It can be tough to get everyone outside in the winter, what with the windchill factor, freezing rain, and infinite amount of layers required...but it's so worth it! I've gathered a handful of sweet and low-stress outdoor activities that might be perfect for this winter, and many winters to come.
Sparklers In The Snow What better way to welcome the new year than with ultra-festive sparklers? You could wave them around, dance with them, or (my favorite) stick them in the snow where their insanely hot temperatures can't gitcha. (Common sense precautions apply!)
Snow Ice Cream The snow ice cream we made last year was such a hit, the 7-year old has requested it once in early September (when we were deciding what flavor ice cream to make in our ice cream ball) and again last week when the very first flakes of the season fell. Apartment Therapy has a recipe, but snow ice cream encourages almost endless variety.
Launch Sky Lanterns I first learned about sky lanterns thanks to Jordan of Oh Happy Day. Back in 2009 she launched some with friends and family in snowy Utah. In 2010, she launched them from a beach in Mexico, which looks just as dreamy as it sounds. (The usual precautions regarding launching fire into the sky apply, of course!)
Solstice Hike We've done this for a couple years now, and I'm thrilled to see that this year's winter solstice falls on a weekend. An adults-only hike can be a welcome and rigorous workout, but taking the little ones is a perfect chance to discuss the beautifully complex motion of the solar system, the longest and shortest days of the year, and the flow of the seasons... and to play tick-tack-toe in the snow. Don't feel bad if you don't live near the wilderness: the 2012 solstice was terribly cold, so we just took a jumping-running tromp around the neighborhood.
Gather Gift Wrap Gathering natural elements to adorn presents seems like a mission the kids I know would excel at. They can scurry around the yard or park, hunting for pine cones, acorns, evergreen twigs, and any other pretty, natural elements that can be tied on a package. (Common sense don't-let-kids-eat-mysterious-berries precautions apply!)
(Image credits: Flickr user timy_w2s; Flickr user katiekills under CC BY 2.0; Oh Happy Day; Flickr user billmiky under CC BY 2.0; Channel 4 via Apartment Therapy)