there, one of the best outdoor winter activities for kids is building a fort. Not only do kids become familiar with the different strings, twigs and bracken abundant around them.
They also learn about how to balance and counterbalance these materials to create a standing structure. Then their imaginations can run wild with games and make-believe.
5. Have A Camp-Fire
Create a stone circle and a large woodpile, and then have a toasty camp-fire in your own backyard. Kids will be fascinated by the flames, and will love helping you keep it alight.
You can even toast marshmallows over it if you’re feeling really fancy! This outdoor winter activity will be a hit with the whole family.
6. Make Hot Chocolate
If you want to feel toasty and warm on a cold winter’s day, there is nothing better than making hot chocolate and drinking it outside.
You can add sprinkles and marshmallows for a delicious twist, and wrap up in blankets to enjoy them! Take it outside and enjoy another outdoor winter activity such building a snowman or around a camp-fire.
7. Go For A Forest Walk
It may sound simple, but so often we forget to explore the countryside around us. When there is frost on the ground and sun in the sky, taking your kids for a woodland walk will seem magical and mysterious. Some of the best outdoor winter activities for kids are often the simplest.
You can talk about the different plants, trees and animals that you see, and there will be plenty of exploring to be done!
8. Plant Winter Bulbs
People often forget that some plants are actually suited to winter planting, onions and potatoes are a classic example. Why not encourage your little ones to take up a shovel and get down in the dirt.
They will adore the mess and the feeling of being helpful – plus they can enjoy their homegrown veg once it’s grown!
9. Go Sledding
Finding the biggest, most open hill you can and taking your kids sledding, is something that they will never forget.
They will learn about balance, gravity, speed and direction, and they will also learn to take it in turns! Just be prepared to have a go yourself! This outdoor winter activity is such a fun idea for kids and adults alike.
10. Have A Snowball Fight
When there is enough snow on the ground, there is nothing better than a good old fashioned snowball fight. Get everyone involved in this outdoor winter activity for the most fun.
If you want your kids to do things properly, why not put them into teams and have them build barricades first! Only soft, small balls allowed. Three hits and you’re out!
11. Blow Frozen Bubbles
A great way to teach your children about the effects of temperature is to blow frozen bubbles. They won’t believe their eyes when the translucent bubbles they are so used to seeing turn white with a thin layer of frost.
It has to be better cold for this one to work, so make sure you have all wrapped up lovely and warm before you head out for this outdoor fun activity.
12. Go Ice Skating
One of the best outdoor winter activities for kids is to go ice skating. The thrill of the ice rink is something that all children should get to experience, and taking them for a winter skate will go down a storm.
They will have to be brave and master the tricky action initially, but then just watch them go! Before you know it they will be racing in circles around you!
13. Make DIY Ice Globes
Ice globes are a really fun winter craft idea, and they are simple to make. All your kids need to do is fill water balloons with cold water and then add a few drops of their favorite food coloring in afterwards.
The less the food coloring mixes the better, because this will result in a more marbled effect. Hang the water balloons from a tree or post and leave them to freeze.
After a few hours your kids can cut or peel the balloon away and they will be left with a beautiful, colorful ice globe! This is a truly magical outdoor winter activity that is fun and insightful for kids.
14. Create Outdoor Snow Sculptures
Just as your kids might build sand sculptures on the beach in summer, creating snow sculptures outdoors in winter is fun, creative and team-building.
A really great sculpture is a breaching whale, especially if you build the tail rising up at one end of the garden and the head at the other, as if it is arching its back under the water.
15. Do Bark Rubbings
If your kids take a colorful wax crayon and a sheet of paper outdoors with them, they can create beautiful and interesting bark rubbings from the different tree trunks in the garden.
These rubbings look especially beautiful when framed afterwards.
16. Pick Your Own Christmas Tree
One of the most exciting winter activities for kids in the holiday season is to pick your own christmas tree! Rather than going to a super store or shopping mall to get an artificial tree, why not take your kids to a forest shop or local farm and buy one of the locally grown trees.
It is so fun choosing which one is yours, and you can keep its roots safely intact by potting it once you are home.
17. Replant Your Own Christmas Tree
Having protected the roots of your Christmas tree, a great winter activity is to take your kids outdoors to replant it.
This way you are teaching them about the importance of sustainability and all the beneficial things that trees do for us. A top tip is to buy a baby tree and keep the same one for years. It will grow as your kids do and will be all the more meaningful because of it.
18. Make Winter Wreaths
Crafting winter wreaths to hang on the front door and the letterbox and anywhere else you fancy, is a great way to get your kids to appreciate the many winter plants, flowers and berries that are around them.
This outdoor winter activity is a really eco-friendly way of making kiddie wreaths is to cut out a hoop of cardboard and use rubber bands and string to tie the various leaves and branches onto it.
Once you have created an initial layer, your kids can add to it by poking more greenery into that which is already attached. The results are beautiful.
19. Shovel The Sidewalks
If you want to encourage your kids outdoors in winter, then having them help clear the sideways and people’s driveways of heavy snow is a great way to do it. This might not be one of your child’s favorite outdoor winter activities, but it does have some benefits.
Not only will they enjoy some fresh air and physical activity, but they will also be helping others and learning about the importance of community at the same time.
20. Go To A Wildlife Sanctuary
We often forget to visit wildlife sanctuaries in the winter, because we associate them with hot, summery days out.
However, the animals are always happy to see you, and they have big shaggy coats at this time of year which are great fun for stroking! This is a super fun idea for kids to enjoy a different kind of outdoor winter activity.
21. Hunt For Animal Tracks
An exciting outdoor winter activity for little kids is to go on a hunt for animal tracks in the local nature reserve or forest area.
Animals who have been busy all night will be fast asleep by day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun looking for their paw prints and scratch marks in the mud and snow.
22. Make A Snow Maze
You’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is to draw a maze using a stick and your wellie boots in the snow.
Mark out some meandering pathways and trick false ends and then watch your kids run for hours along the pathways. It is simple yet highly effective.
23. Do Some Winter Clearing
Now we know some outdoor winter activities for kids are more fun than others but this can be as fun as you make it.
Winter clearing involves raking leaves from the ground, shifting snow from the flower beds and pulling weeds from the brickwork.
Kids will love to help out and feel important, and they will learn alot about how nature works as they do so. As a bonus, your garden will receive a wonderful clear up.
24. Go For A Night Time Torch Lit Walk
With the night’s sky falling pitch black in the winter time, there is no better time to go for a torchlit walk. The trees and buildings will make fascinating shadows, and the stars will shine brightly up above.
Perfect conditions for stargazing! Wrap up warm and have a great time with this super fun outdoor winter activity.
25. Go Carol Singing
A magical way to bring your family and your community plenty of joy during winter is to go carol singing.
Learning the songs is a wonderful tradition to introduce young children to, and the smiles on your neighbors faces will be unforgettable when they receive your visit.
26.Have A Winter BBQ
Who said barbeques can only be fun in summer?! In fact, this is one of our favorite outdoor winter activities!
Having a winter barbeque is fantastic fun because you can all keep warm around the fire, and the food tastes all the more delicious when it warms you up inside!
27. Do Snow Painting
To create snow paintings you simply fill some spray bottles with water and food coloring.
Your kids will adore spritzing the snow with the different colored water and watching the white turn to red, blue, orange and green! You can even create enormous works of art that can be spotted by passing planes!
28. Create Yeti Footprints
Telling your children the story of the yeti is a fun outdoor winter activity in itself. But making enormous cardboard foot prints and attaching them to the bottom of your kids feet is even more fun!
They can tread and stomp about the snowy garden and leave a trail in their wake that looks exactly as though the Yeti has been sniffing around outside the house!
29. Copy Bird Calls
Snow and frost are wonderful mufflers, and teaching your children to stop and listen hard to the sound of nature is very important in winter.
Why not head to a local nature reserve and listen to the bird calls, then try calling back at the top of your lungs!
30. Visit A Winter Fair
And finally, the stalls and hot drinks and bright lights of a winter fair are simply thrilling for little ones. Why not check out where your local winter fair is pitched and head down for a lovely, wintery afternoon out?
This fun idea is not only great for all the family, but is one of those outdoor winter activities that your kids will remember for years to come.
Whether you are throwing snowballs or listening to bird calls, the joys of nature and the magic of winter will thrill and inspire your little ones.
So wrap up warm and enjoy some outdoor activities no matter how cold the weather may be. With our list of outdoor winter activities for kids (30 fun ideas), there really is something for everyone.