If you love to hike but run short on ideas when the snow starts to fly, here are some great ways to enjoy the winter with your entire family. And if you need a few good reasons why you should brave the winter cold to go outside and play, here’s some motivation.
1. Some basic outdoor winter fun ideas include going on a scavenger hunt, building a good old-fashioned snowman, or a snow fort. You can find more basic ideas on this list of 10 ways to play in the snow.
2. Of course, you could always go out and hike! It’s cold, but if you and the kids—even the baby—wear the right gear, you’ll all stay nice and toasty. Snowshoeing is probably the ultimate way to “hike” in winter. L.L.Bean has a great selection of snowshoes, as do many other retailers online or off. Check out these seven ways to hike when you’re in a winter wonderland.
3. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can take the whole family cold-weather camping. While having an RV is the ideal, you can car camp too with cold weather sleeping bags and tents. You’ll have lots of space and fresh, crisp air. If you need more reasons why winter camping is rad, here’s some food for thought.
4. Nighttime holiday light or star walks are fun and a great way to make memories this time of year. Take the kids out, bundled up, and walk around your neighborhood (or a neighborhood near you known for their light displays). Bring hot chocolate in a thermos and make it an adventure. Be sure to bring a flashlight and reflective clothing.
5. Kids love to sled! Find a (moderately) daring hill and bring everyone out to enjoy the sledding fun! You can get plastic sleds at most big box stores, or if you’re really raring to get out there, even a broken down cardboard box will do. Number four on this list provides even more tips.
6. Of course, cross-country or downhill skiing (not to mention, ice skating) are excellent ways to enjoy the winter. If you have a nearby facility or hill, rent some skis and make a day of it. Most resorts allow you to bring a bag lunch so you can also keep costs down. Take a look at this article about Jeri Collins for some inspiration.
7. Caroling with the kids and friends is a wonderful way to make memories and brighten people’s lives. Practice a few songs, or just have the sheet music ready, then go out in the neighborhood and sing! Maybe some friendly neighbors will even give you hot chocolate and cookies while you’re at it!
However you choose to get outside with the kids this winter, you’re sure to make memories and find a whole new perspective on hiking—and winter fun. To help you get started, we’ve provided a downloadable Winter Bucket List for your family to work on this winter. Further down, for your convenience, we also linked to some local events to help you plan your winter activities (or any all year-round!).
What ideas do you have for winter activities? Share them in the comments!
Below are some links to local events we’ve gathered from several Hike it Baby branches to jumpstart your planning.
Portland: Red Tricycle and PDX Parent
Seattle: Sounds Fun Mom
Austin: Do512 Family and Free Fun in Austin
Charleston: Macaroni Kid – Charleston, Macaroni Kid – North Charleston and Charleston City Moms Blog
Anchorage: Anchorage with Kids
Tacoma: Sounds Fun Mom
Harrisburg: Macaroni Kid – Harrisburg and Central Penn Parent
Kitsap County: Macaroni Kid – Kitsap
San Antonio: Alamo City Moms Blog
Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor with Kids, Ann Arbor Observer and Metro Parent for Southeast Michigan
Salt Lake City: The Salt Project
San Diego: Historic Julian, California and San Diego Sightseeing Tours
Des Moines: Des Moines Parent and Des Moines Outdoor Fun
Calgary, AB: Born to be Adventurous, Play Outside Guide and Rockies Family Adventures
Kansas City: KC Parent and Johnson County Park & Recreation District
- Exploring the senses with a winter scavenger hunt
- Snow play: 10 Ways to enjoy the winter for unlimited fun
- Hiking groups and challenges to consider in the new year
Photo by Krystal Weir; Bucket List by Alex Wong.
Tamara Johnson graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2007 with a BFA in photography and a minor in creative non-fiction. After spending nearly a decade writing and editing for the photo giant B&H Photo, Tamara went into business for herself as a freelancer. When she’s not in the city, she loves to explore the Adirondack Mountains. Hiking/walking, kayaking, yoga and meditating are just a few of the things Tamara enjoys during non-working hours. She also loves dogs and hopes to have a few someday.