Winter Walking Games for Kids

Some silly ideas to get you and your family off the couch this winter.

This Sunday my husband surprised our two girls and me with a New Year's Sunday brunch. I love brunch – it’s my favorite meal of all time. How can you go wrong with French toast made with brioche bread, flounder roll ups with lobster stuffing, pork tenderloin, made-to-order omelets, an array of pastries and a mimosa? Brunch trumps all other meals. I had a small breakfast first, then ran six miles, then we hurried off to church so by the time noon rolled around I was hungry and ready to eat and eat I did. So much so that I decided I needed a walk outside when we got home! I didn’t even go inside but took my two girls on a winter wonderland walk around the neighborhood.

It’s something I don’t usually do, not being a huge fan of the winter. But it was sunny, 40 degrees and I thought we could use some fresh air after being inside so much this past week with sub-20 temperatures. What started out as a short stroll around our u-shaped street turned into an hour-long ramble around our neighborhood full of fun, made up games as we went along and a lot of laughs. The next time Old Man Winter gives us a little break of tolerable temperatures and some sunshine, take advantage of it and soak up some vitamin D and make some memories with your children.

Here’s a smattering of our simple silly games.

Follow the leader to telephone poles. Each person gets a turn to lead the others in the craziest, exaggerated manner from one pole to the next. We hopped on one foot (my knees didn’t like that), walked backwards, side stepped and tried to recreate the hand-jive dance from the movie Grease.

The sound of silence. This is a good one that any mother will appreciate. Instruct your kids to stop, listen, and ask what’s that sound. For 30 seconds it’s a family time out with no one moving or crunching snow underfoot, or talking (this was a challenge for my 3 ½ year old dynamo). If your family is on the dramatic side, you can preface the time out by singing the Buffalo Springfield song,

It's time we stop, 
hey what's that sound 
everybody look what's goin' down

or the one by The Supremes

Stop in the name of love
Before you break my heart
Stop in the name of love
Before you break my heart
Think it over
Think it over

Before your kids think you’ve totally lost it by belting out a tune (or trying to hand-jive) in the middle of the street, ask your kids what sounds did they hear? We heard a beautiful light rustling of brown leftover fall leaves from a grouping of three trees when a light wind blew. It was beautifully special to me because you don’t really hear that in the winter since all the leaves should be off the trees (how these leaves survived Hurricane Sandy I do not know but they did). We heard a woodpecker pecking and the sound of water drip-dropping down a drainpipe along the side of a house. We heard a family of birds chirping along together. My 3 ½ year old loves anything to do with family, be it two squirrels looking for acorns, to a group of rocks to the fish in the lobby of the East Greenwich Library. If anything is together, she lovingly announces, "Look Mommy, they're family!"

Races. This was mostly to get them moving quicker so we could get home before someone either had a meltdown or needed to pee because I was not going to carry either of them home. We let my youngest win two of these mailbox-to-mailbox races after she cried when she came in last after the first race even though her older sister didn't think this was fair. Running in the bulky, pink, two-sizes-too-big snow boots she insisted on wearing today will definitely slow a person down and she found out the hard way.

March and sing. Each of us got to choose a song we all knew and lead the sing-a-long while marching like we were officially in the military. Yes, we sing a lot in our family.

With all of these silly short-lived games, each girl looked forward to their turn and relished being in charge of her sister and me of course. I relished the fresh air, exploring and appreciating a little bit of nature and making wintertime memories with my girls. Plus, I didn’t feel so full from our delicious brunch anymore!

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