25 Great Outdoor Winter Activities for Toddlers



Mar 27, 2022

Thinking about what you can do with your toddler during those cold winter months? You are in luck, there are lots of fun outdoor winter activities for toddlers that will are sure to be a hit!

Now I know there isn't snow all winter long and sometimes not at all, so I got some great ideas for all types of winter weather.

winter activities for toddlers outside

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.

Still fall then check out Autumn Outdoor Activities for Toddlers.

How To Dress A Toddler In Winter For Outdoors?

The most important factor if a toddler will be happy outside is if he/she is dressed warm enough. My toddlers will not last long when they are cold, they complain and insist we go inside. However, when bundled up they often will play for hours regardless of the cold weather. 

how to dress toddler in winter for outdoor winter activities
My two boys dressed for winter fun!

If your toddler is outside in the snow you will want to make sure he/she has on toddler snow boots and winter socks as well as a complete snow outfit.

Do not forget the importance of dressing warmly for yourself. You don’t want to be miserable either! And you might be surprised how your mood lightens with a bit of vitamin C and fresh air. 

Outdoor Winter Activities for Toddlers: No Snow Required

1. Throw Rocks and Stones on Frozen Lakes/Ponds

I am a big fan of winter hikes and exploring nature. I take my toddlers constantly to explore the woods or nearby trails. One of our favorite activities is throwing rocks, pebbles, or sticks in bodies of water. 

In winter the small bodies of water will freeze. Let your toddler still try to throw stones and see their reaction! If it isn’t a hard freeze it might break the ice! Just make sure you pay attention and not let your toddler track on ice that is not completely frozen.

2. Play on Playgrounds

The great thing about playgrounds is they are open all year long! Most people hibernate inside during the cold and leave the playgrounds less populated. So for those very popular places your kids love but you don’t like to deal with the chaos when it is warm outside; those places are perfect for winter days!

outdoor winter activities for toddlers playground fun

Or you might have a playset in your backyard. Just make sure there is no ice build up and let your toddler lose. Last winter my 3 year old loved to play in his outdoor play kitchen that is part of his play set. When it snowed he would fill his toy cups up with snow and make pretend frozen drinks!

3. Collect Pinecones

Many evergreen trees produce pine cones and they fall during late autumn and winter. Make a game to collect as many pine cones as you can. When you are done collecting them you can practice counting and see how many you found!

Buckets or a wagon are a great way to collect pine cones. My boys love their Green Toy Wagon, they will push it around and collect all sorts of things in it! You can also bring the pine cones inside and make a winter decoration for the house.

4. Freeze Leaves 

Freezing leaves is a great science experiment you can do with your toddler. Start by letting your toddler collect their favorite leaves. Then take a baking dish and place the leaves inside. Fill the baking dish with water and leave outside to freeze.

After a couple hours the water will freeze with the leaves inside! 

5. Go To The Zoo

Most zoos aren’t just open in summer, but all year long. The animals at the zoo don’t magically get taken to some place else, so plan on visiting them. Often animals are more active when it is cold than in the summertime and the zoo will be less crowded. A win for sure.

Pack some snacks and make a whole day of it!

6. Ride Bikes

Who says riding a bike is only for the summer time? Bike riding is a favorite of my toddlers regardless of the season. My nearly two year old loves hopping on his Strider bike and practicing his balance.

outdoor winter activities for toddlers strider bike

Looking for the best bike for your toddler? Read my top picks for a 1, 2,  and 3 year old here.

7. Ride Scooters

Again riding around on wheels is a great winter activity for a toddler. Learning how to balance and propelling themselves forward will keep your toddler’s mind off the cold. Just ensure he/she has on warm mittens that can grip the handlebars.

My 3 year old’s favorite scooter is the Skidee Y200. However, there are other great scooters for toddlers, check them all out here.

8. Make Ice Suncatchers

Collect all different types of nature from your winter scape; holly berries, pieces of fir tree, pinecones and anything else you can find. Place in a bundt pan and fill up the pan with your winter findings. Last cover in water and let sit until frozen.

Tie a string through the center hole and hang from a nearby tree. Watch as the light hits your suncatcher and illuminates your winter nature items. 

9. Plant Onions

Planting winter onions is a great outdoor gardening activity. You can plant onions in late autumn or early winter as long as you can work the ground.   Make sure you plant them in a sunny spot and occasionally water them if no participation occurs naturally.

Each day you can entice your toddler outside by looking to see if the onions are growing! 

10. Have A Campfire and Roast S'Mores

Winter is a time for shorter days. Expand your time outside by building a campfire outside. You could pop some popcorn over the fire or make S’mores. Make sure to bring a blanket or two to snuggle up in if the temperatures are frigid! 

outdoor toddler activities winter s'mores

Or have them practice themselves with their own pretend play S'more kit!

11. Have A Glow Stick Hunt

A great outdoor winter activity for toddlers once the sun has set is a glow stick hunt. Activate several glow sticks and place them in your yard. Let your toddler outside and have them go find as many as he/she can. 

If you are worried it is very dark you can give your toddler a small lantern to take with them. This will ensure you can see them and they have better visibility to find the glow sticks.

Outdoor Winter Activities for Toddlers: For Snow Days

Winter Days can also mean snow days! White fluff falling from the sky will certainly spark a toddler’s interest. And the great thing about snow is that it brings even more fun outdoor winter activities for kids!

12. Go Sledding

This is most common winter activity in snow most people would think of to do with their toddler. Not all toddlers are risk takers and some, like my toddlers, are scared to go down a big hill on a sled. Start with small hills and see how your toddler reacts before taking them to the large town hill. 

best outdoor activities for toddlers sledding down a hill

My 3 year old likes to feel in charge. He doesn’t do well if we put him on a sled and push him down the hill. He wants to take the sled himself, walk down the hill a bit before sitting himself down and sledding the rest of the way. Overtime he builds confidence and might go down from the top, but he has to do it all on his own.

13. Build A Snowman

If the snow is right you can help your toddler build a snowman.  Not only will your toddler enjoy helping you build a snowman, but you can use your creativity in decorating it as well. Find sticks for their arms and rocks for eyes. Let your toddler search the area and see what they come up with.

Don’t forget to name your snowman and see how long they last!

14. Make an Igloo

I don’t know what it is about toddlers, but they love being in confined places. Creating an igloo will be the perfect spot for your toddler to crawl into and make their own. Just ensure the igloo is soundly made and won’t collapse on them. 

winter outdoor activities toddlers igloo building

Igloo making does take time so make sure you plan several hours and dress warmly. If it is taking too long break it up with a hot chocolate break or extend it over two days.

15. Have A Snowball fight

Make some snowballs and have some fun. If your toddler doesn't like to be hit you can see who can throw the farthest snowball. Or throw it up in the air for the dog to catch. My toddlers love throwing snowballs at our dog, Toby, who eats them right up!

16. Make Snow Angels

Lay back in the snow and teach your toddler how to make a snow angel. Show them yours and see if they can make their own. Again make sure your toddler is in full snow outfit for this activity.

toddler outdoor winter activities snowangels

17. Go On A Winters Hike

Everything looks different in the snow. **Package your toddler u**p and go for a hike. Let them see how the landscape changes and the trees hold the snow. A good snow boot will be needed, but worth it for the experience. 

winter outdoor activities for toddlers hiking

Try to spot the different types of trees, those that hold their leaves and those that shed them in the fall time. If you plan on going far, you can bring a toddler carrier, I carry my boys in my Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature and love it. We own two so both my husband and I can carry a toddler.

18. Shovel With Your Toddler

You might think this isn’t fun for a toddler, but have you tried it? Toddlers love to do what you are doing. Provide them with a toddler shovel and you will be surprised how they will want to help you shovel the driveway. I also give my 3 year old a brush and he loves to try to sweep snow off the cars.

winter outdoor activities for toddler snow shoveling

I wouldn’t expect your toddler to be the best helper, just don’t tell him/her.

19. Explore A Water Table Covered In Snow

Water tables are great for summer days, but can also work as a sensory table with snow. Fill the table up with snow and place some toys inside. Watch as your toddler is amazed and watch the many ways he/she can play with snow.

I like to put in the snow, pinecones, ducks, play kitchen food, shovels and buckets. Your toddler might scoop snow out into buckets or bury the food. Who knows what their minds will come up with.

For added fun you can add some food coloring into the snow and make different colors.

20. Make Ice Paint

Take an ice cube tray and place a couple of drops of paint in each square. Next fill each square ¾ full with water and leave outside. Then when it is almost frozen place a popsicle stick in each square. Finally, when completely frozen you can pull the popsicle stick out and use that to paint the snow colors!

21. Paint the Snow with Spray

A different alternative is to paint the snow with a spray bottle. For this outdoor winter activity for a toddler get a spray bottle and fill it with water. Drop a couple drops of food coloring into the bottle and mix it up. Let your toddler spray the colored water on the snow and see the colors appear!

Perhaps you can have them spray paint a path to the road or their playset!

22. Look For Animal Tracks

Snow is great for leaving footprints behind. Grab your explorer gear and set off to find different animal tracks in the snow. I normally can find deer tracks in my backyard or fox prints. If you can’t find them at your house, finding animal tracks on hikes is a great option!

My 3 year-old toddler loves to use his explorer kit to look for prints.

23. Make Snow Ice Cream

Yum, who doesn’t love ice cream. I would strongly suggest doing this only on the first day of snowfall so you can guarantee the snow is fresh and edible! You can also make it more special by having on hand some toppings for the homemade snow ice cream you created with your toddler.

Click here to find the recipe and how to make!

24. Play With Buckets and Trucks In The Snow

Don’t underestimate how much fun snow can be with everyday outside toys. My toddlers love to play with their buckets and shovels. They like to fill the buckets with snow and dump it down the slide or use it to make snow castles. 

outdoor winter activities toddler toys

Another favorite for us is our green toy trucks. My toddlers will fill the trucks up with snow or simply drive them over the snow. My nearly 2 year old was enamored with driving his truck all around the yard in the snow. Just because I don’t think it’s fun doesn’t mean he doesn’t!

25. Design A Snow Maze

If you have enough snow you can make a snow maze! Use a shovel and make clear paths with the snow. Let fall-time crop mazes inspire you and see how big you can make it. Or if you didn’t get enough snow, compact paths of snow and see if your toddler can stay on the compacted path.

Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you have to hide away inside. Wrap up and venture outside and try some outdoor winter activities with your toddler! Fresh air always boosts all our spirits!

Hope this helps you find some awesome outdoor winter activities for toddlers.

Looking for simple backyard activities for your toddler, not just in winter? Check out my 24 Backyard Activities for Toddlers.