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 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.
This winter, we're going to need all the help we can get to entertain the kids outdoors. Everyone's feeling a little more cooped up than usual and rallying the troops to play outside is non-negotiable. So 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.
Make tromping around in the snow a true adventure! These snowshoes are ideal for kids ages 4-8 and are blessedly easier to put on than cramming their feet into ski boots.
Getting outside in the winter doesn't mean you have to take up expensive sports. These multi-terrain ski boards can be used sitting, standing or kneeling and are a relatively affordable way to let them flex their daredevil moves at the sledding hill.
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.
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. Reviewers note that it might be too fragile for the littlest machinery enthusiasts, but it's a great fit for kiddos eight and up.
This one has high ratings and might be a better option for the younger set.
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.
It seems everyone is looking to put the kids to work this year—finding in-stock shovels for the wee ones proved to be a real scavenger hunt. These are currently still available, however, so scoop one up quick! (See what we did there?)
Maybe hurling themselves down a hill isn't really their thing. (Same, kiddo. Same. ) NBD. This bad boy lets them scoot around even on flat, snowy surfaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rolling up snow into sufficiently snowman sized balls isn't always a walk in the park. This brilliant mold allows you to simply shovel snow inside, smooth it out, and unzip the perfect specimen. It also comes with some very Mr. Potatohead-esque decorations for endless creative expression.
Freestyling more your thing? This sturdy wooden snowman kit will see plenty of winter fun year after year.
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.)
Less messy than bathtub crayons (seriously, whose idea were those?) and more fun than your standard markers and paper, this snow coloring kit makes the winter world their canvas. (But maybe skip the yellow unless you're going for a look that says "two dozen dogs live here.")
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