The short days and cold weather usually mean that kids aren’t spending as much time outside. We’re hoping to change that! Kids need time outside in the winter, just as much as they do in the summer. Time spent outdoors during the winter helps their immune system, gets their blood flowing and helps them get essential nutrients. But sometimes finding things to do in the cold winter months can be tough! We’re always looking for fun new things to do to keep us active, outdoors and having fun!
1. Snow shoveling
Toddlers love to help out and they love to imitate. So, if you are planning to make a wintertime toy purchase for your little one, I strongly suggest a kid-sized snow shovel! And, if you happen to live somewhere where you get a lot of snow, there’s no harm in teaching them early!
2. Go for a sled ride
Whether it’s just for fun or for practical purposes, having a good quality pull sled is very handy with young children. You can pull them around the block, they can slide around in the backyard, or they can pull their own dollies for a ride! Make it even more fun and find some hills to play on. Remember, toddlers don’t need anything too big or scary and if you are going to go down some big hills with them, be safe and have them wear a helmet.
3. Build a snowman
Really, this one shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, right? But, don’t stop at snowmen. Encourage your toddler’s creativity and maybe they’ll want to build a family of dinosaurs, a castle, a baby turtle, or a sculpture of their own family! Make it even more exciting by letting your toddler choose some clothing and natural treasures to decorate their own snow creations.
4. Paint the snow
This one takes a tiny bit of preparation, but it’s still pretty quick and easy. The main idea is to fill a watering can, spray bottle, or even a pop bottle (with a hole poked into the lid) with colored water.
Tip: The slower the water empties from the container, the longer the activity will last!
5. Paint with snow
This one works really well if you have a brick house or a wooden fence. You can even do it on big tree trunks too. Basically, with handfuls of snow, show your toddler how to make designs. The texture of the brick, wood, or bark will grip the snow. If the snow is wet enough, you can even throw snowballs at the wall and fence to make a picture out of thrown snowballs. For older kids you could make a bullseye or target game for them to throw the snowballs at.
6. Build a fort
If you grew up in snow I’m sure you’ve built a fort or two. Remember, toddlers aren’t very big, so this doesn’t have to be an over-involved process. Just a small snow wall will be very exciting to hide behind and climb over for them. I’m pretty sure all the forts I ever made were done with my hands and feet. I also have fond memories of my dad digging one out of a snow drift for me once.
7. Build a maze
This one will need a little more adult time. In a large area of fresh snow use a shovel (or your feet) to cut paths in the yard. Make a maze for your toddler to find their way through. Then, show them how to make their own maze to challenge you.
8. Be a winter wildlife detective
Head to a natural area and see how the animals are managing in the snow. Make a little winter-time scavenger hunt before you head out, or just pretend to be nature detectives and look, listen, and feel with curiosity. What are the animals doing and saying? Have they left any evidence in the snow? Whose tracks are whose?
9. Haul out the toys
Sandbox toys are just as fun in the snow! Fill the dump truck and use the sand shovels to build a snow city complete with roads, tunnels, apartment buildings, and even snow bridges! Or, instead of sand toys, try some kitchen tools like cookie cutters, scoops, and rolling pins.
10. Freeze stuff
This is a two part activity that needs a little preparation on your part. First, one day, you’ll fill a container with natural treasures (leaves, berries, pine cones) and add a few inches of water. Then, leave this outside to freeze overnight. On the second day, go see what happened, take the frozen disks out of the contains and hang them in the trees as decorations.
Posts written by the Team ELM family!