Colder, snowy days are just around the corner, which means ample opportunity for family bonding and staying warm together. The list of outdoor games and activities for kids during winter is endless, and all them involve opportunities to bond as a family, work on creative-thinking and build athletic skills.
Some days, white-blanket horizons will make you yearn for summer sun and palm-tree skylines. But the chilly season makes an excuse for the family to stay indoors together, too, finding ways to pass the time and have fun. Imagine living where the chill never keeps your little ones from running through the neighborhood with their friends and playing outdoor sports through dinner time? That’s not to say playing outside isn’t our favorite option, just a wonderful reason to enjoy winter’s occasional suggestions to stay indoors.
Check out our list below for some of the best things to do with toddlers in winter, both in the home by your fire and outside under a bright blue sky!
8 Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids
Grab your toboggan or saucer and send your kids to the nearby hill for classic winter sledding. Bundle your little ones up in plenty of layers – this way, they’ll stay warm while sledding, and have a bit of built-in padding in case they fall. Take your toddlers in your lap in the toboggan to get used to the feeling of flying free. You can teach your older kids how to steer the sled and hold you in their lap, prepping them to help lead the way for your youngest kids.
Build a Snowman
Oh, the delights and memories of building a snowman! It gets more fun with each attempt, and there are a few ways to enhance each winter’s craft. Try pre-planning which ornamental objects you will use to make the snowman’s mouth, nose, eyes, and wardrobe and task your children with the gathering of supplies. If the family is up for it, ring the bell for a snowman making a contest that goes on for an afternoon or an entire week.
It’s a classic for a reason! After a fresh snowfall has had a chance to gain texture and density, break into teams within a designated playing field in your yard. Help your kids create bunkers and stockpiles of snowballs, and once the teams are ready, let the snow fighting begin.
Can’t find any snow that’ll stick in snowball shape? Try lying atop the snow for a few minutes to warm it up and make it ready to pack.
Toddlers are skating as early on as two and three years old, so it’s an activity that the entire family can enjoy together. Bundle up for the ice to pack on padding for ice spills, and hold your toddler’s hands while skating until you’re certain they’re ready for a solo skate.
As long as your toddlers can walk, they’ll be able to snowshoe! Retailers sell snowshoes and poles for toddlers as young as 2 years old. Be prepared to take over your child’s poles as they tramp through the snowbanks. At a young age, dealing with both heavy steps and pole placement can be overwhelming!
Snowshoeing is a great activity to start young and one of the best ways to get the whole family outside together. Be sure to dress in layers, as you’ll be cold to start, but sure to work up a sweat throughout the activity.
Making a snow angel can make any day better. Practice jumping jacks in the snow and expert exit strategies so as not to blur the snow angel shapes. If you want to make more out of the activity, gather supplies to decorate your angels and have a make-believe party or run a contest.
As long as the ice is packed and your little ones have patience, it’s never too early for your toddlers to learn the beauty of waiting. To ensure that the ice is safe, it should be at least four inches thick. The safest, densest ice will be after consecutive days (three or four) with temperatures below freezing. Pack your ice fishing house with fun games to play and snacks for the kids to enjoy while waiting.
Skiing and Snowboarding
By three years old, your toddler can begin learning to ski and snowboard. Check out your local retailer for proper fitting gear and special training harnesses that will keep you and toddler attached as you head down bunny hills and green circle slopes.
5 Indoor Winter Activities for Children
Winter crafts are endless, but a few of our favorites include cotton-ball snowmen, snow ice cream, ice painting and gingerbread house decorating!
Winter dance party
Throw on some long socks, put on the holiday tunes, maybe top your head with a pair of leggings (fit the waist elastic like a headband) and get dancing. You can surprise your kids with a dance party in the morning or at night; lead the way, singing into kitchen utensils, prancing on couches and getting loose on the breakfast island.
Pretend it’s a snowy fortress inside your home and gather cushions and blankets to build an igloo without getting too cold. Once you’ve created a snuggly dome, pretend to be Eskimos, go ice fishing, play games and exit the igloo into new worlds of make-believe.
Indoor play gyms
When the weather is dreary and the frost is biting, bring your family to an indoor gym. The toddlers can play alongside adults or on kid-safe equipment while you monitor and supervise their activities.
Winter sensory bins
Sensory bins are a fun and playful way to engage your toddler’s senses through texture, audio, and visuals. Typical sensory bins involve piling an assortment of objects, gimmicks, and games into a bin for your child to reach for and play. During the winter, make this game more relevant and exciting by filling the bin with wintry objects, such as make-a-noise snowmen, snowflake blocks, gingerbread people, sponges cut into snowflakes and winter cookie tins.
Are you ready to prep your winter activities for toddlers? Explore Kids Fun Corner for additional advice on developmental devices to incorporate into your playdates with your little ones.