Bundle up and head outside (or stay toasty inside)—either way, everyone in the family will love these snow day ideas.

By Devon Corneal
Updated January 26, 2015
Credit: Caiaimage/Lee Edwards/Getty Images

Take advantage of the snow that has piled up in your backyard. If you’re over snowmen and are tired of getting snow down your pants making snow angels, here are some alternative ideas for winter fun after a snowstorm or snowfall.

Play Snow Games

Snow isn’t just for snowball fights, although those are pretty fabulous for bringing out your inner child. Tic-Tac-Toe is more fun when you play it outside with rocks, twigs or pinecones for markers. Play checkers on a frozen board with ice cubes (use red and blue food coloring to tint the water beforehand), or play a winter version of ring toss with snowballs.

Go for a Different Kind of Walk

It’s tempting to stay curled up on the couch all day, but so long as the winds aren’t howling, lace up your boots, zip up your coat, and explore your neighborhood. City dwellers can discover which local shops and restaurants stay open no matter the weather and how different the park looks with a coating of white. In the suburbs, judge the snowmen on your street and see if you can differentiate between the rabbit and squirrel tracks in the yard. Once you’ve cleared your lungs and turned your cheeks pink, you deserve that time back on the couch.

Build an Igloo

If you’re a more adventurous type with a large yard, go crazy and build an igloo. This time around, you’re definitely going to have enough snow. Check out these tips on how to do it right from the author of, what else, How to Build an Igloo. Once you’re done, may we suggest enjoying the fruits of your labor with a cup of hot chocolate?

Take Pictures

Trying to memorialize a storm takes persistence and skill, so take this opportunity to practice. Use your phone to try to capture the perfect snowflake.

Make the Snow Your Canvas

Fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and go outside and paint your most abstract design on the snow. Write a love letter, a poem or a wish and watch it all disappear when the storm is over. It’s fleeting, but fun.

Have a Scavenger Hunt

If you need prodding to get outside, consider a winter scavenger hunt. Make a list of things you only see during a snowstorm, or things that are easily hidden under piles of snow if you’re a little cruel. Find a pink scarf, a green snow shovel, the fire hydrant markers, blue salt, or a snowman with a real carrot for a nose. First one back to the house wins.

Create a Giant Snow Sculpture

Think beyond the snowmen. Create a gigantic, unforgettable sculpture, instead.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

That recipe you’ve been putting off because it takes too long, or seems too complicated? Today’s the day. Provided you have the ingredients on hand, tackle something outside your comfort zone. Try making croissants from scratch or your grandmother’s three-layer cake. You don’t have anywhere else to be, so no excuses.

Feed the Birds

Once you’re full, help out the few brave, feathered friends who didn’t make it south for the winter. Fill hollowed-out oranges or coat pinecones with a mixture of peanut butter and seeds and put them where birds can easily find them. If it’s near a window, even better—you’ve done a good deed and you can spend the afternoon bird watching.

Head Outside for Sledding and Inside for Soup

It wouldn’t be a snowstorm without sledding. Grab your toboggans and hit your favorite hill. After a couple of hours hurtling down the slope, you’ll be ready to head back home and invite the neighbors over for soup and hot cocoa (with or without Kahlua). If you have kids, park them in front of their favorite movies while the adults play Cards Against Humanity in the next room. Delicious and simple soup recipes will feed an army and keep everyone warm. Include a signature cocktail (try our hot drink ideas here), if you want to keep toasty in a different way.

Whether you stay inside or brave the cold, remember to have fun and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.