Badges, Activities, & Beyond, General

10 Outdoor Activities to Beat the Winter Blues

Whether you are an outdoor adventurer or more of an indoor enthusiast, there are lots of fun, interesting ideas to push away the pesky winter blues. We went to the experts, our Outdoor Trainers and Outdoor Program staff, to ask them about their favorite winter activities.

Hike through a winter wonderland

Okay, so we live in Ohio and the whole “winter wonderland” thing can be more of a gray soggy mess, but our Outdoor Program Manager, Tori Houck, promises that snow or not, it will be loads of fun! If there is snow, look for parks with well-marked trails and waterfalls, streams and lakes or ponds for a full winter wonderland experience. Tori also suggests layering up and to trade your cotton items in for wool. And bring your binoculars! It may be cold, but there is still plenty of bird watching to do! For more advice on staying safe on your winter hike, check out these tips from REI.

Snow, the perfect winter building  material

We love classics like a snow fort or snowman, but maybe you’re thinking something a little less conventional! We love this example of a snow kayak from Outdoor Program Team Leader Vicki Proctor.

Hit the slopes!

Even if there’s no snow in your yard, you’ll find plenty at the area skiing hot spots. Mad River Mountain and Perfect North offer discount Girl Scout Family Days (check their websites for more information). Not so steady on the skis or snowboard? Many ski resorts have tubing hills for those of us that know we’ll end up on our back on the hill anyway, so why not start there comfortably rather than chasing your skis up and down the hill?

Get your green thumb ready

Outdoor Trainer Laura Diltz suggests adding a little spring to our homes this winter with bulb forcing! Trick those springtime blooms into thinking it’s their time to shine and that it’s not actually February. For those of us who are perhaps not so savvy with our botany and struggle to keep our aloe alive, here’s a resource she recommends to learn more about bulb forcing.

Ice skating, a wintertime classic

Nothing beats spending an afternoon gliding around an outdoor rink with friends and sipping hot cocoa! Even if you don’t have an outdoor rink around, it’s pretty wintery in indoor rinks, too, so we’ll allow it.


Outdoor Trainer Melissa Schindler and her troop enjoy ringing in the holidays at Winterfest, King’s Island’s annual winter extravaganza. It’s no longer open this season, but Melissa recommends adding it to your troop calendar for next winter!

Head to camp!

Outdoor Trainer Elizabeth Johnson took her troop to Camp Butterworth to enjoy a weekend at camp where they were able to take a note from Tori’s book and went for hike! Then enjoyed warming up by the fire… that they built themselves, of course! (Don’t forget the s’mores!)

Freeze alert!

Unlike waiting for water to boil, watching it freeze is absolutely fascinating! Admit it, we all love to throw hot water into subzero temperatures to watch it turn into snow. We know what’s going to happen, but it’s amazing every time! Have you tried frozen bubbles?  

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow

Speaking of fun science experiments, we highly recommend a wintry take on the baking soda volcano, a snow volcano! First, build the snow mound, push a cup into the center (shallower will allow for more lava drama) add some baking soda, a few drops of food coloring for effect, and finally the vinegar!

Grab your friends, grab your sled, and head to the hill!

Rounding out our list is another winter classic! There’s nothing like packing on the layers, gathering your best pals, and trudging up the hill for that short but exhilarating downhill ride on a flimsy piece of plastic that you hope holds up for at least a few good runs!

As you can see, there’s no need to hibernate—there’s tons of fun things to do outside, and we’ve only given you a few! Share your favorite wintry fun outdoor activity with us to inspire more outdoor exploration!

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