Fun Easy Outdoor Winter Activities for Families
- by Zenovia Stephens of Black Adventure Crew
The holidays have come and gone, and we're well into a New Year of making plans and crushing goals. One goal many people set at the beginning of the year is spending more time outside, but that can be a challenge depending on where you live. When selecting this goal, we don't often consider the weather and how it will impact getting out or convincing our families to follow. As a mom committed to enjoying every season with my family, I try to plan adventures that keep us engaged even when temperatures begin to dip. It might take a little extra planning, but I've found my efforts to be rewarded with kids happy to get out in the cold. I've even discovered a lot of fun things to do in winter without snow.
If you find yourself feeling stuck what to do and how to enjoy getting outdoors this season, I invite you to try on a few of our favorite winter adventures!
Winter is an excellent time to try a completely new activity that can help take your mind off the elements. Our latest adventure has been archery. No one has complained about being cold because they're too busy impressing themselves with each skill developed. As parents, we love that archery allows us to learn something and grow together. Since there aren't really any precursors to starting archery, it's great for all ages and for a family-building activity. Archery has also proven to be great for instilling confidence in our kids and providing them an outlet from the day's stresses. Most importantly, it gets our family outside!
Look for a local archery range and give it a try. No range nearby? Head to your local sporting goods store or recycle cardboard boxes for targets and set up a "range" in your backyard.
Hiking is by far one of the activities my kids might groan about doing during the Winter. I get it; the idea of walking in the woods while cold doesn't sound appealing. That's why I almost always combine winter hikes with another theme to help us all get excited!
Our first is a hot chocolate hike, and it's exactly what it sounds like. We fill our thermos or cups with hot cocoa and head out to our favorite trail to explore. I make sure to add marshmallows and pack a complimentary snack, and all of a sudden, all is well while hiking in the cold. There's something about the warmth of cocoa and melted marshmallows in the woods that excites kids and keeps them moving.
On rare occasions that we have snow or ice, we also like to go out for a snow hike. Snow and ice not only create a magical winter wonderland, but they can also make way for some cool (no pun intended) discoveries. Hiking in the snow opens a new world from frozen waterfalls, rime ice-covered trees, and the refreshing air. When we hit the trails after snow, my boys made giant snowballs, launched them into the waterfall, and watched them melt away. All they needed was nice, warm gear, and they were good to go!
Speaking of snow, what's more fun than just getting out playing in the cold, powdery goodness? Not many things! Adapting seasonal activities to fit the current conditions is a great way to find more adventure during Winter. Think tag, foot races, and red light/green light in the snow! There are also your classics like building a snowman; who can make the biggest one? And there’s always a good old snowball fight.
Check your local area for tubing. I like to think of it as the cousin to sledding, similar in many ways but made better because of a cushiony soft seat called a tube. We find this an excellent option for those looking to get the ski resort feel but aren't ready to ski, and it's also a lot less expensive. For those that prefer the free version, look for a hill nearby and set yourselves up for a day of playing and tubing or sledding in the snow.
Ice skating is one the most accessible ways to recreate during the Winter, and it's another that's super family-friendly. It can also easily be coupled with other activities to make for an entire memory-making day. We started all of our boys on ice skates around age 2, and they've loved it ever since. I've also found ice skating to be one of the best activities for generating more natural body heat, offering an easier way to stay warm.
Search for Treasure
Have you ever heard of geocaching? Before I knew what it was, I thought it sounded lame. But one Winter, we were looking for exciting ways to get out and decided to try it, and it was a hit. Geocaching is basically a real-life treasure hunt sourced by people worldwide. Using apps, your family can locate caches near home or other city areas then go on an epic quest! Once found, not only will you feel accomplished, but you'll also be rewarded with whatever treasure left inside. Be sure to always carry an item to leave in return; it helps keep the treasurers fair and fun for others.
5 Tips for Successful Outdoor Winter Family Fun
- Make sure you have warm gear. We're loving our kids' neck warmers, which have doubled as masks and hats in our home! Be sure to check out the other winter adventure gear to keep warm all season.
- Leaving home always makes for a better day. Consider switching up locations to help take attention off the weather.
- Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. The key to Winter snacking is bringing items that are easy to access and hold while wearing gloves and mittens.
- Don't overdress. It's easy to want to pile on layers to keep warm, but are you comfortable? Instead of putting on too many layers, look into a good base layer and invest in wool socks.
- Be creative. Never be afraid to turn a summer activity into a winter one. It's your adventure!
Zenovia is a self proclaimed outdoor enthusiast, freelance travel and adventure blogger, wife and mom to three young boys. She is the Founder and CEO of Black Kids Adventures, Inc, a non-profit organization which focuses on getting Black and Brown families to spend time together exploring and enjoying nature. You can follow along with her mom and family adventures and find inspiration for your own family adventures at Black Adventure Crew.