Baby it’s cold outside, but there’s so much fun to be had in our wintery outdoors! The countdown to Winter Break is on, and I don’t know about your family, but too much time indoors is a ticket to cabin fever central around here. Get outside and embrace the season! For some cold weather, Canadian family fun, check out these 15 outdoor activities to enjoy as a family this Winter – most of them budget-friendly!
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**UPDATED January 2022 – In light of the times, most public outdoor facilities have capacity limits & timed-entry requirements, meaning admissions will most likely need to be pre-booked. Always check the website for each facility prior to departing to be prepared for additional safety protocols & to avoid being turned away.**
1. Head to an Outdoor Ice Rink
Lace-up those skates and head to an outdoor rink. Most municipalities have one they maintain for public use. Check out your Town’s Winter Guide, or why not head to one of “Canada’s Top Outdoor Ice Rinks”? Our favourite outdoor ice rinks for families in the Greater Toronto & surrounding Area, Ontario include:
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2. Build a Backyard Ice Rink
Build an outdoor ice rink in your backyard with 1) DIY Ice Skating Rink kits 2) by using a wood boards & liner method; or 3) using the old school rink master method (Puddle Rink). A homemade rink has been thoroughly enjoyed by our hockey-loving family through the years and you can follow these tips by CDN Hockey Dads on How To Build Your Own Rink.
Tips on how to get your little tykes up on skates HERE.
3. Gather Around a Family Bonfire & Savour Some Simple Sweets Together
Build a winter bonfire and make s’mores, homemade hot chocolate and/or family fondue spread. We picked up one of THESE fire pits to enjoy in our backyard. Find out how to build a winter campfire here.
S’mores Treats for All Seasons!
4. Take Family Ski Lessons
Bond and embrace our Canadian winter on the snowy hills with family ski lessons. Check out these two great resources: “The Best Family Ski Resorts Across Canada” + skicanada.org . DID YOU KNOW? – kids in Grades 4 & 5 can ski FREE at select family resorts across Canada with a small registration fee at at SNOW PASS!
5. Visit a Holiday Market
6. Family Snow Tubing and Tobogganing
Fuel the family’s need for speed tobogganing or snow tubing. Want to go for a snowy slide at North America’s largest snow-tubing park? Check out THIS RESORT in Quebec to add to your family’s Ultimate Winter Wander list!
If staycationing in our local Ontario, some of the best hills/runs in the GTA can be found here including one of our top picks for PA Days & Winter and March Break – The ROC in Georgina! Some of our favourite sledding gear for families of all ages HERE. Snow Valley in Barrie, ON also has fun-tastic snow tubing hills, although it’s popularity makes reservations a bit trickier. NOTE: most snow tubing parks have a height requirement of 42″ & over to ride solo. Helmets are recommended, not required, but you will incur additional fees if you opt to rent them from the snow tube park. Given current provincial capacity restrictions, most require advanced registration & ticket booking.
7. Build a Snow Fort
Build a fort and have a snowball fight with your kids (or your spouse/partner). We love these brick-style snow toys.
8. Go for a Wintry Family Hike
Bundle up and head out for a family hike. Nothing beats the restorative effects of heading out in nature and there’s something extra calming about a wintry walk in the woods with a fresh blanket of snow. We love the AllTrails app to find new trails easily, many through beautiful forested areas for a little nature therapy via “forest bathing”. Seriously, we’re all our bests selves after our treks outdoors and have even embraced doing them this Winter season. Here’s a list of our favourite family-friendly hiking trails in Ontario.
9. Go Birdwatching
10. Have a Winter Picnic
11. Take a Snowy Family Portrait
12. Get Winter Activity Passes at a Discount
Check out Groupon, Wag Jag and other deal dishing sites for outdoor family activities at discount prices. Shop these family activities using RAKUTEN.ca and get cashback on your Winter entertainment from WagJag & Groupon purchases! Savings + earning to shop experiences – it’s just so smart & easy on the family budget!
13. Have Your Own Winter Olympics
Set up an obstacle course in the yard with hula hoops, jumps, tunnels and other challenges. Winner gets to pick dinner!
14. Colour Your Outdoor Winter World
Make snow paint and add colour to your outdoor winter wonderland. Simply add food colouring to water and put in a spray bottle, then go out and colour your outdoor world!
15. Build a Snowman
Classic winter fun is always a good idea! Build a snowman with outdated winter accessories, or pick up an old fashioned snowman kit.
Hope you found some of these ideas to get outside and enjoy Winter as a family useful! Have a great (and safe!) time venturing out making family memories in our wintery wonderland this season!
More resources you may find useful this Winter: