Bigger Kids

10 no-snow winter activities

Despite common belief, parts of Canada don't get a lot of snow! Here are some winter activities to keep the kids busy even if the ground isn't covered in the white stuff.

By Diana Ballon
10 no-snow winter activities

No snow? No problem!

You don’t need snow to have fun with your kids. So you can’t ski, dog sled, snowshoe or make snowmen, snowwomen or snow angels. But with a little imagination, you can keep the family busy, both indoors and out, this winter.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Knape/iStockphoto


Forget skating on a lake. You can skate for free on a plethora of artificial indoor and outdoor rinks. Check websites first to find out times for family skating (versus hockey), and whether they have skate rentals, music, hot chocolate, a fire pit or lighting for nighttime skating.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Media Photos/iStockphoto


Bingo hiking

Create your own bingo cards before you head out to the park or the woods with the kids. Get them to draw pictures in each square of things you may find on your walk: an acorn, a pine cone, a common bird and a rare one, adjusting the level of difficulty to the age of your child.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Anirav/iStockphoto


Picnics are usually associated with the summer, but they don’t have to be. On a really cold day, you can spread out a blanket in the living room, and gather the kids, their friends and teddy bears for a picnic. Or bundle up and go to a nearby park and have your picnic there.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Maria Pavlova/iStockphoto

Board game party

Host a board game party with your kids’ friends. Make it BYOG (Bring Your Own Game), so you  have a variety of games and ones appropriate to the kids’ age levels. Kids can rotate through the games or pick their favourites. If you have a fireplace, roast marshmallows at break time.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Diane555/iStockphoto



Bowling is a great way for the kids to let off steam, and it’s an intergenerational activity. No doubt grandma and grandpa can throw a bowling ball at least as well as your four year old. Many lanes have black-light bowling, with glowing effects and disco lights, some evenings and even weekends—call ahead.  

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Lemonadelucy/iStockphoto

Rock climbing

Indoor rock climbing is another great way to get exercise, without your needing to be dependent on weather conditions. Gyms vary in terms of equipment, cost for lessons and crowds—so read website reviews before choosing which to visit.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Parker Deen/iStockphoto

Go swimming

Whether checking out your local community centre, escaping to a family resort on the weekend or splurging on a hotel swim (some do allow non-guests for a fee) – you’re sure to have fun.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Nauman/iStockphoto



Arrange a “movie night in Canada,” as we bill it in our home. The kids make their own movie and popcorn tickets, which their neighbourhood friends must redeem at the door. I make up buttered popcorn and caramel corn, which I put in those retro red and white cartons you can find at the dollar store.  

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Mikkel William/iStockphoto

Go for a walk at night

Will darkness falling at 5 PM, and homeowners, apartment dwellers and stores having gone all out to decorate for the holidays, you can take an easy stroll in your own neighbourhood, jump on a city bus and grab window seats or take a drive in the car to enjoy the sparkly lights.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Maria Babova/iStockphoto

Chalk drawing

With no snow on the ground, chalk still works on pavement! Just keep little hands in warm mitts, have something for a knee pad (towel, blankie, newspaper) and limit the time spent at a stretch.

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: EduardSV/iStockphoto


More winter activities!

10 no-snow winter activitiesPhoto: Mari/iStockphoto

Read more: 9 fun and stress-free snow day activities 7 awesome apps for snow days

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