Playing in the snow is a lot of fun for kids. But hiking in the snow can be a bit more challenging. Winter gear is a lot heavier and bulkier than summer gear. And walking through the snow takes a lot more energy. Especially when you are small and you have to pick your feet up much higher to get through it. Keeping kids, who are distractible at the best of times, moving on a snowy trail can be a challenge.
Be sure to plan your winter trails with all of this in mind. A child who can hike two miles during the summer, can probably only do one in heavy snow gear with a couple of inches of snow on the trail. In addition to picking your trails wisely, having a list of motivational games to play will help keep the adventure much more upbeat and fun.
Here are five fun games you can play with your kids on a snowy hike to keep everyone happy and moving in the right direction.
1) Tracking Hide and Seek
This game is similar to regular hide and seek, except that one person is hiding, and the rest seeking together. You find the person hiding by following their footprints in the snow. One person from your group goes on ahead, leaving a clear trail of footprints in the snow, while the rest hides their eyes and counts to 10. After yelling “ready or not here we come” set your kids on the trail of footprints, and let them follow the trail to the person hiding. Having only one person, most likely a parent or older child, hiding assures that you stay on the trail and headed in the right direction.
2) Follow the Leaders Footsteps
Similar to tracking hide and seek, this game uses footprints in the snow to keep your kids motivated. One person is the leader (take turns being the leader) and that person makes a path through the snow while the rest follow in their footprints. Make the trails fun. Walk in zigzags, write someone’s name, take a big step and tell the kids to jump from the last step to the next, or wind around trees to keep things interesting.
3) Mark Your Trail
If you are doing an out and back trail, leave clues to help find your way back. This can be crossed sticks on the side of the trail every so often, write an X in the snow, or make little snowmen to point the way. Then on the way back, look for these clues to find your way home.
4) Make a Story
This one can work in any season. As you walk along the trail, look for things around you and create a story about them with your kids. The squirrel that ran across your path was on his way to talk to the birds in the tree up ahead so that he could tell them about the deer who left the footprints next to the trail. Of course, when kids get involved in the story, these tales can get pretty wild. But that’s a good thing. Laughter means happy kids, and happy kids keep moving.
5) Snowball Fights
When all else fails, pick a parent who gets to be the target and start running in the right direction down the trail. Let your kids chase you and throw snowballs at you. This will definitely keep them moving.
Winter hiking does come with some challenges, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Keep these five games ready to use when the heavy snow gear or deep snow starts to slow your kids down.
Let us know if you have any other winter hiking games to add to this list in the comments!
Kids have more fun hiking in any season when they have friends on the trail. Learn about Hike it Baby donation-based membership options and join the fun today!
About the Author
Laura Raffin is a born and raised Vermonter currently living outside of Chicago with her husband and two daughters. She is a blogger/photographer focused on family off season and alternate destination travel. She spends every minute possible outside in nature and on the trails. You can follow her family adventures on Instagram @we.galavanttheglobe.
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Laura Raffin.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily the opinions, thoughts or recommendations of Hike it Baby.