10 Family Fun Ideas to Get Outdoors in Winter

When the extreme cold weather alert is over it is time to GET OUTSIDE! Make the most of those days when the sun is shining and the snow is calling. Invest in good snow pants and warm boots and play with the kids outside. Check out the park in the winter, make snow forts and look into all kinds of winter sports your family may not have tried yet. Be an active family, even in the winter!

For days when it is just too cold and there are not snow pants in the world warm enough, there are lots of ideas to keep your family active indoors but try to make the most of regular Canadian winter days and see what fun you can have enjoying the great outdoors.

Ice Skating on a Pond
Outdoor_skating-impDon’t settle for public skate at the local arena. Look around your area or drive a bit to find a hidden gem like a frozen pond or outdoor skating rink. Many cities are now providing free outdoor rinks in their downtown like Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto and some communities even have volunteers who set up outdoor rinks in City parks for all to enjoy. A few years ago we drove to Ottawa for a family weekend and enjoyed the 7km skate on the Rideau Canal. Closer to the GTA is Arrowhead Provincial Park and their magical outdoor 1.5km loop through the trees. Don’t skate? Learn!!

Snow Tubing
We’ve done tubing behind a boat in the water and it’s all kinds of fun, so this winter Snow Tubing is making our Must-Do List this winter. Lots of ski hills offer tubing open to the public and the whole family can link up their tubes for fun runs down the hill.

Outdoor_swimming-impOutdoor Swimming
There is nothing quite like swimming outside while it is snowing!! Look for local hotels that boast an indoor/outdoor pool or trek to Collingwood for Blue Mountains Plunge Pool that has water slides, swinging rope, a giant hot tub outside and a huge pool and toddler play area inside.

Kids love skiing. The rush of the down hill must satisfy their craving for speed! Get your family out to a small local ski hill and take lessons together. Have kids in Gr 4 or 5? They qualify for free skiing across Canada when you apply for a SnowPass.

No excuses from mom and dad. Put those snow pants to use and get on the toboggan with the kids. Tobogganing is just as fun as you remember! Our favourite winter fun is climbing UP the hiking hill where we ski and bum sliding down. No toboggan needed but steer clear of trees.

A little snow never ruined a hike in the woods. Dress warm and pack homemade muffins and hot chocolate for break time and go visit your favorite summer hiking trail to see how different it looks in the winter. Search for animal tracks in the snow and forge your own path through the trees.

No snow? Then why not get the bikes out of the garage? Instead of biking for ice cream you’ll want to find a nice hot chocolate stand to ride to and warm up before the big ride home.

While it will be difficult to find hidden treasure under a few feet of snow, be sure to get out geocaching if there is a winter thaw. Kids love the hunt and the cold temps won’t bother them if you bundle up.

Kids of all ages can strap on a pair of funky snowshoes and hit the trails! Give snowshoeing a try by renting first and hitting nice flat trails to start.

Cross Country Skiing
Another one for our Must-Do list (and much tougher of a workout than it looks) is cross country skiing. Great way to get exercise, not tricky to master, and beautiful trails await you.  Definitely on our winter list of things to try outdoors this winter with the kids.

It may be cold out there but don’t be afraid of the winter.  Bundle up and see what happens. You might just have more fun than the kids!