Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Dec. 21, 2015. It was last updated on Dec. 22, 2020.
I’ve always encouraged my kids to help create a family summer bucket list. It’s lots of fun. It gives us some amazing summer aspirations. And it means we have easy access to ideas when we aren’t sure what to do with ourselves. But we have never thought to create a winter one. Until now.
And so, just as we’ve created our summer lists for many years, this fall we worked together to create a brand new winter bucket list. Things to do when we’re bored. Things to do when we’re craving adventure. Things to do when we’re cold. But most importantly, things to do.
This isn’t just any bucket list. If you look closely, you’ll notice we’ve done our best to incorporate fundamental movement skill development whenever we can, giving this bucket list an extra special Active for Life, physical literacy twist.
Plus, we’ve included awesome and exciting tips from some of our AfL Role Models, too. Because if there’s one thing they’re experts at, it’s knowing how to get outside and have fun with their kids.
There’s no reason to feel you’re stuck inside with nothing to do this winter. When you need inspiration just pull out this family winter bucket list as a reminder that, in fact, there’s never, ever “nothing to do.”
- Paint hopscotch onto the snow (practice hopping, jumping, and picking up objects).
- Make snow people.
- Read snow books (“What Snowmen do at Night,” “The Snowman,” “Snowballs”).
- Learn to skate.
- Toboggan (a great chance for kids to develop balance and learn how to fall).
- Learn to ski (develop balance, agility, and coordination).
- Go for a family cross-country ski (great for developing balance, agility, and coordination, too).
- Pack hot chocolate in a thermos for any outdoor adventure.
- Take a winter family hike (even being able to walk on all different kinds of terrain is a fundamental movement skill).
- Take the dog to the dog park (throw and kick a ball to keep your pup moving and your own body warm).
- Have a snow picnic (run around between bites to keep warm).
- Go out at night to ski or skate.
- Look at the neighbourhood lights on an after dinner family walk.
- Go on a winter scavenger hunt. Here’s one already created [PDF] by our role model Kathryn from Burlington Parents.
- Explore a favourite summer park in the winter and find the differences and similarities (a great chance to skip, climb, or jump).
- Have a winter campfire—book a permit at a local park. (Editor’s note: Check the COVID-19 restrictions in your area first.)
- Walk (or gallop, run, or skip) to school.
- Catch snowflakes on your tongue and mittens
- Follow animal tracks (leap, hop, and gallop to pretend you’re the animals) like our role model Kari from Active Kids Club.
- Make snowballs and throw them at tree targets.
- Have a snowball fight (a great chance to throw and dodge) like our role model, Holly, from The Inspired Home.
- Make ice sculptures.
- Create an obstacle course inside or out (leap, gallop, jump, and spin across the living room floor or the backyard).
- Build a fort inside or out.
- Go for an ice walk like our role model Karen from Play Outside Guide.
- Have an indoor (or outdoor) dance party with your family. (Don’t forget to twist, skip, and spin.)
- On a really cold day, have an indoor beach party.
- Try a summer sport in snow. Kick a soccer ball, strike a baseball, volley a tennis ball or volleyball.
- Go geocaching. Who knows how far you’ll walk!
- Start a family game of road hockey and practice your dribble and strike.
- Feed the birds (throw birdseed or hang homemade treats).
- Shovel the neighbours’ sidewalks.
- If kids are old enough, ride a fat bike for a chance to cycle in the snow.
- Explore snowflakes and see how each one is different.
- Make ice balls in balloons, then have an outdoor bowling game. To be safe, make sure you always throw underhand.
- If you’re feeling really brave, go winter camping like our role model Tanya from Rockies Family Adventures.
- Go skating with your family at the local outdoor rink or pond.
So as the snow starts to fly and the temperatures drop, there’s no need to yearn wistfully for sandy beaches. Just remember to dress everyone for the weather and you’ll be able to have fun and develop their physical literacy, too, no matter how cold it gets. There’s so much excitement to be had in winter, even on the coldest days of the season. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!