Outdoor Adventure: Winter activities for families

Winter provides a brilliant opportunity to get stuck in with brilliant outdoor activities for kids of all ages. There’s everything from things to do in the snow to wildlife feeding and art ideas!

January in particular can be a real downer after the fun of family gatherings. It’s often colder and feels darker than December even though the longest day has been and gone and the light is slowly returning.

Getting outdoors with the family – for fresh air, light and movement – is probably the best way to combat the January blues. a month when I often need inspiration for things to do when I feel low. If you’re the same, here’s a summary of the cool winter family activities to read about below in January’s outdoor adventure round-up: –

  • New year’s walk
  • Homemade snow
  • Night sledging
  • Snow fires
  • Painting snow
  • Check on the neighbours
  • Feed the birds
  • Join the Big Garden Birdwatch
  • Go skiing
  • Visit a zoo, cave, aquarium or gardens
  • Slide on ice
  • Winter crafts
  • Outdoor activities for pre-schoolers
  • Christmas tree burning
  • Places to visit

Family Walks

A great way to start the year is to tell the family to take a hike 😉 (for hike read short stroll if gin has been involved..) but it doesn’t have to be on new year’s day itself. Why not set a January goal to do one family walk by the end of the month. If you need moral support my post how to make walking with kids wonderful might help.

Snow Fun

Make your own snow – sadly there was no white Christmas for us Brits again. Here’s a fun idea to try with pre-schoolers as tested by Emma and family over at Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs. I’m often dubious about the ingredients of things like this and slime etc but this one is borax-free and looks fun.

In a really cold snap don’t forget to check on the neighbours, especially the elderly, here’s a post I wrote mentioning this and other snowy activities.

Night sledging & snow fires – kids can’t fail to be excited by night sledging and if there are teens or adults to help supervise then a snowy campfire is perfect for heating a quick hot chocolate (with added Baileys if required). Kids of the Wild did both things last year during the Beast from the East.

Painting snow – here’s a novel idea from Ladybird’s adventures who tried this out with her own little ones last year too. It sounds like a lot of fun was had by all with paintbrushes in the snow.

Ice sliding – at school before Christmas a patch of ice on the playground was sectioned off with traffic cones to keep the children from slipping on it. Many of us commented that, when we were children, this was the very spot we’d have had great fun skidding on! Annette from Four Acorns might feel the same as she took her family on a brilliant ice sliding adventure last year. I’m sure you’ll be doing it with your little ones if it freezes this year.

Take a Break

Family skiing – if it stays mild this winter think about a last minute ski trip. I’ve only ever skied twice so we haven’t yet been as a family but Zen Baby Travel has some great tips for a resort with babysitters!

LaplandUK! – Who knew? Why not cheer up the January gloom by booking a family treat for next Christmas – Dear Mummy Blog shared her lovely experience at Lapland UK. Santa and his elves in the UK! It looks fabulous for young families.

Big Garden Birdwatch

It’s really important to feed the birds, and an excellent way to start creating nature connections for your children, including putting out fresh water as all their supplies will be frozen. My post on year round bird feeding includes details on the RSPB’s 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch too. 

January 26th to 28th is Garden Birdwatch weekend, a great citizen science project for families. There’s still plenty of time to sign up to receive a pack in the post or online and all it takes is an hour’s birdwatching from in the house, garden or a local park whilst recording your sightings to send off for analysis. Participants receive a free certificate.

Arty Winter Activities and more

Kerry at Blissful Domestication has put together this great list of 33 outdoor activities including art, craft and games. Well worth a read for anyone with young children.

Over at Kids of the Wild again there are tutorials on how to make hanging bird feeders from old coconuts, great in conjunction with the birdwatch.

Another of my favourite winter activities is burning our Christmas tree on a garden firepit with friends and neighbours, a great excuse to squeeze one last drop of festive spirit into the new year lull. If you can cope with one last family gathering that is! 

Winter day trips for families

If you lack the time or energy to organise your own outdoor adventures, Nadine from BritMums has put together 5 exciting activities for outdoor days out around the UK. From Cornwall to Yorkshire, including an aquarium, a zoo, caves and garden attractions, there’s something for everyone.

Let’s all get outdoors more!

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About Lucy Holmes

Lover of nature, the wild and full-time outdoor Mum, Lucy is usually found with a dog poo-bag in pocket escaping her messy house for the garden, countryside or beach. Mother of a childhood cancer survivor whose mini adventures inspire Lucy’s blog Kids of the Wild. Lucy is passionate about the transformative benefits of nature connection, lessons reinforced during her daughter’s cancer battle. Having helped set up an early Forest School and rescue 28 swans she believes all children can benefit from more ‘outdoors’, even when quality family time together is short.