Cabin fever can be pretty rough this time of year. Your kids are bored. You’re bored. You all really just need to get out of the house and do something fun together. Instead of staying cooped up all winter because of the bad weather outside, why not put on your snow boots and scarves and head out into the snow and play together.
Here are 20 fun outdoor activities you and your kids can do together to beat back those winter blues–and get some much-needed exercise to boot!
1. Go Sledding
Sledding is the classic snow day activity. One way to make the activity extra special is to scout your neighborhood parks for the perfect hill. Once you find the perfect location, you can load up the car with your sleds, some hot chocolate or cider, and go as a family.
If you need some great sled recommendations, the Wall Street Journal put together a wonderful list of the best sleds to meet anyone’s budget. Also, if you’re feeling crafty, Makezine came up with DIY duct tape sleds you and your kids can make together.
2. Snowball Fight
Rather than just a classic snowball fight, make it a special event. Start by making a backyard snowball course. You can build a couple of snow forts using this easy Wikihow tutorial, dig some trenches, and put into a few snowy obstacles. Then you and your family can have an all out snowball war. Just make sure that your kids know not to pack the snowballs too tight or make them with ice so everyone stays safe.
3. Snowball-Throwing Contest
Snowball-throwing contests are a fun way to throw snowballs without worrying about anyone getting injured. There are a couple of ways you can set up a snowball-throwing contest. You can paint a cardboard bull’s eye, line empty cans and bottles along a fence rail or table, or draw a bull’s eye on the ground. Another idea is to take your kid’s around the yard and aim at different things like a tree or bush or fence. Make it challenging so you can play with your kids.
4. Build A Snowman
Another classic snow day activity is to build a snowman. You can build your classic snowman complete with button eyes and carrot nose, or you can build something more creative. Buzzfeed put together a great list of 40 different kinds of snowmen to inspire you. This list has snow animals, favorite cartoon characters, and even some funny snowman pranks. So look around your house for some fun tools and accessories and build something really fun this year!
5. Blow Ice Bubbles
Bubbles aren’t just for summer fun, they can also be used during the winter to make perfect little ice orbs. This is a great project for children because not only does it make the coolest little balls of ice, it also teaches them how cold air impacts water and creates ice. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to the bubble mixture to make colorful ice bubbles.
6. Snow Painting
There are dozens of ways to paint snow. You can put food coloring or watercolors in spray bottles and spray paint your snow sculptures or along the ground. This clever mom mixtures up some tempera paints so that your kiddos can paint snow with a brush for brighter colors and more detail. So grab some supplies and round up the kids and paint a snowy masterpiece together!
7. Colorful Ice Orbs
These colorful ice orbs are absolutely beautiful. They can be lined up along a walkway for a gorgeous entry path or stacked into an unusual sculpture. The best part about this project is you don’t have to way for the snow to get it started, you can do it on any night the weather will drop below freezing. Simply fill balloons with water and food coloring and leave them out overnight. Then simply break off the balloon rubber to reveal a gorgeous colorful ice sculpture.
8. Make Snow Molds
You can make snow molds for some really creative snow sculptures. Use things you have lying around the house like pots and baking pans, sand box toys, or empty food containers. If you want to take it to the next level, you can grab some cool silicone molds. Silicone molds come in a variety of shapes from flowers and leaves to trucks and cars to your children’s favorite animals. If you really want to make something special, mold out the snow then grab some snow paint and make a colorful work of snow art.
9. Build An Igloo
Building an igloo is a pretty involved process, but if you work together with your kids you can make a cool hangout that will last through the cold weather. This instructional tutorial from Boy’s Life shows how to build a classic igloo with bricks just like the Inuits and Eskimos. However, if you want something a little easier, here are some ideas for different snow forts you can make together from Wisconsin Parent. If you really want to make it easy, you can stack snow around your child’s outdoor playhouse for the effect of an igloo without all the work.
10. Rainbow Ice Cube Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are a blast. This rainbow ice cube one is a really great way to get your kids outside for some great exercise. You have to plan a little ahead to pull it off, but it’s easy to do. The night before the scavenger hunt, make some rainbow ice cubes using these instructions from Tablespoon. Then the next morning stash them around your yard. You can bury them under snow, hide them in trees, or tuck them under bushes. Then let your kids loose to find them. If you have a couple of kids, use a fun scoring system where each color is worth a different amount of points and make it a competition.
11. Make An Ice Garland
Another fun way to use rainbow ice cubes it to make an ice garland. When you make your ice cubes, simply thread some twine or ribbon through the ice cube trays before sticking them in the freezer.
If you want to really up your garland game, you can use a silicon mold with a bunch of different shapes to make a really stunning garland. One you have your garland made you can drape it on a tree, hang it in your entryway, or decorate your snow fort or igloo.
12. Ice Sun Catcher
Another colorful ice decoration you can make with your kids is an ice sun catcher. Simply using a cake pan as a mold and swirling in some food coloring, you can make a gorgeous sun catcher. You can use any shape you want, with any color combination.
Then let them freeze and hang them from your tree or porch and watch the light cascade. The best part about this project is it really easy for kids to do by themselves; they just will need a little help hanging it up!
13. Snow Mini Golf
If you really want to turn your backyard into a fun winter wonderland, consider building a mini golf course. You just need a shovel and empty cans or cups to make the course. You can grab putters at a local thrift store and a bag of golf balls. We love these colored golf balls that are inexpensive and will be easy to find in the snow. If you want some inspiration for course ideas, check out this amazing mini golf course a super creative family made in their backyard. You can make the course as easy or as challenging as you want.
14. Snow Maze
You can make a snow maze in your backyard for your kids to solve. There’s a couple of ways you can do this depending on how much effort you want to put in. The first way is to make piles of the snow to make maze walls. The second is you can just dig out the pathway with a shovel. The last way, and probably the easiest, is you can just stomp out a maze with your feet. No matter how you decide to build a snow maze, your kids will have a blast solving the puzzle.
15. Snowy Obstacle Course
Another way to turn your backyard into a winter wonderland is to set up an obstacle course. You can build a couple of obstacles out of snow or come up with a round of activities they have to do to complete the course. The Moms over at The Inspired Treehouse have some really fun ideas for building a backyard obstacle course to get you started. Also think about what you have lying around the house that you can incorporate. Anything from ropes to old boxes can be used to make a fun course.
16. Make A Snow Kitchen
Is your kid an aspiring chef? A clever mom over at Sun Hats & Wellie Boots came up with a great way to encourage your kid’s culinary skills while also getting them outside to play. Grab a cart or a shelving unit, load it up with some child-friendly kitchen utensils, and let them cook up something delicious. You can even give them some snow paint so they can color their culinary creations. If your kid wants to make something really into their snow kitchen, they can make this maple snow taffy with very little supervision.
17. Snow Volcano
The baking soda vinegar volcano is an absolute staple of science fairs around the world. So why not build this classic science experiment outdoors where you won’t have to clean up the mess? Start by piling up snow as high as you want, then fill with baking soda and pour in your colored vinegar. Fun and science without any mess!
18. Make “Monster” Footprints
Do your kids love tails of the abominable snowman or the yeti? Help inspire their imagination by turning them into their favorite monsters. With some cardboard cutouts and a little twine you can strap on monster footprints to your kid’s snow boots. Then they can tear around the yard or a local park making scary monster tracks for other kids to enjoy. This DIY is so easy, your kids can even help you design and cut out the shape of the footprints. We love this so much we’re going to make a set for ourselves!
19. Glowing Snow
It gets dark earlier during the winter, so here’s a clever way to extend your outdoor snow fun after the light is gone. Using glow sticks you can make fun snow lanterns. Simply bury the glow sticks under the snow or in a slow ball and light your nighttime path! You can also add glow sticks to your snowmen and snow sculptures to add a fun glow. Get creative! Glow sticks are fairly inexpensive and you can do a lot with them in the translucent snow.
20. Make Your Own Snow
Live in an area where you don’t get much snow? Tired of waiting for it snow? You can make snow right in your own kitchen with two simple ingredients. Making snow is a fun project you and your kids can do together. Once you have enough made you can take it outside and do a lot of these fun games!
These are just some of the great activities you can do outside with your kids! So throw on your hat and gloves and defeat the winter blues by playing in the snow!