Raise your hand if you’ve had it with winter. Parents and teachers get especially tired of dealing with bored kids stuck inside. Here’s a winter blues buster: throw a snowtastic party. Celebrate the Winter Olympics in your own layground and backyard winter sports. Extend the fun with your own winter games variations. Here are safe, easy homemade winter games, snow games, ice activities requiring no fancy equipment.
Boot skating ice activities: Sweep off an icy patch of pavement, or hose it down to make a rink. Demonstrate how to speed or figure “skate” by sliding in boots. In second grade, teachers let kids “skate” down the halls after watching a figure skating documentary. The girls really thought they were Janet Lynn. Bundle kids so if they fall they won’t get hurt.
Broom Hockey ice activities: Use boot skating and play snow hockey with old brooms or shovels. Use any old playground (basketball, 4-square, volley) balls. Allow no fighting–no need to imitate pro hockey that closely. This is the ultimate DIY Winter Olympics event!
Shovel Races: Make work into winter games! See who can shovel snow the fastest or make the neatest, clearest walks. Use snow shovels like shuffle board. Push playground ball toward a goal. Kids will love these fun backyard winter sports that simulate Winter Olympics. Parents and teachers will love that snow games are equipment free!
Snow Golf: Use old brooms as in broom hockey. Dig holes in the snow and sweep tennis ball toward holes. You can also repurpose old tennis rackets or golf clubs in backyard winter sports variations of summer games.
Snowball Skeeball: Kids love to make and throw snowballs, but getting hit with snowballs can really hurt. So have kids aim at a target instead of each other. Paint water color initials on snowballs so kids know whose ball landed where. Mark four concentric rings in the snow, like Skeeball. Have kids aim for the center. Award more points depending on which ring it lands in nearest target. Competitive winter sports are best played with kids compete only with themselves.
Snow Sculpture Walk: This is more art than winter games, but at least it’s outdoors! Have kids create 3D snow sculptures along a sidewalk or pathway. Have them design placards. Allow them to spray with food colored water if desired. Encourage visitors to view the art walk, comment on the pieces. No need for competition. This gives less athletic kids a niche at which to shine. Do text-to-life literature tie-ins, using Children’s Books as a theme.
Cardboard sleds : Have kids design sleds from recycled cardboard boxes, markers, scissors, box cutters and duct tape. Provide paraffin (sealing wax). Show kids how to apply wax to waterproof and make the sled go faster. Sledding is the ultimate thrill in winter sports.
Literature Tie-In Have students design sleds named after famous vehicles from literature for “cool” book connections to snow games. Wikipedia lists fictional vehicles and sailing vessels with images. Edupics has free printable vehicle coloring pages to use as models. Do a library treasure hunt. List vehicles/vessels and have kids research what book each comes from. Here are examples: Dawn Treader, Trojan Horse, Nautilus, Pequod, HMS Pinafore, Millennium Falcon, Polar Express, TARDIS, African Queen. Who wouldn’t love to run these in the Winter Olympics?
Sled run: In these winter games, simulate a luge or bobsled run. Pile up snow and make a hill or use an existing tree-free hill. Rate kids on style, landing, distance, speed. Assign group sledding to help kids learn to work as a team. Or just freestyle in these fun snow games.
Snow-robics: Here are snow games for preschool. Have children pretend to be different animals. Make butterflies (snow angels), snow snakes, snow alligators, snow fish, snow dolphins. Have them make footprints trails and “track” each other by identifying individual print. Have them “walk” letters in the snow to write their names. Let the imagination run wild in these creative backyard winter games and ice activities. They will occupy the youngest children for a long time.
End with cocoa, sandwiches and winter stories after your backyard Winter Olympics ice activities.