Five Awesome Family-Friendly Winter Activities - Blog - PLASP
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Five Awesome Family-Friendly Winter Activities

While the onset of another cold Canadian winter might have many of us longing for the warmth and sunshine of those lazy, hazy days of summer, especially those younger ones around us need opportunities to create, problem solve, and grow, there is hope!

Here are five fun and affordable (or free) ways to make the most of winter play with your children:

  1. Get outdoors! Skating, sledding, snowshoeing, etc. While winter can sometimes feel long, the snow and cold will be gone before we know it, along with opportunities to play in and enjoy it. Check your city website for outdoor ice rinks (which are often free) to get some skating in, reach out to other parents in your circle to get the info on where the good sledding hills are in your city, and visit your local library to see if they loan out snowshoes (some do if you have a library card).

Two boys sled down a snow-covered hill, one on a sled and one in a tube

  1. Snow Bocce Ball. While typically a game played during the warmer months, this lawn game can be adapted for winter. You will need materials for throwing (balls, vinyl beanbags, snowballs) and materials to use as a target (ping pong ball, hula hoop, bucket, cardboard, etc.). Instructions:
    1. The objective of this game is for players to take turns to throw the object as close to the target as possible. To watch Bocce Ball rules, click here
    2. Children decide on a target for their snow bocce game. Once the target is decided, children take turns throwing their object at the target.
    3. Tip: Feel free to add new rules to make the game more challenging such as throwing with your non-dominant hand, having two children throw the object together, throwing from different angles, etc. Children may also create their own target out of snow.
  2. Create your own Yoga Sequence routine. Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. For this relaxing activity, you will need an open space to move around freely and these yoga cards from The Pyjama Foundation.
    1. Instructions:
      1. Explain you will use this activity to wind down, relax and take a moment to be fully present in your body.
      2. Show the children the different yoga cards and encourage them to choose a yoga pose they would like to do. Children take turns leading by demonstrating the yoga pose. Begin your stretches with a deep breath.
    2. Tip: Children may want to do poses that you do not have pictures of. This could be a great way to encourage children to create their own Yoga poses and name it themselves!

A young girl does a yoga pose on a mat

  1. Build a fort – indoors or outdoors. Whether it’s an indoor fort using blankets, pillows and couches or an outdoor snow den, kids love building, exploring and then enjoying their newly built space. To build a snow den outdoors, you can supplement (or replace) snow with cardboard boxes, tarp/fabric, clothespins or clamp, shovels, and buckets. Instructions:
    1. Have children gather materials to create their own den, and support them by asking questions about how they want to build their den.
    2. Children may want to include additional materials to support their construction. Encourage them to brainstorm, experiment and problem-solve on how they can build a sturdy den.

Two young children build a blanket fort on a couch, using pillows and blankets

  1. Create an “I’m Bored” Jar. I’m Bored. What can I do now? There’s nothing to do! Your kids are getting restless and you might be too? Banish the “I’m Bored” blues by creating an I’m Bored Jar. Use a Mason Jar and create a label to glue to the front (many websites offer free printable labels), then write down ideas (ranging from creative and activity-based to kind and helpful) on little pieces of paper that encourage them to occupy themselves (i.e. jump rope, clean the bathroom mirror, make a card, take the dog for a walk, read a book). It combines the fun of not knowing which activity they are going to choose with occupying themselves.

A mason jar, with a label reading "I'm Bored Jar", is filled with slips of paper with activity ideas on them

For more ideas on how to take advantage of the unique and fun outdoor play opportunities the winter months have to offer, check out PLASP’s Top 5 Winter Outdoor Play Activities. For a wide range of creative activities that you can facilitate at home with your children, take a look at PLASP’s EarlyON Activities.

Stay active; stay safe!

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