If your grandkids are like most, weekends and school snow closings are the highlights of the winter season. Get into the spirit with some of these fun outdoor activities.

After you’ve expended your energy outdoors, there’s plenty of fun to be had indoors as well.


Outdoor Winter Frolic

Take a snowshoe hike. Buy or borrow snowshoes for the family, and go on a trek through the woods or a field. Take your compass. But also tie brightly colored strips of fabric to tree branches to mark your path.

Look for animal tracks and burrows; identify trees by the bark and shape of their trunks; learn how to tell the time or direction by the position of the sun; and other nature and survival activities.


Visit an ice sculpture show. Look for these captivating displays on college campuses, in city parks, and in indoor arenas. Check with your local and nearby chamber of commerce or state travel bureau for events listings.


Visit a zoo. During the winter months, zoos often bring guest animals and offer special exhibits. Arctic and cold-climate animals may be more active, and indoor exhibits are easier to view because of smaller crowds.


Take a winter carriage ride. Look for horse-drawn carriages in tourist or trendy towns and quaint villages. Bundle up, and take warm blankets and hot beverages. Then enjoy a cozy ride through a snowy, festive town.


Enjoy a winter fest. Visit your chamber of commerce or state travel bureau website for a list of winter festivals and events. Activities to look for include light displays, fireworks, winter sports competitions, recreational activities, exhibits and ice sculpture displays, sleigh rides, snowshoe tours, and more.


Make an ice tree. Instead of throwing out your holiday tree, turn it into a winter display. Stand it in your yard, turn the water hose on low, and spray upward and toward the trunk of the tree. As ice forms, continue spraying until you achieve your desired effect.


Go sledding. If you have small hills in your backyard, use a trash bag for sliding down them. Better yet, head to some real hills with your toboggan or sled.


Indoor Activities for Blustery Days

Head to a museum. Most cities, even small towns, have a historical museum. Hands-on science, art, or natural history museums are found in most metropolitan areas or at nearby universities.


Grab your roller blades or skates and head to your nearby indoor rink. These arenas are updated for today’s kids and are a blast for grandparents and kids alike. If you’ve never roller-skated, take a class at the rink.


Create an indoor snow family. Buy black and white clay from an arts and crafts supply. Roll snow people out of the white clay, and shape hats with the black. Make arms with tiny twigs, scarves from narrow fabric strips, eyes and buttons from whole pepper, and noses from broken, orange-colored toothpicks.


Tour a manufacturing plant. Tours are often available to the public even if they aren’t well-publicized. Just call to find out.


View the winter sky. Visit a planetarium to see constellations and some of the brightest stars of the year.


Hold a winter movie fest. Invite friends over, rent a selection of movies, and have everyone bring their pillows or beanbag chairs. Don’t forget the buttery popcorn and hot chocolate.

If you’ve had enough of winter, hold a Hawaiian luau instead. Choose summery or vacation-themed movies. Serve cold drinks with little umbrellas and fruit on top. And don’t forget the beach towels.


String a snowflake streamer. Make snowflakes by folding white paper several times and then trimming different shapes around the edges. Open the snowflakes and then string them on a piece of yarn, and hang it across the room.


Visit the library to snuggle up for a relaxing read. Choose several books to bring home. Don’t forget to check out music CDs, audiobooks, videos, computer games, and magazines for plenty of indoor entertainment.


Get away at a weekend resort. Check your travel agency for one of the many winter resorts for outdoor enthusiasts that offer activities and accommodations for the whole family. Try downhill or cross country skiing, snowshoe excursions, and more.


Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online store, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions and fine bindings at sagerarebooks.com

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