Playing outdoors is essential year round. In the warmer months, it’s not a hard sell. Warm temperatures and plentiful sunshine can lure most kids away from screens and into the great outdoors. Once the cold and snow set in, however, kids can need a little extra prodding to get outside.
We stocked up on some toys and props to make our front yard a welcoming place in the summer. It’s just as important, if not more so, to put the same thought and effort into keeping your home stocked with toys that will encourage kids to play outside in the winter. Here are 10 toys that are sure to inspire outdoor winter play.
Fill an old spice or parmesan cheese container with birdseed and have the kids sprinkle birdseed throughout the yard. Bird feeders are wonderful, but many birds are ground feeders. This is a fun way to get the kids outside and ensure that these particular feathered friends aren’t neglected!
Sure, you can make a fort the old fashioned way … or you can make a fortress of snow bricks! This toy sees year-round use at our home, as it’s also great with sand and mud.
3. Spray Bottles
Fill inexpensive spray bottles with water and food coloring for snow painting. This was a big hit with the neighborhood kids when the last snow storm hit. Again, this is a great item to have on hand throughout the year for outdoor fun.
Perfect for hauling snow, filling with leaves, or stockpiling snowballs.
5. Snowman/Snow Sculpture Kit
It never fails – the kids have made a snowman and when they come clamoring for items to decorate him with, I’m scrambling around and can’t find a thing. Fill a tote with these items and keep it handy in the garage or a closet.
- mittens that have lost their match
- old/thrifted hats, shirts, and scarves, and sunglasses
- an assortment of rocks, nuts, and buttons for the eyes and mouth
- old wine corks for noses
- wooden spoon for carving snow sculptures
6. A child-sized shovel and/or rake
A shovel or rake sized just for little bodies and hands will provide entertainment and help you tackle those wintertime tasks as well. Oddly enough, these Leaf Scoops were a big hit during raking season, too. Beyond being super-helpful to have extra “hands” filling bags for us, they’ve provided endless fun as monster hands, dino claws, and snow scoopers.
Has the abominable snowman been in the neighborhood? Very cute, and I can imagine little monsters wanting to wear these in the house, too.
8. Ice Globes
I bought this kit as an activity for us to do together. I’ve also seen tutorials on making them with water balloons and calling them ice jewels. Obviously you’d want to remind the kids that they’re not for throwing, but how about some ice bowling?
9. An Assortment of Sleds
Have a few different sleds available. We love our Zipfy , but I also like to have a 2-person sled, a round sled, an inexpensive snow board, and a foam sled. Of course they’re fun when there’s snow on the ground, but they also makes great props for imaginative play.
10. Trucks and Cars
Dump trucks, bulldozers and excavators are perfect for scooping and hauling snow. And of course cars are necessary to reenact the massive traffic jams a good snowstorm brings on!
What are some of your favorite toys and props to encourage outdoor play in winter?
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