When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall, you might be tempted to hibernate inside. But here’s how to embrace the cold and give your kids the exercise and fresh air they need. Just make sure to dress them properly and don’t go outside if it’s too cold for comfort. These outdoor activities are perfect for winter days.
Create two teams with at least two players on each side. Create sides of the field with sticks or food dye in the snow, and put flags or cut up pieces of a t-shirt in each person’s waist band. Then play ball!
Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Go on an expedition. Make a list of 10 things you want to find, including an inflatable Santa, a snowman, a menorah, blinking lights, holiday wreath, icicles, an undecorated house – and more. If feeling competitive, break into teams to see who can tackle the list first.
Snow Tie Dye
Take spray and squirt bottles and fill them with colored water (just add food coloring). Then go in the snow and make art. Make sure to give each kid an area or “canvas” to get creative.
Let the wizard world inspire you with this tag-soccer hybrid game. Set up hula hoops on opposing sides of the yard. Chasers try to throw a ball through the opposing team’s hula hoops while Keepers defend their hoops like a goalie. Taggers use soft foam balls to tag Chasers and make them give up the ball. One child acts as the golden snitch and runs as fast as possible while the Seekers try to catch him. This game is perfect for any Muggle that wants to add a little magic to playtime.
Pin the Hat on Frosty
Build a snowman and then take turns trying to throw hats on his head. Each person gets a hat (or a turn with one hat). Whoever gets closest to his snow dome wins.
Let everyone run around outside while each kid takes a turn being the “freezer.” When the “freezer” tags a runner they have to stop moving and stand as still as a snowman. To keep everyone moving, add some “melters” whose job it is to thaw out frozen runners by tagging them.
Hunger Games Dash
While we don’t suggest reenacting the all-out kids’ battle described in the popular series, you can let your kids channel their inner Tribute with this fast-paced showdown. Mark off a large playing area and gather a cornucopia of pinecones, tennis balls and other small items in the middle of the yard. Place each kid in their own corner. On “go” they must all run to the center and retrieve one item to bring back to their corner. If someone is able to tag another player before he or she brings her gear back to her corner, the tagger gets the goodie.
Katie Herrick Bugbee is the senior managing editor of Care.com, where she writes and edits content to help families with caregiving needs. A working mom of a two preschoolers, she lives and breathes parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect nanny.