12 Snow Activities to Help Kids Explore the Wonder of Winter

Getting out in the snow can keep kids active - plus it can be fun for the whole family! Bundle up and try these ideas.

Published October 7, 2021
Mother holding daughter in falling snow

It's time to dig out the snow pants, winter boots, puffy coats, mittens, and hats! These snowy activities are worth the excavation. Get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and make some new family memories with these frosty things to do that everyone will enjoy. Having fun in the snowy wonderland can keep families active, plus help everyone connect. Snow activities can also help kids explore their creative side or even learn something new too. Don't forget to have some hot cocoa ready when you get back inside!

Bundle Up and Get Outside to Enjoy the Snow

Many people associate the warmer months with outdoor activities, but for families living in the north, the colder months are the perfect time to get outdoors and explore the world around them. Snow and ice completely transform the natural setting, and with these weather changes comes a whole different set of activities for kids and adults alike to try.

Build an Epic Snow Fort

Boy Building Snow Fort

Once the snow falls, it is high time to get outdoors and build an epic snow fort. You can create a fort by rolling snowballs or by using a brick mold and stacking the snow bricks on top of one another. Be sure to use key tips in fort building to ensure your fort lasts for as long as possible:

  • First, build a base of snowballs or bricks, stacking them as you construct the walls.
  • Fill in all gaps with plenty of snow, leaving no holes in your fort.
  • Create durability by adding more snow to the outer wall, helping to stabilize your fort.
  • Dump water on the structure, starting at the bottom of the fort. This ice covering will give your fort one last element of sturdiness.

Celebrate your creation by gathering inside your fortress walls.

Try Your Hand at Ice Skating

Ice skating is fun for people of all ages, and it's great exercise. While you can certainly take your family to the nearest indoor skating rink, there is something simply magical about gliding about in nature. You can lace up your skates at a local lake or pond (but be completely sure that the ice is thick enough to support people), or you can make your own skating rink in your backyard! If you construct your own rink, hang lights around the perimeter to enjoy the activity during the wintry evenings.

Have a Backyard Bonfire

Mother And Son In Snow During Winter With Bonfire

Bonfires are commonplace activities when you are camping in the summer, but families can also enjoy them in colder winter months as well. Be sure to have dry wood that has been stored away from the snow and ice. Start your fire using helpful tips to get the flames dancing. Bundle your family up and bring plenty of blankets outside, as well as a mug of something warm. Gather around the bonfire, sharing stories and memories of wintry seasons passed. The warm fire is the perfect complement to the cold, crisp air.

Head to the Nearest Snowy Hill

Black family sledding in snow

If you have a hill and snow, you will always have something fun to do in the winter. Take the gang sledding, try skiing or snowboarding, or even tubing. See who can get down the hill the fastest, or who can stay up on the snowboard the longest. Connect your tubes together and see if your whole family can make it to the bottom of the hill. By the day's end, you will be tuckered out, a little sore (skiing is hard work), and aching from the countless smiles and laughs you all had on the hill.

Go Picasso in the Snow

Snowman and other figures found in the field

Painting the snow is such a fun winter activity to get the creative juices flowing. Snow paint is easy to make and fun to explore with. Don't worry about the mess, since your canvas is the white blanket of fluffy stuff sitting outside your back door. Turn snow painting into a family challenge by dividing your clan into two teams, seeing who can create the most magnificent masterpiece.

Have a Winter Scavenger Hunt

Kids observing animal tracks on snow in winter forest

Scavenger hunts in nature keep everyone busy, and there is no reason you can't create a scavenger hunt in the winter months. Search for items like animal tracks, icicles, a fallen feather, a pinecone, an acorn, a cardinal, or a squirrel. Because it will be near impossible (and probably unsafe) to bring living animals and large icicles back to base, take a camera or cell phone along with you, and snap pics of the items on the list.

Have a Snowball Fight

Father, mother and son throwing snow balls

Calling all neighbors! Bundle up the kids in warm clothes and embark on a snowball war. Don't just run outside and start flinging snow all over the place, instead spend an hour paying attention to the prep work. Separate into teams (this winter game works best with several participants). Each team meets to strategize, build small walls to duck behind and create an arsenal of snowballs. Then, when it comes time... FIRE! Everyone will end this game out of breath, exhausted, and ready to relax while watching their favorite winter movie.

Go on an Animal Print Trek

Kids tracking animal prints in winter forest

If you live in an area with nature trails, see how different they look in the winter months. When heading into a field or woodsy area covered in snow, you are likely to see plenty of different animal tracks. Take pictures of them or sketch them in a notebook. What animal might have left them? Extend this activity by heading home and researching the animals who left those tracks in the snow.

Try Birdwatching

Birdwatching of father and children

Birdwatching is a peaceful outdoor activity families can enjoy in both the summer and winter months. Birds seen in the wintertime are extra striking, as their feathers create a stark contrast to the white backdrop of the snowscape. Get out your camera and try your hand at some photography skills, later creating a book of the beautiful birds you saw. Come springtime, pair your new birdwatching hobby with birdhouse building, constructing new homes for your feathered friends.

Spend the Day Ice Fishing

Boy ice fishing

If you live near an inland lake, try ice fishing. By creating an opening in the thick lake ice, you can enjoy the fun of fishing even in the coldest temperatures. Make sure you bundle up well and bring along your favorite foods and beverages to help fuel you and keep you nice and warm.

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Making snowman with friends and family

Who doesn't love building snowmen in the wintertime? After a huge dumping of snow, head out and create your very own Frosty the Snowman. If several people are getting in on the fun, make an entire family of snowmen in the front yard. Add scarves and hats to your creations that represent your favorite sports teams or resemble the people in your family. Wrap up the winter activity by coming indoors and baking a yummy Frosty cake.

Snowshoe Through the Snow

Family snowshoeing

Perhaps skiing or snowboarding is too extreme an activity for your family. What about snowshoeing? Snowshoeing provides plenty of physical exercise for all involved. Look into renting or purchasing snowshoes, and know how to pick snowshoes that will both suit your needs and fit your family's feet. Snowshoeing through local forests is a fantastic new way to see the wintry world.

Wintertime Is a Wonderful Time for Fun and Family

Truly, every season is a wonderful season to enjoy the company of loved ones. Don't think that wintertime means you have to keep the family cooped up indoors. There is plenty to do and see outside of your frost-covered windows. Use the winter months to get outside and explore the great outdoors with your family.

12 Snow Activities to Help Kids Explore the Wonder of Winter