Winter can be a bleak time, especially for energetic children (and their parents). All those cold, dark days stuck inside can wear on you. Children need to play outside, and believe it or not, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors safely and comfortably in the winter. Discover things for your kids to do outside when it’s cold with our top 5 list of icy weather adventures from Mowglis overnight summer camp.
1. Snowball Fight
Like a spur-of-the-moment game of freeze tag at boys’ summer camp in New Hampshire, nearly anyone can participate in this winter activity. All it takes is a little snow and a mischievous spirit. Have a safety word in case of injury or fright, especially with small children, who may get overwhelmed. Make it as simple or involved as you like: Set a time limit and rules (no ice or headshots). Play solo or team up. Draw boundaries. Dig a bunker. Make a fort. Build a snowman sentry. Gather ammunition – then let her rip! The winner(s) gets an extra cookie at snack time. Good sportsmanship supports future fun.
2. Snow Tubing or Sledding
Snow tubing or sledding is inexpensive, safe, and fun for family members of all ages. Nothing will reawaken the kid in you like this activity. It works best in freshly fallen snow. Grab a helmet if you have one. Watch out for hazards like sharp drops, ditches, nearby trees, HVAC units, buildings, and roadways. When in doubt – bail off! Snow offers a soft landing. Choose a hill you can handle, then race or double up and giggle all the way down. Repeatedly climbing back up for another exhilarating slide is excellent cardiovascular exercise.
3. Ice Fishing
Mowglis boys’ summer camp counselors will tell you – fishing requires patience, but it can be fun and exciting if you plan for success. To avoid boredom, keep your child involved in the whole process, from scooping out the ice fishing hole to grabbing minnows from the bait bucket. Whatever you do, don’t forget snacks and beverages. Consider bringing a bucket lined with a trash bag for unavoidable bathroom breaks, especially with younger kids, and a blanket for portable privacy. Play tick tack toe or hangman on the ice until you get a bite. Discuss aquatic habitats and ecology. Let each child take turns catching the fish. Expect to lose some in the hole. Take copious pictures, brag, and embellish about every fish caught. Bring a filet knife and take bets on what’s in the fish’s stomach – then put some fresh fish in yours for dinner.
4. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing, like rock climbing at Mowglis summer camp for boys, is a challenging activity. It requires mental and physical strength – and lots of gear! Helmets, anchors, ice axes, crampons (shoe spikes), and special ice climbing shoes – which don’t come in kids’ sizes, so you’ll have to settle for snow boots. Most guided services and venues provide some gear – you provide warm clothes, drinks, and snacks. Be prepared for kids not to climb, especially with first timers. Let children back off when they want to, and don’t show disappointment. Let them play in the snow while waiting for siblings. What’s important is having fun.
5. Snow Skiing
Snow skiing is another physically demanding sport, but it’s tons of fun. Choosing a smaller resort ensures you’re closer to your car and restrooms. A site with a magic carpet (conveyor) is easier to navigate than lifts, especially with younger children. Waiting for a warm, sunny day can reduce complaints. Start with the bunny hill – and possibly an instructor for the kids if you’re rusty. Learning the right way is easier than correcting bad habits later. Bring snacks and drinks (as bribes for attempts) or take frequent breaks in the lodge. Prepare to be there for the day, and pack tons of patience. Expect (and celebrate) falls. Weigh the benefits of chasing kids down the hill versus waiting at the bottom. Let kids practice getting in and out of skis and navigating on their own.
Don’t Sweat the Cold
Being cold doesn’t cause cold or flu illness. Appropriately dressed children can significantly benefit from short spurts of time outdoors. Fresh air offers an escape from bacteria and viruses lurking indoors, boosting immunity. Sunshine, even on cloudy days, boosts Vitamin D levels, helping ward off depression, stress, and insomnia. Check out our most recent blog on facilitating safe, healthy outdoor play in the winter for tips so you don’t have to end the fun too soon.
Banish Winter Boredom
Find more things for kids to do outside when it’s cold. Stay tuned for additions to our top 5 list of icy weather adventures this winter from Camp Mowglis. And don’t miss out on summer fun at camp – contact us to reserve your spot for the upcoming session today before spaces fill up.