Winter Wonderland

Take the Kids Outside.

When the first week of winter weather approaches many parents groan with the thought of their kids being stuck in the house. Life changes with each season change but there are activities that can be done outside during the winter months. Not only does getting outside during the cold months give everyone a change of scenery, it’s also very important to be able to continue staying active. In addition, it will instill lifelong values into your children about the importance of enjoying nature during all of the seasons earth provides us with.
Getting outside during winter is important to keep the family active. Children work well on routines so it is almost not fair to have children busy through fall picking pumpkins, running through apple orchards, and jumping in leaf piles to all of a sudden shut the door to the outside world. They will appreciate continuing outdoor activities and experiencing nature in a different setting. Make sure to be prepared for winter and have clothes that fit children that will keep them warm such as a winter coat, snow boots, warm thick socks, hats that cover little ears, scarves, and gloves.
Children will also benefit doing outdoor activities in the winter by having quality family time. When it is cold outside, it’s easy for parents to get involved in a book, a football game on TV, or be content taking a nap. These types of indoor activities do not involve the children and family time can get lost. When the family gets out as a unit they can focus on each other without distractions from the TV and such. It allows for children to also feel as though this is their time and once they return home they will have exerted enough energy to be tired or at least be more content doing something by themselves.
Here are 17 fun (and cheap) outdoor activities to get you motivated:
1. Go ice skating.
2. Build a winter bonfire and make s’mores.
3. Rent some snowshoes and go snowshoeing.
4. If you have the equipment, go winter camping. If that’s too ambitious, check out your state parks for cabin or yurt rentals. Once you’re there, go on beautiful winter hikes (afterwards, a cozy fire is definitely in order).
5. Take your dog for a walk. It’s one of the main benefits of having and owning a dog.
6. Go cross-country skiing.
7. Attend a dog-sled race. You don’t have to live in Alaska to see one of these – check your state’s Department of Natural Resources page, they usually have a list of upcoming events.
8. Go sledding.
9. Build a fort and have a snowball fight with your kids. Or buy a snow block maker and build an igloo.
10. Take a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and sit outside on your front porch swing.
11. Shovel paths in the snow.
12. Feed the birds or go bird watching. Make your own birdfeeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed.
13. Go ice fishing.
14. Go on a winter picnic. Take blankets, sandwiches and hot soup in a thermos
15. Head out on a photo expedition to take pictures of the winter landscape.
16. Set up an obstacle course in the yard with jumps, tunnels and other challenges.
17. Make snow paint. Simply add food coloring to water and put in a spray bottle, then go out and paint your yard!

As your children grow older, they will continue to want to do these activities and even pass them along to their children. Don’t forget to have a nice warm treat to conclude the day, such as creamy hot cocoa.

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