As the cold weather arrives we have a habit of retreating inside. Its easy and convenient and there’s nothing wrong with that but there are so many advantages to getting outside in the winter. Warm clothing and staying active means that even the littlest of children can spend hours having fun out in the fresh air (and they’ll sleep like little logs at bedtime as a result – bonus!).
Here are 10 of our favourite things to do when the trees have gone bare and the snow begins to fall…
1. Snow Painting
There’s lots of ways to be creative in winter but when the snow lays it creates the biggest blank canvas there is. A little food colouring in some water makes great ‘snow paint’. It can be sprinkled or splashed onto crisp white snow or you can make it extra fun by filling water pistols and letting your kids spray their visions onto the snowy canvas.
2. Build a Snowman
It’s just not something you can do at any other time of the year (thankfully!) Be creative – how about a snow dog? a snow horse? a snow house? Let the kids come up with the ideas, let them name their snowman and own the process. Got lots of snow? Go big!
Super-slidey fun for all the family. Choose your slope wisely but sliding down the side of a snowy hill is fantastic fun and can challenge kid’s ideas about what they can and can’t do. The sense of excitement and achievement they’ll feel at the bottom will keep them climbing back up time and time again.
4. Roast Marshmallows by a Fire
Nothing quite warms the cockles like sitting by a fire, wrapped up in blankets and roasting marshmallows! Kids love it and it instills a sense of adventure in them. Trust us, they’ll remember evenings like this and be excited tell all their friends at school and nursery.
5. Snow sculpting
Snow is a brilliant material for sculpting, that’s why snowmen are so popular, but it’s also great for creating smaller masterpieces. Using tools and moulds, the same way you would at the beach when building a sand castle, is great fun and very effective. Think of anything that would act as a mould even your hand can create a detailed sculpture. Have a go and see how creative you can get. Use idea number 1 (Snow Painting) to add colour to your creations.
6. Make Snow-Angels
Wrap up warm and roll around in the snow – what other shapes can you make? As adults, we’re often keen to stay inside and warm when it’s cold outside, but a snowy garden or park can be magical for children. Let them roll around in the snow, just have them wrapped up warm and be ready with a hot drink when you’re done.
7. Winter Woodland Bingo
Create a scavenger hunt sheet and head out into the woods and see what you can find…. A pine cone? A robin? What else? There’s lots still to see in the woods over winter, in fact without so much foliage on the trees, you can often see more. This is a great activity to help earn about wildlife while having a good walk in the fresh air.
8. Feed the Birds
The birds welcome any extra food at this time of year and setting up a bird feeding station at home is a lovely way to learn about the birds that visit the garden as well as teaching the kids about caring for animals and the environment.
9. Animal Tracking in the Snow
As much fun as it is making footprints in the snow we aren’t the only ones who leave a print. The woodland floor or even in your back garden if the perfect place to hone your tracking skills. The children will be amazed at the number of print they’ll find if they look closely enough. Help the children follow and photograph the prints then you can try to identify the animals that left them. Imagine what the animals might have been doing and let their imaginations run wild with the stories they create.
10. Snowball Fights
It’s been the classic snow activity of children for centuries. There are few things to do in the snow that are more fun! The secret to a good snowball fight is having good quality gloves that keep little hands warm and dry and keeping a good distance for throwing, meaning no one get a ‘stinger’.
Snowball fights have had some bad-press in recent times, with many schools banning them from their playgrounds all together. Activities like these always carry some risk and no one wants to see their children get hurt, but don’t underestimate the benefits of such activities; physical movement, co-ordination, strategy, negotiation skills, mathematics (trajectory vs force), peer agreement and challenge. There is a multitude of learning and fun experiences to be had during a snowball fight so get out and enjoy the snow – it doesn’t tend to hang around for long!