For many, winter brings cabin fever. Especially for the kids! Ever thought about camping in the winter? Seriously! A camping trip during colder months can be a fun and memorable experience. Just make sure you have planned some fun winter camping activities for the kids or you’ll be wishing you stayed at home.
Winter camping success with the kids requires a little advanced planning that depends on your type of camping. Will you be in a campground with amenities or the backcountry? Will you be camping in a tent, RV, camper trailer, or other?
Two priorities in winter camping involve safety and comfort. Without them, you won’t have a good time. Once these have been planned for, focus on some fun activities for the kids.
- Check the weather: You don’t want to camp if bad weather is coming.
- Pack extra clothing: Bring extra clothing so you can dress in layers and can change out of wet clothes.
- Bring a survival kit: Even if the weather looks clear bring a cold-weather survival kit that includes the Ten Essentials.
- Pack gear for the fun kid activities: Snowshoes, cross country skis, fishing gear, sleds, etc.
18 Fun Winter Camping Activities For Kids
1. Snow Angels
Remember how fun it was to lay down in the snow and make snow angels? Making snow angels with your kids while camping… That’s a memory they’ll keep for a lifetime. A memory you’ll keep too.
2. Snow Forts
Snow forts, snow castles, and igloos were my favorite as a kid. Pack snow into walls or build it with blocks of snow.
My little girl is too little to build a snow castle, but when I have the chance, I’ll build her one to play in. Every little princess needs her castle!
Parents, help design the snow fort so it doesn’t collapse and hurt anyone.
3. Snow Sculptures
The most common snow sculpture is the snowman, but what about others like a dog, cat, alien, car…
Snowflakes that fall around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (–2 °C) have the perfect moisture content for packing and forming into your desired shape.
Related Content: What Is The Best Weather For Building A Snowman?
4. Snowball Fight!
Now that you have a fort built, how about a snowball fight? This is a classic! Why? Because it’s so much fun! You can’t miss with this one… Well, maybe with your aim. Just scoop up some more snow and fire away!
Note: Aim for the body when having your snowball fight or it might end up in tears. Little ones don’t like catching a snowball in the kisser.
5. Other Snowball Activities
When we think of snowballs we typically think of snowball fights, but consider mixing it up a little. Play tag, elimination, or a version of capture the flag.
Target contests are another fun snowball activity. Place an object or objects at varying distances, or use a tree. Create a point system and take aim!
Find a good snowdrift and burrow through it or hollow out a room. Be safe to avoid a collapse.
7. Broom Hockey
Set up some hockey goals on a solidly frozen lake or pond. Brooms work great for hockey sticks and use a tennis ball for a puck.
8. Snow Golf
To play snow golf, grab some tennis balls and some old hockey sticks. Next, lay out your golf course. For holes, push empty cans into the snow or cut off the top of some plastic bottles.
Your kids will enjoy making their way along the course. Losing and hunting for their balls is fun too!
Winter hikes are a blast! It’s different than warmer months. You can see so much more of the terrain when the leaves have fallen. If there’s a lot of snow on the trail, consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing instead.
10. Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fun, invigorating activities that provide an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the beauty of snow-covered landscapes. A wide range of ages can enjoy these activities though the younger kids may wear out quickly. They will need easier terrain.
Both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are easy to learn and can be enjoyed by the whole family regardless of skill level.
11. Snow Skiing
Are there areas for skiing near your campground? If so, you can spend the day on the slopes with the kids.
12. Bird Watching
Many birds go south for the winter but others stay. Bring some binoculars and see how many bird species you and the kids can identify. If you don’t know your birds, you might need a bird field guide for your region.
13. Nature Watching
If your kids aren’t interested in birds, watch for animals in the woods and across the fields. Search the snow for tracks and identify what critters have been out and about.
14. Ice Skating
Will you be camping near a lake or pond that’s frozen solid? Maybe you’re camping in an area where outdoor rinks are popular. Ice skating outdoors is far different from the confines of an indoor ice skating rink.
I mentioned broom hockey earlier. If you find a great place to ice skate, you can play hockey too.
16. Ice Fishing
If you’ll be camping near a frozen lake or river in popular ice fishing areas of the country, there’s probably an ice fishing outrigger who can supply the tools you need if you don’t have them. The outrigger can drill the holes, provide bait, and an ice fishing tent or shanty for keeping warm. Just bring some good food and have fun.
There may even be ice skating areas nearby. Very helpful if boredom kicks in.
Find a good snow-covered hill and use a sled, toboggan, saucer, disk, tube, or sled alternative like a flattened cardboard box for that downhill thrill.
For safety, be sure that the hill and the bottom of the hill are free of obstacles or pits. Rocks, boulders, trees, and other obstacles are a real danger.
As a kid, I took my little sister sledding on a hill in the woods. She hit a tree and her bottom teeth went all the way through the area below her lower lip. Please, please please don’t recreate that moment.
Whether you rent or own, snowmobiling is another great activity for the whole family. Many state parks and national forests have marked snowmobile trails for you to enjoy.
Is there an open field near your campsite? Pulling the kids on a sled or tube behind the snowmobile is a ton of fun!
19. Campfire Fun
You and the kids can have a lot of fun gathering around a winter campfire! It’s far more fun than the heat of a campfire in the summer months.
Warm up around your campfire while enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows, s’mores, roasted hotdogs, songs, tall tales of your daytime adventures, and scary stories about the abominable snowman. Yep, leave the ghost stories for another time. It’s Yeti season!
Loads of Fun Winter Camping Activities!
We have looked at eighteen fun winter camping activities to enjoy with your kids. There’s no need to suffer through winter cabin fever, make some plans, and head out into the winter wonderland for some family fun!
As you settle down at the end of the night in your tent or camper, the only question is “When can we do that again?”