Why stay cooped up inside this winter when your kids can get outdoors and have fun? Too many parents make the mistake of thinking the cold weather means their kids need to stay indoors. When you’re tired of keeping your children busy inside, take them outside to play some winter games. These ten activities are great ways to have outside fun and can make your kids long for the winter.
Tug of War
Although tug of war is fun at any time of the year, it’s particularly exciting in the winter. Grab your thickest rope and let the kids form two teams. You can dig a small trench in between the teams and let each team start pulling. Whichever team pulls the other team across the center line wins. What makes this activity so much fun is the fact that the teams can get pulled into the snow! Even if a team loses, they might enjoy diving headfirst into a snowdrift.
Playground Snow Fort
During the winter, a playground is a magical place. All of the playground equipment transforms into a winter wonderland. And your kids can be part of the transformation, as they build walls and tunnels around playground equipment. Because playgrounds tend to be quiet during the winter, your kids can have the whole park to themselves. Just be sure they follow playground safety rules!
You can elevate dodgeball to a whole new level by using a snowball instead of a dodgeball. Split kids into two separate teams and draw a centerline in the snow. Once each team is on its respective side, have them make snowballs and start throwing. Although you can premake the snowballs, making the kids create snowballs after the game starts makes things even more fun. They need to race to make and throw the balls and catch any snowballs that come their way. The same rules of dodgeball apply.
Sled Pulling Contest
Whoever said you need a hill to go sledding? With a sled-pulling contest, kids can pull each other across the snow. All you need is a sled with a tow rope and a few kids who want to have fun outside. Mark off a start and endpoint in the snow. Then, have one kid sit in the sled, and one pull the slide. Keep track of how long it takes the child to pull the sled across the finish line, then have them swap.
Snow Treasure Hunt
Make your own treasure hunt in the snow with things from around your house, or with crafts made by kids. Hide the items in creative places, then have your children search for the treasure. It’s a great way to pass the time.
Capture the Flag
With this snowy take on capture the flag, kids can race around your yard in search of a flag. Make the flag by wrapping a white cloth on a spoon or stick. Then, mark off a playing field and hide the flag somewhere in the field. Time how long it takes for the kids to find the flag, and then start the search all over again.
All sorts of wildlife might inhabit your yard in the winter. And thanks to the snow, tracking animals is both easy and exciting. Give your kids a pad of paper and a pencil, and have them search for animal tracks in the snow. When they find some, your kids can draw the tracks.
Instead of having a traditional snowball fight, allow your kids to have target practice. Make your own target out of cardboard, or pick out a point on your playground and use that as a target. Then, your kids can take turns trying to hit the target.
You don't need to dust off a baseball bat for this game. For snow baseball, the only thing you need is a bottle or can and some snow. Make first, second, third, and home base out of snow and place a can or bottle on each base. Create a pitcher's mound and have a child stand on the mound with some snowballs. They need to try to knock down the can or bottle at each base.
If your kids have never been snowshoeing, now is the time to introduce them to it. Strap on some snowshoes and let them go exploring. Even when there's heavy snow, they can make good use of their snow toys.
Winter is a great time to play outside! Whether you have your kids play one of these games or you make up your own, your family can enjoy being in your yard every season of the year. Doing so will make every winter just a little more special, and it might even prevent that permanent impression from setting in on your couch!