There are many ways to keep yourself entertained during the winter, and you don’t have to break the bank to do so.
Some of the best winter activities are entirely free. So, get out there and enjoy your cold-weather season without worrying that you’re spending too much money.
Here are 25 fun outdoor winter activities that will warm your heart while filling your day with happiness and laughter.
Outdoor winter activities are a great way to enjoy the season, get some exercise, and stay healthy.
- Stress reduction. Many people feel less stressed when they do outdoor winter activities. Physical exertion can help release tension in your body, and being out in nature can help you feel more relaxed. You may also be able to leave your worries behind while you’re outside having fun.
- Better mood. Physical activity can help improve your mood, whether inside or out, but being outdoors is linked to especially significant benefits. Spending time in nature has increased happiness and decreased stress, depression, and anger. It can even help alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Improved fitness level. Outdoor winter activities can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight and build endurance, strength, and balance. They can also help enhance sleep quality and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
- Social connections. If you go outdoors with others, you may enjoy increased social relationships with family members or friends. You might also meet new people who share similar interests during an outdoor winter activity class, community center, or park event.
- Outdoor winter activities provide better sleep. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, when you spend time outside during the day, your body naturally resets its circadian rhythm — or sleep/wake cycle — which can help you get better quality sleep at night.
- Outdoor winter activities may increase vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is more common during the winter months because many people don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. That’s especially true if they live in northern latitudes or work indoors throughout the day. Even on a cloudy day, spending time outside can boost your vitamin D levels and potentially help improve bone health, blood pressure, and immunity.
Outdoor winter activities are some of the most fun you can have in the snow. But there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip, both for comfort and safety. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your next adventure:
Before heading out the door, check the weather forecast and road conditions. Check that your car has an emergency kit packed with flashlights, water, food, blankets, and jumper cables if you break down or get stuck somewhere. You don’t want to be stuck out there if a storm hits or roads get bad.
Dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than the forecasted temperature. This will prevent you from getting too cold if you’re moving around a lot and protect you from hypothermia if you stop for any reason. Just in case, always bring extra clothing and warm gear with you when venturing outdoors.
Wear waterproof clothing, especially on your feet and legs. You’ll lose a lot of heat through your head, but don’t go overboard with hats and headgear—you need to stay well ventilated or risk overheating or sweating too much, making you just as uncomfortable.
Dress in bright colors so that you can be spotted from a distance. Don’t wear cotton-based clothing like blue jeans because it doesn’t dry out quickly enough when wet and can lead to chills.
Check the weather forecast before heading out to be prepared for extreme cold or high winds.
Winter is a great time to get outdoors, especially in the fresh powder of your local ski area or on the ice of your favorite frozen lake. But before you strap on your skis, lace up your ice skates or get behind the wheel of your snowmobile, there are some things you should do to prepare for fun outdoor winter activities.
No one wants to be stuck at the bottom of the ski hill while everyone else is enjoying the slopes. So before you head out, spend some time getting in shape. Running, biking, and hitting the gym will help you build endurance to last all day on the slopes or trails.
While it may seem obvious, determining where you’re going and what activities you’ll be doing will help you prepare for your trip and have everything ready. You might even be able to get a group together for carpooling and sharing expenses.
When planning outdoor winter activities, it is essential to remember that you need the right gear for the weather. Thermal long sleeve compression shirts are an excellent option for cold-weather sports and activities. They are incredibly comfortable, and they can maintain your body temperature at a comfortable level even when it is freezing outside.
Thermal long sleeve compression shirts will also help to keep your muscles warm. That means that if you are going hiking or running outdoors, your muscles will be more flexible and less likely to cramp up on you as you are running or walking. And because these shirts are made with moisture-wicking fabric, they will pull sweat away from your skin and keep you dry, even if you’re working up a sweat in freezing temperatures.
Waterproof gloves are essential for any winter activity. You never know when it will rain or snow during your outing, and having dry hands will help keep them warm and comfortable throughout the day.
Here are some items that you should consider including in your winter travel preparedness kit:
- Water: to stay hydrated while keeping your load light, take a gallon of water for each person per day.
- Food: Take non-perishable foods like canned tuna, chickpeas, and dry soups. Both food and water supply should last for at least three days.
- Extra batteries.
- Flash lamp
- Battery-powered radio
- Emergency kit.
- Multi-purpose tools.
- Medications for a week and some medical items like syringes, glasses, etc.
- Copies of your personal documents, like your medication list and if you have any pertinent medical information, your proof of address, a deed or lease to your home, birth certificates, passports, and don’t forget the insurance policies.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
Before heading out into cold temperatures, take your car in for a tuneup that includes checking belts, battery life, and tread-depth on tires. If you’re planning on hitting snowy roads or trails, consider adding snow tires or even chains for better traction and safety.
- Build a snow man or snow woman.
- Collect leaves and pinecones to make crafts and decorations with later.
- Build and decorate a snow fort.
- Build a gingerbread house outdoors with real snow (it won’t melt).
- Go ice skating on an outdoor rink or frozen pond or lake (always make sure it is safe first).
- Make snow angels.
- Go skiing or snowboarding on your local mountain or hill (or even in your backyard).
- Have a hot chocolate break to warm up!
- Go tobogganing (sledding down a steep hill with multiple people at once).
- Have a “snowball” snack break (popcorn and pretzels covered in white chocolate).
- Go for a walk, hike, or run outside in the fresh air and sunshine (bring a friend along for safety!).
- Play tag with friends in the snow outdoors! Or any other games you can think of, such as hide-and-seek or kick the can! The possibilities are endless!
- Enjoy the fresh air by breathing deeply, meditating, or doing yoga outside in the sunshine (if available).
- Feed birds and animals (they need it more in colder months).
- Go skiing or snowboarding.
- Build an igloo.
- Watching Christmas movies with the family.
- Make a winter scavenger hunt.
- Play charades with the family inside by the fireplace.
- Visit a fire station.
- Camp out in your backyard (or on your floor) and roast marshmallows over candle light or flashlights (don’t cook them too long, it isn’t worth getting burned).
- Have an at-home spa night with facials and mani-pedis for mommy and daughter or son.
- Make your snow paint.
- Go for a drive to see the Christmas lights around town.
- Ice fishing
You can do many fun things when the cold weather is upon us. You don’t have to be stuck inside all weekend!
Have fun, stay active, and warm up those winter mornings with great activities like snowshoeing, ice skating, curling, cross country skiing, or some of the other options suggested here.
The weather may get dark and gloomy in the winter months, but your weekends certainly don’t have to.