Snowshoeing is an active way to get the whole family outdoors for a hike through the snow, enjoying family time while also getting in some exercise. For kids who have never experienced snowshoes before, it can be awkward to get used to walking around in them. Kid-friendly snowshoe activities help get the kids acclimated to wearing snowshoes before heading out on a hike.
Snowshoe Classic Games
Play snow-friendly versions of classic outdoor children's games with the snowshoes on, helping the kids get comfortable with them. Play games like "Red Light, Green Light," where the kids run toward the caller on green and freeze on red; "Simon Says," where the kids must do whatever the caller is doing only when the direction starts with "Simon Says"; and "Red Rover," where kids are called over by a category, like hair color, and must run to safety without being caught by the caller.
Divide the kids into even teams for some friendly snowshoe competitions. Play a variety of relay races, where the kids have to race to a cone, race back and tag their teammate, who goes next, until everyone has gone. The first team to get all their runners to the cone and back first wins. Emphasize u-turning around the cones to reinforce that you can't walk backwards on snowshoes, but must make u-turns. Add difficulty to the relays by adding obstacles, such as hopping over a plastic hoop, or having to make u-turns around several cones.
Play a variety of charade-type games where the kids have to draw something out using only their snowshoes. Give them simple-to-draw shapes, such as a box, a heart and the sun. The first child to guess what the picture is gets to draw next with her snowshoes. You could also play a spelling version of this game by giving the kids simple words to spell out using their snow shoes. Have two kids face off and see who can spell out a word correctly first for the win.
Snowshoe Hike Activities
Take your kids on a short snowshoe hike and incorporate activities that will keep them engaged in the experience. Beforehand, give them a scavenger hunt list of nature items to look for along the way, such as pine cones and a fallen tree branch. You could also pack binoculars and cameras to try to capture wildlife, such as birds, deer or rabbits. Another idea is to play "I Spy," where you spot something along the way and give clues to try to get the kids to figure out what you are referring to.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.