Winter camping with kids might sound like a challenge, but it’s actually a doorway to a wonderland of excitement and adventure!
This season, don’t let the cold keep you indoors—bundle up and prepare for an unforgettable family escapade! From huddling with your hot cocoas and sharing campfire stories to the thrill of gliding over a crystal-clear ice rink, our list of fun winter camping activities is designed to turn the chill into a toast of joy.
This post is part of our camping & outdoor adventure series
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1. Snowman Building Contest
This timeless activity requires creativity and a good snowy base. Encourage kids to scour the campsite for twigs, leaves, rocks, and berries to use for decoration. For a unique twist, provide accessories like scarves or hats to dress up their snow figures. Snowman-making kits with carrot noses and button sets can add to the fun.
2. Snow Forts and Snowball Fights
Equip the kids with snow shovels and help them design and dig out a snow fort. Pack some snowblocks to create walls. Once the forts are up, have a snowball fight using soft, freshly fallen snow to ensure safety.
3. Ice Fishing
You’ll need to plan ahead for this one. Make sure to bring fishing rods, bait, a drill to make a hole in the ice, and proper permits if required. Always double-check the thickness of the ice for safety. Ice fishing can be a serene activity, teaching kids the value of quiet persistence.
The cold winter air often means less humidity and clearer night skies. Bring along a star map or download a stargazing app to help identify constellations. Don’t forget a warm blanket to lie on and some hot cocoa to keep warm as you gaze upward.
5. Campfire Cooking
Involve the kids in meal prep by letting them cook simple items over a campfire. Ensure safety with extendable forks for roasting and heavy-duty gloves or mittens. S’mores are an easy go-to, but foil-packet meals can be a fun and less messy option.
6. Nature Walks & Animal Tracking
Walking through a winter wonderland can be educational. Bring along a guidebook to help identify animal tracks. Binoculars can help kids observe wildlife from a safe distance.
Rent or buy snowshoes suitable for each family member’s size. Lightweight aluminum frame snowshoes are a good choice for beginners. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore areas that might otherwise be inaccessible due to deep snow.
8. Igloo Building
This activity requires compactable snow and a fair amount of patience. Snow saws and igloo-building molds can make the process easier. This hands-on experience can teach kids about indigenous peoples and survival techniques.
9. Winter Photography
Encourage kids to document their experiences with photography. Disposable cameras are great for younger children, while older kids might handle a digital camera or old smartphone with a waterproof case. Discuss the different aspects of winter life and landscapes they can capture.
10. Frozen Bubble Blowing
You’ll need a standard bubble solution and bubble wands. It’s best when the temperature is below 32°F (0°C), and you can watch the bubbles crystallize right before your eyes.
11. Sledding or Tobogganing
Prepare a few tales in advance, or bring along a book of short stories. Campfire storytelling can be a mix of spooky tales, family anecdotes, or folklore. This requires no equipment, just a vivid imagination.
13. Snowflake Observation
Black felt, and a magnifying glass will allow kids to catch and observe the unique patterns of snowflakes. This can be a spontaneous science lesson about weather and crystal formation.
14. Winter Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of items for the kids to find and maybe even hide some objects in advance. A prize for the winner can be a nice touch. Equip each child with a small bag or basket for their finds.
15. Frozen Lake Skating
If you have access to a safe, frozen body of water, ice skating can be exhilarating. You’ll need to pack ice skates for everyone, and it’s wise to bring along safety equipment like helmets and knee pads.
Remember, the key to winter camping is preparation. Always dress in layers, keep dry, and be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. By being prepared and having a variety of activities planned, winter camping with kids can be a memorable adventure for the whole family.
More Winter and Camping Inspiration
If you’re looking forward to some fun family adventures during the colder months, you may also be interested in reading next:
- The best winter family vacation destinations in the USA
- Tips for keeping dry on your camping trip
- Keeping warm when tent camping
- The best kids camping toys worth packing
- Terrific toddler camping toys and ideas
- How to go tent camping with a baby
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