If your family has too much energy to be pent up indoors, then why not head out? There's no reason to let a little cold slow you down, especially with all the fun there is to be had outside in the winter. You'll keep your crew happy and busy building snow forts, crafting snowmen, and sliding down snow-covered hills. You might even try something new this year, like snow shoeing or snow painting. Don't miss the fun of a winter wonderland!
Experts agree that people who live in northern latitudes suffer from a lack of sunlight during the winter. With winter's short days and long periods of darkness, it's easy to go all day without stepping out into natural light. This lack of sunlight can lead to depression and lethargy that often culminates in seasonal affective disorder. However, the solution is easy to find! Just by spending half an hour outside every day, people dramatically cut their chances of being depressed in the winter. And since it's such a great way for families to blow off steam and burn some excess energy, winter activities are a natural fit for parents and kids.
Things To Do
There are plenty of old-fashioned winter activities that your family probably does already. Tubing and sledding are classic fun activities, as are snowball fights, building snowmen, and creating snow angels. But has your family ever constructed a snow fort? These can be simple or elaborate. In their simplest form, a snow fort is a wall of snow (that ideally blocks the prevailing wind). After the wall is built, the family can sit behind it and feel nice and snug.
A more complicated snow fort can be a cave, a box (four walls), or a wedge-shaped shield that's the perfect defense during a snowball fight. If you have a brick form, you can even try making igloo blocks and building your own snow hut. Just make sure you pack the snow well into the forms, or the block will crumble apart.
Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and ice skating are also great family activities. If you have the gear, you can spend days exploring local trails, noting how different even familiar landmarks look when they're covered in snow. If your area is cold enough, your crew can go ice skating on local ponds or lakes. Just make sure the ice is 3-4 inches thick before you venture out.
Try Something New
Maybe this year your family will be ready to take up snow shoeing. Snow shoeing is fun and easy, and it's a great way to travel across the snow without worrying about sinking in to your waist. However, because of the wide stance it requires, snow shoeing can be tricky for smaller kids with short legs. If you want to try snow shoeing with little ones, be sure to find snow shoes that are the right size and that are made of light-weight aluminum. Adult snow shoes are more or less one-size-fits-all.
Snow painting is a fun family project. Take a few water bottles with squirt tops and fill them with a mixture of water and food coloring. Ideally you'll have a different color in each bottle. Then head out into the snow and use your imagination to make some fun pictures.
Make a snow sculpture. If your family is tired of the standard snowmen, then it's time to branch out into snow sculpting. You've probably seen some of the amazing sculptures that are built for winter carnivals and festivals around the country, so why not try replicating them in your own front yard? The key is to start small with a project that isn't too ambitious. Build a big mound of snow that's well packed-down. Then use spoons, ice scrapers, and small snow shovels to scrape away what you don't want. While you're building your small sculpture, you'll learn tricks that will serve you well if you go on to build something bigger and more dramatic.
Making your own snow cones is another fun winter activity. All you need is a bowl, some clean snow, and maple syrup or some other flavored syrup. If you want to use vanilla extract or another baking flavoring, be sure to dilute it with water first and dissolve in some sugar. Drizzle your syrup over the snow and take a bite!