When the holidays have passed, you’ll have more time to spend relaxing and adventuring with your family. Spending time together outdoors is a great way to bond, even in the winter!
If your area is cold and snowy, make sure to wear appropriate winter gear when you head outside—a layer of moisture-wicking fabric and waterproof boots make all the difference! Here are seven great family-friendly activities to try this season.
Soaking in hot water with cool air all around is a remarkably peaceful experience. If you live in the western part of the country, there are many natural hot springs within driving distance. If you aren’t lucky enough to be close to one, contact local spas and resorts to see if they have an artificial “hot springs experience” set up outdoors. Kids as young as age 4 can safely soak in hot springs with adult supervision, so plan a special family adventure. You can often find other fun experiences nearby, including snowshoeing/ice fishing in colder areas and beautiful hikes in warmer climates.
When the nights get dark so much earlier, it can be challenging to spend time out in the neighborhood connecting with other families. Organize a bonfire block party to reconnect, and let your kids invite their friends, too! Make sure to check any local ordinances, but most areas at least allow fire pits. Set up some camp chairs, make hot cocoa, and provide blankets if it’s extra cold. Add a portable speaker with a fun playlist, and you’ve got the perfect winter-evening party!
Colder temperatures and wet/snowy weather don’t mean you have to hole up at home all season! Find a cabin close to home and book it for a weekend family getaway. You can explore rustic options that only use wood fires for heat or something more luxurious tucked away in a private spot. Either way, getting away from the typical distractions of home will allow you to reconnect as a family. Because cabins aren’t as popular in the winter, it should be easy to book your ideal location. Make sure to take extra food, water, and blankets in case your trip lasts longer than expected. Packing some board games is an excellent idea, too!
Does your family enjoy getting outside to exercise together? What about volunteering to help the community? Combine the two with a Swedish craze that’s taking over the world: plogging. From the Swedish words “plocka” (to pick) and “jogga” (to jog), plogging is essentially a trash-cleanup jog around town. Grab some gloves and a trash bag and head out to your local parks, nature preserves, or even your kids’ school grounds. Jog along until you find trash, then try to pick it up as quickly as possible, and continue your workout. You can make it a friendly competition among family members, too! Register your family’s efforts on the international site to track community progress.
Take Nature Photographs
Whether the ground is covered in snow or your days are humid and balmy, winter photography is a great way to capture the unique elements of the season as a family. Have the kids make a list of certain plants, animals, and natural elements they want to find and capture in your shots, then plan a drive, or hike out to begin the search! Plus, you can take memorable photos on a smartphone without having to invest in specialized equipment. Make a photo book of your adventure to remember the fun for years to come.
Because the Earth is tilted on its axis, the night sky visible during the summer is different from what you can see in the winter. Take advantage of some new constellations this season by planning a stargazing adventure. Drive somewhere remote to minimize light pollution, then use this interactive sky chart to input your location, date, and time for a detailed map of what you can see with the naked eye. If it’s frigid outside, take sleeping bags and blankets to snuggle with on the hood of your car. Kids will think it’s so fun to stay up way past bedtime!
If you need an indoor activity for the days when the weather outside is unbearable, try some science experiments that unlock the secrets of winter—everything from ice structure to pinecone behavior is covered in the ideas here. Even if you don’t have snow outside, you can conduct most of these experiments with ice from your freezer. Older kids can also record weather observations and track nature patterns to compare with observations in other seasons! Make wonderful family memories this season with these fun winter activities!