As Chicagoans know, winter is the absolute L O N G E S T season but if all we mama bears do is hibernate, we will most definitely lose our minds. Inspired by Kamik boot’s #FreeYourPlay campaign, here are 6 “mom tested, mom approved” ideas for outdoor winter play. That is, when it is above freezing.
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While sledding, skiing, and ice skating are fun winter activities, they require some effort on the parents’ part. So this list is comprised of activities that you need hardly anything for, that you can suggest when your kids are arguing for the tenth time in one day and your coffee is past the point of reheating.
Winter Play Ideas
Have a Snow Angel Competition
Categories can include “How Many Snow Angels Can You Make In a Minute?” as well as “Who Can Create the Biggest Wings,” and my personal favorite, “Which Snow Angel Looks Most Like an Alien?”
Create a Snowy Day Obstacle Course
Obstacle stations can include climbing to the top of the snow mountain the fastest, playing “Snowball Basketball”, climbing up snowy playground swings, and doing summersaults and cartwheels while in bulky snow gear.
Paint a Rainbow
Fill squirt bottles with water and a drop of dye. Mix up the bottle and then start creating! The more it snows, the bigger your canvas.
Walk around the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt for animal tracks. You might be surprised what kind of animals come out in the winter time and how big or little their tracks really are.
Have a Snow Man Building Competition
Put out a variety of materials (rocks, sticks, winter gear, spray bottles filled with colored water, etc.) and see who can come up with the most creative snow man…or snow woman.
Relax at the Beach
Ok, ok…so this one takes some imagination. But even if it is cold out, you can always pretend like you are at the beach! You know those beach toys that you put away when the leaves started to fall? Pull them out of storage for some fun and unique snow based play. Snow castles, anyone?
Make Ice Marbles
When the weather is going to be COLD (I’m talking Polar Vortex cold), fill balloons with a few drops of food coloring and then add water. Tie the balloon closed and then put it outside and wait for the water to freeze. Remember that the larger your balloon, the longer it will take to freeze. Once frozen, peel off the balloon covering and you have bright and colorful ice marbles.
Winter Play Safety
Before you go out to play, remember the safety rules to ensure that everyone is staying safe while enjoying some cold, winter themed fun. Kids should never go outside alone, let snow cover their face or head due to snow igloos and other forts that could collapse on top of children and take plenty of warm up breaks.
And don’t even think about going outside if you aren’t bundled up and dressed in layers. My boys love these snow pants because they are easy to put on and are thick enough to withstand a ton of outdoor play and this overall snow pant for extra warmth.
These “Luke” Kamik boots are a favorite because of their tall height (keeps the snow from slipping inside and getting socks all wet), as well as their warmth and ability to repel water. Be sure to have at least 2-3 pairs of gloves on hand sine they get wet easily and can take forever to dry. We love these waterproof gloves from Target and these fleece lined, waterproof gloves that are soft enough for wiping runny noses.
Make Your Own Snow
What to do when it simply doesn’t snow or it is too darn cold to go outside and play? Make your own!
1 ½ cups Baking Soda
¼ cup Hair Conditioner or Baby Soap (not the clear kind)
Glitter (I mean, if you don’t consider it to be the devil’s dandruff)
Mix everything together and have fun discovering with the aromatic snow while safe and warm at home!
For other winter themed fun, be sure to check out our Winter Survival Guide.