10 Ways to Joyfully Embrace Winter as a Family
by Kate Saffle
A year ago
The stretch of time after the dawn of the new year until spring fully blossoms can feel like a dull, dreary period that drags on. We may feel lethargic as the shine of our new year resolutions wears off, kiddos keep getting sick and homebound, and we know we still have months until the bright sunshine of summer arrives. Rather than dig further into our self-imposed hibernation, January and February are the perfect months to explore nature, create new winter rituals, and grow together as a family.
If you’re eager to reclaim these few sleeper months and joyfully prepare for the arrival of spring, read on to hear 10 ways to embrace winter as a family:
Winter nature walk
Bundle up in your warmest layers and waterproof gloves and head out on a nature walk. Whether that’s around your neighborhood or in a nature park, head out with a pair of binoculars and all of your senses. Some ways to fully experience nature on your walk:
- Listen: encourage everyone to be silent for 60 seconds and listen actively. Then talk about what sounds were heard. Did the wind whistle through the bare tree branches? Were birds chattering? How does winter sound compared to other seasons?
- Feel: pick up or touch different objects such as pine cones, icicles, dried-out leaves, acorns, snow, and tree bark. What sensation do you feel when touching different natural objects? Ask children to describe and share what they feel.
- Look: stay still and observe your surroundings for animals, the way the trees move in the wind, animal tracks, and nests or burrows. Take photos or sketch what you see.
- Smell: take deep breaths and ask your kiddos to tell you what winter smells like. Take your time and see if you can identify different scents in the air.
Roll beeswax candles
Children love making beeswax candles, and with a readily available kit, this is an easy craft for a dreary winter day. Once the candles are made, incorporate their use into your daily rhythms, such as lighting one on the morning breakfast table or for bedtime stories.
Popcorn and reading
A new winter tradition to try is picking a favorite or new read aloud book and sharing bowls of popcorn while curled up together in your living room.This can be a great replacement for watching television and also creates moments for learning, question-asking, and bonding as a family.
Some books to try for all ages:
Then give this cinnamon maple caramel popcorn a try; it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family!
Grab a pair of binoculars and a bird guidebook and head out on an adventure or view them from your window. Challenge your kids to identify at least two birds and then draw them with as much detail as they can.
Further questions to ask:
- What does the bird’s call sound like? Can you make it yourself?
- What does the bird like to do?
- What color is it?
When the temperature drops and everyone feels like hibernating, create some hygge and invite friends or neighbors over for a glogg party. This is a popular Scandinavian drink that can be made non-alcoholic for the little ones at the party; head here for an easy recipe to try. Bonus points: combine glogg with beeswax candle rolling for a fun night for all.
When winter strikes, it’s easy to stay bundled up indoors and forget about those in our community who are vulnerable to the cold weather. Consider making homeless kits to either donate to a shelter or hand-out as you see someone in need.
Items you might include:
- Warm socks
- Hand warmers
- Gift cards to a fast food restaurant
- Protein bars
- Gloves and hat
- Drinking water
Winter is a wonderful time to try outdoor sports or perhaps watch one. Take your kids ice-skating, skiing, snowshoeing or ice fishing. Or head to a hockey rink to cheer on your local team. Don’t let the cold weather deter you from experiencing the fun of playing outdoors in the winter.
Grab your favorite board games and the kids, gather around the table and engage in a lively night of game playing. If your family doesn’t love board games, play charades, 20 questions, or make an epic play fort. Incorporating a game night into your weekly winter rhythm will add liveliness and fun to your schedule.
This is a beautiful craft that the whole family can make together. Draw the design of a log and animals (or really any winter scene!) on a piece of thick watercolor paper. Let your kids each color or design one paper. Then paint the paper with olive oil, dab off the excess, and glue the long edges together to make a tube. Light a tealight inside (don’t leave burning out of sight!) and set the luminaries where the whole family can admire them. Head here for the full directions.
Winter scavenger hunt
Create or print a winter scavenger hunt list, grab some crayons, and head out with the kids on an adventure. Encourage the kids to find everything on their list, and once you have, treat everyone to a hot chocolate or warm apple cider. This activity is even more fun if you form teams with some other neighborhood families or friends!
Winter can be such a magical time for connecting as a family, experiencing the beauty of nature, and trying new crafts and activities. We hope this list inspires you to enjoy winter and make the most of the season. Whether your family gravitates toward game nights indoors or epic winter sports, see which of these activities can become a new part of your family’s yearly winter rituals.
What’s your favorite way to experience winter with your family?