As a person who grew up in the northeast and has lived in Vermont for nearly twenty years, I really should have developed more of a love for winter by now. I’ll keep trying, but make no promises. What I have developed, through raising two second-generation Vermonters, is a “make it fun” attitude.

I know full well the struggle of wrestling a wet noodle-like toddler into snow boots and gear for half an hour, only to have them red-faced and crying within seventeen seconds of being outside. But I also know the joy of a well-earned mug of hot chocolate that comes after a family sledding mission, having exerted enough effort to count as cardio.

And it’s not just sleds that make winter fun. There’s a whole host of snow toys to keep kids (and adults) entertained whether you’ve got a hill nearby or not. And since rallying the troops for some outdoor time is non-negotiable, suit up, channel your inner Scandinavian and resolve to make this the most fun winter yet.

Need help getting started? Get everyone excited for outdoor time this winter with these Vermonter-approved snow toys.

The best snow toys for kids and toddlers

Tubbs Snowshoes

Tubbs

$44.95

1. Snowball snowshoes

Make tromping around in the snow a true adventure! Tubbs makes a range of snowshoes for kids ages 3-10, all of which are blessedly easier to put on than cramming their feet into ski boots. Prices start at $44.95

GeoSpace Original LED Ski Skooter

GeoSpace

$64.99

2. Original LED Ski Skooter

Getting outside in the winter doesn’t mean you have to take up expensive sports. These multi-terrain Ski Skooter can be on hills or even flat, compact snow and are a relatively affordable way to let them flex their daredevil moves at the sledding hill. They even come with LED lights and a handle that folds flat for easy transport.

Monster Jam all-terrain remote control monster truck

Monster Jam

$59.99

3. All-Terrain Remote Control Monster Truck

No need to be cooped up inside getting bashed in the ankle by their beloved remote control cars and trucks! Take the fun outside (where at least you’ll be wearing boots when they inevitably run you over) with this all-terrain monster truck. It conquers snow, dirt, rocks and whatever else they can find to keep the fun going year-round.

fisca RC Truck Remote Control Snow Plow

Fisca

$59.95

4. Remote Controlled Snowplow

Playtime but make it chore-like. This real working remote controlled snowplow is the kind of toy your kid is going to have to wrestle away from the child-like adults in their life because it’s just that cool. The plow and cab are metal, ensuring it can do some lifting, but it works best with the light powdery stuff. (Same, remote controlled snow plow. Same.)

5-in-1 snowball maker

Slippery Racer

$9.95

5. 5-in-1 Snowball Maker

Why make just one snowball when you can make five? Get a stockpile going so they can go full Buddy the Elf when challenged to a duel.

Matty's Toy Stop Heavy Duty Kids Shovels

Matty's Toy Stop

$7.99

6. Kids snow shovel

Studies show that doing chores as a kid can contribute to being more successful professionally as an adult–and who are we to argue? Share the wealth of shoveling by putting a kid-sized shovel in their hands. This heavy duty duo from Matty’s Toy Stop is a top-rated favorite that can be used for more fun things (like fort building!) as well.

Professional snow castle maker

Create A Castle

$59.99

7. Professional Snow Castle Maker

Feeling nostalgic for last year’s Caribbean vacay? Well, layer up, swap that pina colada for a hot toddy and set to work with the kiddos building a winter sand castle. (So you’ll also be swapping the sand for snow, but at least snow doesn’t get wedged into every crevice, right?) This set is pretty pro, but a basic set of sand tools is fun too.

Snow fort building kit

Superio

$25.99

8. Snow Fort Building Kit

Because “build a snow fort” is likely on your winter bucket list, this set which includes two styles of bricks and a trowel, will make the job a whole lot easier.

Snowball maker set

Kocuous

$24.98

9. Snowball Maker Set

What’s the first rule of snowball fight club? NOT IN THE FACE. But I’d be lying if it said that the thought of getting beaned in the head by an adorable duck-shaped snowball didn’t give me a case of the giggles. Whether or not the fruits of their labor end up airborne, these fun snowball molds are pretty entertaining.

Albott ride on digger

Albott

$52.97

10. Ride On Digger

With all-terrain wheels and two handed control, this digger is a four season winner. It also holds up to 165 pounds, so it’s sure to last a good long while.

Flexible Flyer baby pull sled

Flexible Flyer

$45.99

11. Baby pull sled

You really haven’t earned your winter parenting wings until you regrettably dump your perfect, precious, and innocent baby off a sled and into a snow bank. It is sad but true. And I’m here to tell you, it’s going to be OK. Unless you adopt the story as part of the family lore, they’ll never even remember. OR, you could just invest in this one and reduce the chances. The wide base and high back keep it from tipping while the safety belt adds a bit of security.

L.L. Bean Snowman Family Kit

L.L. Bean

$44.95

12. Snowman Family Kit

Family snowperson making contest anyone? This sturdy wooden snowman kit includes a whole collection of eyes, noses, buttons and even antlers to create a village of Frosty’s. And since they’re all made from solid wood and come packed in their own canvas bag, they’re guaranteed to see plenty of winter fun year after year.

L.L. Bean sonic snow tube

L.L. Bean

$159

13. Sonic snow tube

As a near 20-year Vermont resident raising two second-generation Vermont children, trust me on this one. Accept no substitutes when it comes to investing in a snow tube. L.L. Bean has this game on lock. Originally designed for use at commercial tubing parks, they feature a semirigid polyethylene base which not only makes their slide unparalleled but also helps them stand up to some pretty heavy-duty use. I’m also a big fan of their tow strap which is easy enough to hold onto even with mittens and cuts down on the chance they’ll lose their grip when dragging it back up the hill (crisis averted.)

Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer

Flexible Flyer

$51.99

14. Snow Screamer

Classic wooden and plastic sleds are great, but you can’t beat the speed or convenience of foam. The Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer can send two people careening down the hill at once and carrying it back up is a breeze.

Zipfy Mini Luge Sled

Zipfy

$44.95

15. Mini Luge Sled

Compact and designed to carve, the Zipfy Mini Luge Sled is small but mighty. The low center of gravity lets you lean into turns and the durable construction makes it a great option for both kids and adults.

Steve Spangler Science Color Fizzers

Steve Spangler Science

$8.29

16. Color Fizzers

Less messy than bathtub crayons (seriously, whose idea were those?) and more fun than your standard markers and paper, these color fizzing tablets make the winter world their canvas. Just pop them into some spray bottles with a bit of water and let them go wild. (But maybe skip the yellow unless you’re going for a look that says “two dozen dogs live here.”)

A version of this article was originally published on December 22, 2020. It has been updated.