Cold Weather Activities for Kids

When it’s warm outside, it’s seems easy for us and our children to come up with ideas on how to spend our time in nature. Warm weather means trips to the beach, hikes, picnics, park outings, barbecues, etc. But as soon as it gets cold out, it seems like there are less things to do. Perhaps you live in a climate that gets very cold and snows, so you may feel like the weather isn’t exactly inviting for outdoor play. But during the fall and the winter, it’s important to embrace the Scandinavian philosophy that ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’.

Here are some ideas to get kids outside when the temperature has fallen:

  • Go for a warming picnic. Picnics are still totally possible. But now that the weather is cooler, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring hearty and warming foods. Think a thermos of hot chocolate with a grilled sandwiches or freshly baked goods. A great opportunity to get kids in the kitchen too!
  • Keep hiking! I personally love to hike when the weather is cooler. Hiking is a pretty physical activity and I always end up getting quite hot. But hiking when it’s cool out is so much more enjoyable because instead of battling dehydration and heat, you can pay more attention to the nature all around. It’s also easier to carry little ones for longer periods when the weather is cooler!
  • Make and hang bird feeders. Check out Pinterest for ideas on bird feeders. An easy one is to fill an empty milk carton with bird seed and to cut a hole in the side for the birds. Tie it to the trees and observe the birds.
  • Go on a color hunt. Throughout the fall and winter, there are often a wide variety of colors in mild and warm climates. Print out a list of earthy colors and have your kids check off the colors you find.
  • Scavenger hunt! Depending on where you live, there may be plants and animals that you only can find in the colder months. Research your local flora and fauna for what’s in season and then go on a hunt to find them!
  • Collect pinecones and other natural treasures. During the fall and the winter, the ground is littered with interesting things like acorns, leaves, and pinecones. Perfect for homemade wreaths or art projects.
  • Go sledding. The ultimate fun-in-the-snow activity.
  • Build a snowman or igloo. Snow is the perfect medium for some fun frozen sculptures. No snow? Make a giant pile of leaves!
  • Go for a nature walk. When it’s snowy out, there is still plenty of activity going on in the animal world. Going out for a walk in a natural area provides an opportunity to look for animal tracks or to watch for the subtle changes in animal behavior. Plus, it’s a wonderful way for children to learn about natural cycles of plants and winter animal behavior.
  • Go snowshoeing. If you live in a place with deep snow, consider a snowshoeing adventure! It’s great exercise and is the perfect way to get outside when it just doesn’t seem possible.
  • Snowball fight or target practice. Create a great big pile of snowballs and, depending on the age of the child, either throw them at a target or have a good spirited snow ball fight.
  • Go ice skating. If you live nearby somewhere that you are 100% sure is safe to skate on, go for it! This is great for older kids.
  • Go for a holiday light seeking walk through the neighborhood. After the sun sets, go for a walk to find the houses with the best decorations. This is magical for young children.
  • Freeze bubbles. If it’s cold enough outside, try blowing regular soap bubbles and see if they freeze!
  • Make maple syrup taffy. If there is fresh snow outside, you can pour boiling maple syrup on it and scoop it up with popsicle sticks for a sweet treat.
  • Decorate an outdoor tree. Why just decorate a tree on the inside? Make natural and nontoxic decorations for outside trees such as hanging pinecones, birdseed ornaments, and strings of dried fruit for a magical looking yard.
  • Photography fun. Fall and winter are great times to experiment with outdoor photography because of the different colors and quality of light. For kids, just a cheap camera will provide hours of fun while they hunt for interesting things to photograph.
  • Skiing or snowboarding. This is more for older kids and if you have access to a place you can ski. But it’s a wonderful sport for kids to learn.
  • Make snow angels or just draw in the snow. Making pictures in the snow with their bodies or with sticks creates lovely white pictures.
  • Track weather and temperature changes. Go for some science fun and keep track of the temperature outside, any snow or rainfall, and things like pressure.
  • Find animal tracks. Whether you are looking in the snow or the dirt, it’s a great time to learn about local wildlife and to track their habits.

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