While restrictions are lifting and heading out to do certain activities is allowed, we’re still a wee while away from being able to enjoy a lot of what we do during the winter months. Whether it’s traveling to Bali to escape the heat or heading to the snowy slopes of Queenstown or even just keeping the kids active in their regular sports activities – these are now a ‘next winter’ thing.
So what’s the backup plan? Taking children outdoors daily, even in winter, can be a healthy part of their schedule and is safe when clothing is appropriate so get the kids rugged up in their favourite coats, hats & gloves and get those little bodies moving!
Here are a few of our favourite backyard play ideas for winter.
Using your trampoline is an obvious first tip! Not only are there loads of ways you can use your trampoline, the jumping and laughter will keep you warm on those crisp winter days. Decorate it with some lights so you can still get ample jumping time despite the sun going down a little earlier.
Have you got a tree house or cubby house? Deck it out with all the comforts of home and set up a little winter getaway for the kids. Get plenty of blankets, pillows, even throw in a couple of hot water bottles, get the beanies and the uggs on, make some milo (not too hot), and perhaps put in some fun board games, colouring or reading books to entertain the kids. It’ll feel like a real winter retreat for them (just make sure it’s waterproof before you sent them out in rainy weather). If you don’t have a tree house or cubby house – how about making one? The weather is no longer crazy hot so it’s the perfect time to get stuck into building the perfect little hideout for the kids.
Image Source: The Courier
It doesn’t snow too much in most of Australia through winter so while the idea of building backyard luges or creating snow angels sounds like loads of fun, without the snow, it’s pretty tricky. But we do get rain… and the following are some of our favourite rainy day outdoor activities and yes, it might involve mud.
Normally reserved for those hot summer days that have you wishing for cooler weather, the slip n slide has a winter version. If the weather isn’t too cold but it is rainy, then this makes for the perfect slip n slide day. Deck the kids out in their wet weather gear put the tarp down, let the rain do its thing, add some mud, grass and dishwashing detergent to really make for a bit of winter fun!
Image Source: Parenting.com
Create a mud-pit without sacrificing your lawn by using a wheelbarrow to create a mobile mud patch for mud play in your backyard play space! It’s like a portable mud kitchen, and it will provide your kids with hours of good, old-fashioned muddy play! It’s a wonderful way to provide a temporary mud patch or mud kitchen in your backyard at home having to dig up a patch of your lawn. Get the toy trucks and trailers, sand toys as well as pots, pans, plates and utensils that you no longer need. The kids will undoubtedly take it upon themselves to create the ultimate in mud feasts, driving tracks, earth-moving and whatever amazing little ideas their imaginations conjure up. Simply grab a wheel barrow, push it into the perfect place in your yard, and mix up some mud with a mixture of 2/3 potting soil, 1/3 sandbox sand, and a generous splash of water. Place a short plank across one end of the wheel-barrow to serve as a work bench.
Image Source: Pinterest
Let the Picasso's out with mud art. Painting with mud is a fun art activity that usually goes over well and really doesn’t require many supplies. Give the kids brushes, sponges or even let them use their fingers to 'paint' on the driveway, fences, or old board. But make sure you take photos as one downpour (or splash with the hose) and the art will disappear (while you quietly say thank you!).
Image Source: Hands on as we Grow
Create a homemade water wall with a configuration of containers, tubes and funnels, which children can pour water and observe the way it drips and flows through the containers below until it empties out into a container on the ground. It’s a great way to not only keep the kids entertained for hours, but also educate them about gravity, angles and water flow. Simply find a wood board that you can attach to a wooden fence, a chain link fence, a baby gate, deck rails, or a piece of lattice. Then source a variety of old containers, bottles, funnels, pool hose, guttering etc and attach to the board with a staple gun or ties, lining things up and pouring water through to make sure the placement is right before you staple. Place a couple of plastic bins at the bottom of the water wall so the water can be re-used as they play. You can also use this with sand, and you guessed it, mud.
Image Source: Ideas2LiveBy
If you do want to channel some really icy goodness, have the kids build Backyard Ice Sculptures. With just a few containers, food colouring and water, you’ll have a very cool creative activity for the kids.
Image Source: CBC Parenting
If you do ever get snow, this looks pretty cool: Frozen Rainbow Orbs and Sculptures. With a few balloons, food colouring, water and snow. The transition the balloons have in the snow creates beautiful orbs that allow for a child’s creativity to flourish.
Image Source: CBC Parenting
So while we may not have our regular activities to get us through the winter months, kids have a tendency to get really creative with a little prompting. They also tend to not worry about what the weather is doing, as much as we parents, so this winter, embrace their imaginative and fearless ways!