Outdoor Christmas Activities with Kids

January 30, 2023 5 min read

Outdoor adventure isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the holidays, but maybe it’s time to change that! In a season of candy canes and Christmas cookies, maybe a little outdoor activity would be good for us all.

As a parent, it’s always good to teach your kids how to have fun in the great outdoors. So get ready to spend a little time in nature this holiday season with these outdoor Christmas activities.

Go for a Holiday Hike

Winter hiking is seriously underrated, and the landscape can be downright magical during the holiday season. We’re not talking about climbing major mountains here—though there are plenty of families who can and do, which is awesome—but even an easy stroll through a nearby park or nature preserve can be just what the body and soul need this time of year.

Taking kids on a winter walk can be a great way for them to have fun in the outdoors and learn about the seasonal cycles of the natural world. Lifelong core memories can be made trekking through the snowy pines and tossing rocks out onto a frozen pond.

Very young kids can get a little but fussy on a long, chilly outing, so use your judgment when deciding who goes and for how long. And of course, make sure everyone is dressed for the occasion and don’t forget to pack a few snacks in your Daypack

Collect Items for Natural Christmas Decorations

The woods are full of cool objects that can be transformed into DIY Christmas crafts. Taking kids out in search of nature’s holiday decor can be a great way to get into the spirit of the season while learning and appreciating the bounty that nature gives us.

You could collect pine boughs to fashion a holiday wreath, or gather pine cones to turn into ornaments. A few straight sticks and some twine are all you need to create decorative hanging stars and snowflakes, and a natural garland can be made using anything from dried holly berries and pine cones to vines and evergreens.

Plant a Live Christmas Tree

The world can always use a new tree or two, so instead of cutting one down this Christmas, consider planting a live tree in your yard. Live Christmas trees are available at many garden and landscaping stores, and they’re not usually too hard to keep alive.

Ideally, a live tree shouldn’t spend too much time indoors before being planted. It’s best to unwrap the root ball and put it in the ground no more than two weeks after you bought it. In Southern areas where the ground never freezes, you can plant your tree right after Christmas if you want to.

If you live up north, you may have to wait until spring, and it’s not a sure thing that the tree will last that long. Another option is to get a live tree right after Thanksgiving, and instead of bringing it inside, plant it directly in your yard and decorate it outside. Either way, it’s a fun project that kids can get involved in and learn a lot from.

Take a Holiday Lights Walk

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, you probably live close to some amazing holiday light displays. Bundling up and going on a nighttime tour of your neighborhood’s Christmas lights can be a lot of fun (especially if you have some travel mugs of hot chocolate to take along with you).

Oohing and ahhing over all the twinkling lights can become a tradition that kids really love. Take special care to make sure everybody is dressed warmly, especially the youngest members of the family. If you have kids who are too little to walk long distances on their own, you can always pack them up in a wagon like the TBG Veer Cruiser and take them along for a ride.

Go for a Sleigh Ride

Chances are there’s someplace within driving distance that offers genuine horse-drawn sleigh rides. A lot of Christmas tree farms and stables offer wagon and/or sleigh rides during the holidays, and there’s something truly timeless and magical about—I’m just going to say it—dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh.

If you live in the city, or in a region where there isn’t snow this time of year, you might still have some options. A lot of cities offer horse-drawn carriage rides at nighttime during the winter months, which offer the jingle-jangle and clippity-clop of a sleigh ride, along with a chance to take in all the sparkly holiday lights at the same time. Not a bad compromise!

Have a Christmas Campfire

A roaring bonfire is not just for summertime. Quite the contrary, in fact. There may be no better time to enjoy a warm, crackling blaze than on a chilly winter’s evening. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the season around the glow of a fire, telling Christmas stories and looking up at the stars.

Add in some s’mores, hot chocolate, and a warm blanket or two, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a memorable Yuletide evening. And for all you dads and moms who want to impart some important outdoor skills to your youngsters, this is also a perfect opportunity to teach them how to gather wood and kindling and start a fire.

Make a Holiday Bird Feeder

Your local wildlife needs sustenance in the winter more than any other season, and feeding the birds this time of year can be a great experience for kids. As always, putting out a simple bird feeder with some bird seed is a great option, and suet cakes seem to always be a big hit among the local chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.

Or, you can take it to the next level by making your own DIY bird feeder. Check out this simple recipe for Cookie Cutter Birdseed Ornaments, which can be made at home with a few basic ingredients and cookie cutters in your preferred shape. Making and hanging the ornaments outside where birds can find them is a fun, engaging activity for kids and grown-ups alike.

Go Ice Skating

Whether you’re just teaching your kids to skate or they’re seasoned pros, there’s no better time than the holidays to go skating. It’s a fun physical activity that the whole family can enjoy, especially on a winter evening with all the Christmas lights and decorations strung up on trees and lampposts. In all likelihood there’s a good spot to hit the ice near you.

If you live somewhere where lakes and ponds offer safe ice this time of year, so much the better! For most of us, a safer option is one of the outdoor ice rinks that many municipalities set up in public parks and squares this time of year. In some areas, your only options might be indoors, but it’s still a great way to spend family time this season.

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