10 Fun and Engaging Outdoor Activities to Get Kids and Families Off Their Screen

As parents, teachers and caregivers, we all want our children to have access to stimulating educational activities. At the same time, they must spend quality time disconnected from their screens. Arecent study from BMC Health added the growing body of evidence linking physical activity, reducing screen time, and sufficient sleep to obtaining better academic outcomes in children ages 8-9. And hey - who doesn’t get a good night's sleep after spending time in the cool refreshing winter air!? Getting outside can help your family not only get a break from their normal routine but also allow your children to explore nature in creative ways they may never have thought possible. From building an obstacle course in the backyard to playing flashlight tag at night – there are plenty of accessible outdoor activities that will keep everyone entertained (and away from those pesky devices!).Here are 10 fun and educational outdoor activities sure to give both you and your kids something new and exciting this winter.

Go for a nature walk and take pictures of interesting plants, trees, and wildlife

Going for a nature walk is a great way to get fresh air and exercise, and all-season walks can be especially rewarding. Even in winter weather, the outdoors can provide beautiful sights for those who venture out. Taking pictures of interesting plants, trees, and wildlife can be a fun and educational activity for people of all ages. Whether it's a snowy landscape or a frosty tree branch, there is always something unique to capture on camera. Next time you're feeling restless in the winter months, consider bundling up and exploring the natural world around you. Who knows what beautiful discoveries you may make! Check out ourField Guide notebook or any of our observation journals to prompt your curiosity as you explore on your nature walk!


Play tag or other physical games in the backyard

Heading outdoors to play tag or other physical games can be a thrilling way to enjoy the crisp winter air. However, it's essential to prepare for the cold weather and wear appropriate winter clothing. Ensuring that everyone is equipped with hats, gloves, thick socks, and warm jackets before heading outside is incredibly important. For extra protection, it's wise to add several layers to safeguard against the frigid temperatures. Despite the chilly weather, don't underestimate the power of a good game of tag or hide and seek in your backyard. The benefits of physical activity and fresh air are worth a bit of briskness. So, enjoy the winter wonderland, embrace the cold, and stay warm with appropriate clothing and these helpful tips.

Have a family game night outdoors - board games, card games, charades

Gather up the family and venture outside for a night of fun and games. Board games, card games, and even charades can all be enjoyed in the great outdoors. Not only will you be able to soak up some much-needed fresh air, but studies show that being outside can also help emotionally regulate. So leave the screens inside and bring on the laughter and friendly competition as you bond with your loved ones under the open skies. A family game night outside is the perfect way to unwind and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Create an outdoor obstacle course using items found around the house

Are you itching to create a winter activity that's both exciting and creative? How about constructing your very own snow obstacle course using just items found around your house? Not only is this a perfect way to enjoy the winter season, but it's also a great way to showcase your artistic talent. Imagine having a mini-version of the Winter Olympics, set right in your very own backyard. With just a few props and a bit of imagination, you can turn your snow-covered yard into a wonderland adventure that everyone will love. So go ahead and start brainstorming today! The possibilities are endless!

Build a campfire and roast marshmallows for s'mores

There's nothing quite like enjoying a deliciously gooey s'more while nestled around a crackling campfire on a chilly evening. But how can you ensure you'll stay warm while enjoying this classic outdoor activity? For starters, make sure to dress in layers, which will give you the flexibility to remove or add clothing as you warm up or cool down. A warm hat and gloves are also crucial, as well as good quality boots to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Lastly, be sure to keep moving! Whether it's building the fire, setting up chairs, or simply playing games with friends and family, staying active will help you maintain body heat. With these tips in mind, you're sure to have a memorable evening roasting marshmallows and enjoying the outdoors in cold weather.

Stargaze and teach kids about constellations

Winter skies are a wonder to behold. As the days grow shorter and the nights become longer, the stars seem to shine even brighter. And while it may be tempting to stay inside where it's warm, there's nothing quite like stargazing on a crisp winter evening. Not only is it a peaceful and relaxing pastime, but it's also a great opportunity to teach kids about constellations. With earlier sunsets in the northern hemisphere, it's the perfect time to point out the various clusters of stars that make up our favorite formations like Orion or the Big Dipper. What better way to spend a night than snuggled up under blankets, peering up at the glittering sky, and learning about the mysteries of the universe? Need some guidance and/or inspiration? Check out our all-in-one Adventure Kits! Our "Into The Night" kit features all the gear, tools, and toys you need and comes with an interactive outdoor field guide to lead the way!

Wrapping Up Your Winter Outdoor Activities

Finding ways to get the kids off screens and out into nature can be difficult, but it's worth the effort. By engaging in these activities as a family, parents and teachers can foster curiosity, environmental awareness, and positive family experiences. It doesn't require a grand adventure; meaningful activities can happen right at home or in one's local outdoor space. The blog post has hopefully offered valuable insight on how to create lasting memories and discover the beauty of nature firsthand with your children aged 6-12.  Now that you’re armed with this information, what winter traditions do you wish to instill in your family? Encouraging outdoor exploration might provide an activity that brings everyone outdoors come rain or shine!  So why not bundle up and ping snowballs before hot cocoa inside by the fire – a perfect way to create new and exciting wintertime memories for years to come?

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