5 Winter Activities for Toddlers

Winter is upon us, which means that if you're the parent of a toddler, you may be struggling with some serious cabin fever. I'm the mother of four kids myself, all the under the age of eight and we happen to live in a very cold state. Currently, it's below zero where I live and no, nobody is outside.

In some situations, there is no choice but to stay hunkered down inside with my kids. The effort of getting everyone dressed and out the door alone can feel like it takes up the entire day. And then, you just know that as soon as we're ready to go, someone will have to go to the bathroom. It's the Murphy's Law of Parenting, right?

Needless to say, winter can present a challenge for my brood, but fortunately, there are some winter activities that we have found that can be fun for the whole family, toddlers included. It's always fun to shake things up and try to get the whole family outside and enjoying nature, even when that nature happens to be cold temperatures and snow.

Alphabet in the Snow

Child playing in the snow
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Take your toddler outside to engage in a two-for-one activity: getting some fresh air outdoors, while also practicing his or her alphabet skills! Have you child find a long stick or bring a kitchen utensil outside to work on some letter-tracing skills. Or simply have fun stomping out letters with your feet in the snow and having your child identify a letter. It's OK if he or she has a long way to go in learning the alphabet—you have all winter to learn and your child has a long way to go until kindergarten!

Ice Skating

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You should definitely clear ice-skating with a toddler with your pediatrician, but if he or she gives you the all-clear, consider going for it! We took our two-year-old and with some elbow and knee pads, a sturdy helmet, and the help of a skating aide, she actually had a blast, gets a workout, and practices motor coordination.

Snow Cones


Bundle up your toddler and head outside to scoop and shovel some fresh snow—just make sure it's fresh. Then, after your little one has had fun playing in the snow, head back in to whip up some colorful and tasty snow cones.

Combine one cup of water and one cup of sugar and bring to a boil, then reduce down to a syrup. Add to your favorite fruit juice, such as (strained) orange juice or lime to create a flavored syrup. You could also add in some color with food-safe food coloring dyes. Then, drizzle the syrup over some fresh snow with your toddler for a tasty winter treat.

Use a Hiking Backpack

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Your toddler may be a little big bigger these days, but that doesn't mean that he or she is too big to be carried. A heavy-duty hiking backpack can hold many toddlers and can be more comfortable than you think.

You and your other family members could even rent or purchase snow shoes and try snow-showing or trekking in he snow.

Consider a Hot Tub

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This might seem a little out-of-the-box for a winter activity, but our family recently installed a hot tub outdoors and it's been a wonderful way to enjoy nature outside during the colder months—all while safe and warm in a hot tub. Obviously, there are some safety considerations with hot tubs and you'll want to carefully consider if purchasing a hot tub is right for your family (will the tub be accessible to small children? what kind of protection will you have? Will your insurance go up? what temperature will you have to keep the tub at?), but if you speak to your doctor to confirm that your child is old enough to safely use a hot tub, it can be a fun family bonding experience. You can search local swap sites online to find free or discounted hot tubs too.

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