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Top 5 Cheap and Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Families

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Winter will be here before we know it. Instead of hibernating inside and dreaming of spring, here are some suggestions for getting outside and enjoying some snowy fun with your family this winter.

1. Build a snowman

The next time the snow starts, instead of thinking of all the extra work involved, like shoveling the driveway and clearing off your car, try to envision all of the possibilities for family fun that are headed your way.

One of the easiest ways to have fun after a snowfall is to bundle everyone up and go outside to build a snowman. If it's not too cold and blustery out, try building a whole snowman family, or have a snowman competition. See who can build the silliest snowman—or the tallest, or the one who most looks like Uncle Ed. Use your imagination, and have fun with it.

Not feeling very creative? Check out these photos of unusual snowmen for inspiration.

Building a snowman is fun for kids of all ages.

Building a snowman is fun for kids of all ages.

2. Ice skating

There are many options for ice skating. You can skate in a community centre or hockey arena, on a pond or even on an ice rink you've made in your own backyard. Wherever you choose to skate, you'll get a good workout and have fun at the same time.

For extra fun, you can bring hockey sticks and a puck and have a friendly game of shinny.

Be sure to have some hot chocolate after you're finished skating to help warm up.

Father-daughter hockey on the pond.

Father-daughter hockey on the pond.

3. Sledding

If you think back to your childhood, and try to remember times you had fun in the snow, chances are that there was a sled or toboggan of some sort involved.

Tobogganing is one of those winter activities that's fun for kids of all ages. Last winter, we organized a family sledding day on a sunny winter day. I think there were about fifteen of us, spanning three generations and ranging in age from two to seventy. We had a variety of toboggans, snow tubes, snow saucers and sleds, and everyone had a great time.

You'll want to make sure that everyone has warm boots, hats and gloves or mitts to keep them warm and dry, although you may get pretty warm walking back up the hill if you do it many times. Snow pants are a good idea to keep that cold snow from soaking through.

Tired after a fun day of tobogganing.

Tired after a fun day of tobogganing.

Sledding brings out the little kid in everyone—even grandparents!

Sledding brings out the little kid in everyone—even grandparents!

4. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a relatively inexpensive winter sport, and is a lot easier for beginners to do than skiing. The only equipment you need is a pair of snowshoes, which do not cost a lot of money and will generally last for many years.

Snowshoeing allows you to explore snow-covered areas that would be difficult to walk in, and is a wonderful way to get some fresh air and exercise in the winter.

Snowshoeing is a great family activity.

Snowshoeing is a great family activity.

5. Hiking and walking

Unless you are planning to hike in extreme conditions, winter hikes or walks do not require any special equipment, other than warm clothing and footwear. Be sure everyone has gloves or mitts and a well-fitting hat, and bring some snacks and drinks with you. It's a good idea to dress in layers for a winter hike, as you may run into a variety of conditions and get warm at some points on the hike.

If you're hiking with children, you should definitely stick to well-travelled and well-marked trails that you are familiar with. You don't want to chance getting lost in the cold, especially when you have children with you.

I hope that when winter comes you will be motivated to get outside with your family and have some snowy fun together!

Winter Fun Poll

© 2012 Kathy Sima


Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 05, 2013:

I know what you mean, Pinkchic18! I really have to force myself to get outside in the winter, as I can't stand being cold. As long as I bundle up in lots of layers so that I can't possibly freeze, I usually have lots of fun once I get out there.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on February 04, 2013:

Great list! I used to love being outside and playing, but now that I'm older it's harder to stand the cold!

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 30, 2012:

Thanks for the visit wilderness. I hope you have fun in the snow with your grandchildren this winter. Some of my kids' most fun times in the snow have been when their grandparents were there, right along them. :)

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on November 29, 2012:

I used to enjoy winter and snow activities a great deal, but don't get much of that white fun where I live now. Still, we do get some each year and your suggestions will absolutely be used with my grandchildren.

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 31, 2012:

Thanks CZ. I used to really dislike winter, but since I've decided to embrace the snow and try to have fun with it, I find winters are a lot easier to handle. Remind me of that in February though...

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 31, 2012:

Thanks Denise! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's nice that you are able to have fun doing these activities now with your grandkids. I'm sure they love that!

Denise Handlon from Michigan on October 30, 2012:

Great hub about family winter activities. I've loved doing all of these in the past with my kids, and now enjoy it with my grandkids. Rated up/U

CZCZCZ from Oregon on October 29, 2012:

Great snow time activities. I still have fun building a snowman as an adult. Playing in the snow is just a great wintertime activity that does not cost a lot of money. Enjoyed reading your suggested activities.