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Outdoor Winter Games For Kids – What Kids Love To Play!

winter scene with snow on the evergreen trees and a wide road that has been plowed 

Introduction

Perhaps, some people don’t understand the importance of spending time outdoors.  Not only is it good for us to get moving, but it is also an excellent idea for improving our outlook and getting us out of our heads. This post will be about outdoor winter games for kids.  

So when thinking about the honest answer to why it is essential to spend time outdoors, here are some Quora contributors’ thoughts.  

Ngatia says, “I can have outdoors in any form. Whether it’s sitting on a back porch, walking a backtrail, running, or it’s climbing a mountain.

It’s the thrill, it’s the magic, it’s the challenge, it’s the connection, it’s the wildness… but always it’s the freedom and openness.  Outdoor gives the feeling there are no walls, and you can be anything. 

Additionally, according to Quora reader Niti Garg, she states, “Health! It is good for our mental, emotional, physical, and social health. If we do outdoor activities especially close to nature – it will help you connect with your inner being – it brings peace of mind”.a dozen or so kids playing tug-of-war outside on the grass either in the Spring or the Fall

In addition, Time Magazine wrote an article entitled “Spending Just 20 Minutes in a Park Makes You Happier. Here’s What Else Being Outside Can Do for Your Health”.  

The article then explains the rationale behind living a happier and healthier life.  It states, “Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. 

Being outside and engaging in activities has lowered stress, blood pressure, and heart rate while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health. Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders — all findings that doctors are increasingly taking seriously and relaying to their patients”.

Today I will outline the benefits of playing outdoors and provide you with ideas of games and activities in which kids of all ages can participate.  Continue to find new ideas you can use right now.  

Benefits Of Structured Play Outdoors

Kids crave movement and action.  Allowing kids to get outdoor play daily is highly beneficial.  When my children played outside, I know they ended up getting a great night’s sleep.  

Breathing in the fresh air will do that for us.  Think about a time when you were outdoors doing something active for an extended time. Did you sleep better?

I automatically think about downhill skiing as a younger adult. I remember the feeling of cold on my cheeks, the anticipation of the challenging ski hills, and the release of energy that comes with physical activity.

I would ski with family and friends for hours.  I felt so free of stress and body tension that the activity and the outdoors changed our mental and physical health.  

four kids lobbing a ball back and forth outside in a grassy area in the trees

Kids also benefit because of the social aspect that they crave and need.  Playing with other kids their age or around their age encourages social interaction. 

Additionally, it also develops social skills about how to play, take turns, wait your turn, be a gracious winner or loser, how to react when disappointed or frustrated, and learn the social norms of getting along.  

Another benefit is children learn about taking risks and the consequences of taking too big of risks.  These risks could be jumping out of a tree they climbed and twisting their ankle, or it could be riding a bike without training wheels and conquering the fear of falling.  

Lastly, it invites children to learn about science.  Most kids are curious about nature and find themselves outside exploring new and exciting plants, bugs, trees, water puddles, and other things they encounter. 

Kids learn by exploration, and the outdoors is just one big classroom!

Ideas For Games And Activities By Age Groups

Preschoolers

  1. Playing with balls (whiffle or round rubber balls) and plastic bats
  2. Basketball hoops for them to shoot the ball in the hoop
  3. Set up bowling pins, and have each child try to roll the ball to knock down the pins
  4. Scavenger hunts in the yard
  5. Hide and Seek
  6. Hoola Hooping
  7. Blowing Bubbles
  8. Colored pom-pom sorting.  This activity is easy because adults can purchase small pom poms used for art activities and spread them out across the yard with some visible and some not visible.

multi colored craft pom-poms

The children run out to find all the pom-poms and bring them back to the starting area where there are bowls of different colored pom-poms for them to match and put them in by colors (all the red together, for example). 

When all pom-poms are found and sorted, give the kids a special treat and drink for outside.  

Early Elementary Years

  • Hide and Seek
  • Kick The Can 
  • Hopscotch (forgot how to play? (click here)
  • Giant Jenga
  • Simon Says or Mother, May I?
  • Monkey in the Middle (also known as “pickle” in the middle)

Late Elementary Years

Ante I Over – Four or more kids can play this game. You will need a rubber ball at least 6 inches around, something easy to catch and soft so it won’t break a window or something.

Have two kids on each side of the house or garage.  red rubber ball around 7 inches aroundOne side is “it” while the other side listens and gets ready to catch the ball when it comes over the house.  As the person throws the ball over the house’s roof or the garage, they yell, “Ante I Over.”  

If the ball doesn’t make it over the roof, the person yells, “pig’s tail,” to indicate to the other side that it didn’t make it over.

If, after throwing the ball while yelling “ante I over,” one of the players catches the ball on the other side of the house, they are to then run to the opposite side of the house to tag or throw at and hit one of the players to get them out.  

When they get someone out, they sit out of the game, and the kids continue the game until all players are out.  If the player does not catch the ball, they are then “it” and start again by saying, “ante I over” and throwing the ball over the roof to the other side, and proceeding until all players are out.

  • Flashlight Hide and Seek played when it was dark
  • Kick The Can (as seen above)
  • Charades
  • Two Truths And A Lie (One person comes up with three things about themselves, two are true, and 1 is a lie.)  The other players must guess which one is a lie. So fun!
  •  

Teenagers And Adults

  • Never, Have I Ever– directions here
  • Charades
  • Twister
  • Musical chairs
  • Wink Murder (click here for directions)
  • Bocce ball
  • Nature to Nature (click here for directions)

In The Final Analysis

Outdoor winter games for kids and playing outside is suitable for all ages.  I remember playing family games outside when I was growing up, and I remember feeling so good to be playing with my whole family together.  It is a memorable time from my childhood.  

Finding time to set up games out in the backyard for the kids (of any age) is a great way to engage in family activities about making connections and feeling a sense of belonging.  Families can play these games in outdoor spaces, including patios, backyards, porches, or suitable areas. Take my suggestions for games or enlist the children to develop their ideas.  Playing outside will benefit all by getting fresh air, exercising, being social, learning something new, exploring your space, and having a great time. 

When and what will you plan for outdoor activities for the kids?

Thanks for stopping by.  I would love to hear your ideas for games that you played when you were younger or new ones you want to play.

Please share your ideas and comments below.

As always, 

Marla.

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