10 Fun and Free Winter Activities for Kids to Get Active

As the longer nights draw in and the temperatures drop, it’s easy for physical activity to fall to the bottom of the priority list. However, movement, sport and play are important all year round and offer additional benefits during the chillier months when it’s often easier to choose a boxset over a brisk walk.

The research shows that unfortunately our children are becoming more sedentary over time and that this is worse during the colder months. In fact, researchers from the University of Cambridge say that children should be given more support to enable them to be more active during the winter, particularly at weekends. 

The good news is, we’re here to help. In this blog post, we're sharing 10 free and fun activities that kids of all ages can enjoy while helping them to get at least 60 minutes of daily activity. The best bit is, for some of them, they will be too busy having fun to realise they’re being active. 

You know your kids best, and if they like a bit of competition or you’re looking for a way for them to use up their extra energy while they wait for Santa to visit, then you can check out a few ideas here. 

Before we start though, being active in the winter months can be challenging, so ensure that your kids are kitted out with warm clothing and outdoor gear like hats, scarves and gloves and make sure to check the weather forecast and temperatures ahead of time so you can plan the right activity for any weather.  

One quick note from us, it’s important to remember that all movement is great and offers positive benefits and also that reducing sedentary time is key to both physical and mental health. But please do remember that our daily 60 active minutes should be of vigorous activity that elevates the heart rate, think star jumps and your best dance moves. These are also great ways to keep warm on chilly winter days. 


1) Nature walks – while it’s chilly, there is something magical about the way the world looks in winter so take some time to get the little ones outside to explore the snow, collect leaves and take in the views. 


2) Yoga or stretching – when it’s too cold to be outside, a little gentle movement after a cosy morning can be enough to feel good and help to get those crucial daily 60 minutes of activity in. 


3) Snowball fights – when the great British weather allows, get kitted out in your winter gear and enjoy the snow. 


4) Dance – there’s nothing like putting on some upbeat music and having a dance – this is a great way to get their heartrates up and release endorphins at the same time! 


5) Playing with/walking the dogs – our furry friends need walking all year round so it’s the perfect way to get the kids active and tick one thing of the to-do list. 


6) Gardening – if you have a garden or some green space to enjoy, tending to it can be tiring work so get some help raking leaves and moving branches, and the best part if your garden will be ready to plant in during the spring. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some ideas to keep the young ones busy while you’re tackling the garden, try out these garden games instead. 


7) Go on a winter scavenger hunt – on your daily walk, ask the kids to keep an eye out for wildlife, berries and cool looking trees to give them something to do as you get your steps in. 


8) Football at the park – a classic for good reason, all you need is a ball, and you’ll have hours of fun outside keeping warm at the same time. 


9) Checking out Christmas decorations – with all the twinkling lights and festive decorations around, why not head out on a walk to enjoy them and share which ones are your favourites. 


10) Bike rides – this one is a little weather dependent but if the sun is shining then get the bikes out and explore your neighbourhood in record time. 



In our experience, one of the best ways to make exercise fun is to turn it into a game! With this in mind, why not create your own game this winter? Maybe get everyone in your family to take one of the 12 days of Christmas lyrics and add in a physical activity that the rest of you have to do. 


Here’s an example, ‘On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight giant burpees (GO!)’ and everyone gets involved and gives them a go. 


It’s so important that children and young people get at least 60 minutes of daily activity according to the Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines for their health and wellbeing, especially during winter where SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can make times extra challenging.  

However, it’s easier said than done to bundle the kids up in coats, hats and gloves before heading outside this this festive season so here are some ideas of indoor activities for when the great Bristish weather isn’t playing along. 

We understand that it can be hard to prioritise this during busy days, but we hope that these activities help to get you and your little ones moving this winter. If the idea of cosying up inside works for you and your family better, why not give these active board games a go 

Have a great break!  


Published on 19 December 2023