Don’t let yourself go stir crazy being stuck inside with your baby this winter! Whether you plan to stay close to home or are planning a winter trip with a baby, you can rest easy knowing there are plenty of fun outdoor things to do with a baby in winter.
Outdoor winter activities for babies aren’t all that different than what you may have done before having a baby. While your winter outings may be shorter or at a slower pace, you can still do many of your favorite fun winter activities with a baby.
What’s better is that these winter activities are all great ways for new parents to stay active in the winter with a baby!
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While we specifically talk about outdoor winter activities for babies, these can all be adapted to be winter activities for toddlers too! These are also fun things to do with a baby or toddler when traveling to winter destinations on a family vacation.
Outdoor Winter Activities with a Baby or Toddler
5 Tips on Planning Winter Outdoor Activities for Babies
1. Get Proper Winter Gear for Baby
Having the proper winter baby gear is essential to keep your infant warm and happy while you enjoy your time in a winter wonderland.
Always keep in mind that for many of these outdoor winter activities, your baby will not be moving and won’t be generating any body heat. Check on your baby’s temperature frequently during your family winter activities.
2. Plan for Outdoor Feedings and Diaper Changes
Just like traveling with a baby, these winter activities with baby will require some preplanning. Before taking an infant out in cold weather, you’ll want to have a plan.
Know where you are planning on going and how long it will take to get there. Feeding your baby and diaper changes will be your biggest considerations.
On mild winter days, you can feed your baby anywhere. Doing diaper changes outside in the winter will not make for a happy baby, so pack all your diaper essentials and get it done quickly.
Don’t forget a change of clothes (or two) for your baby. Blowouts always happen when you aren’t expecting them or aren’t prepared.
3. Plan Naps Before, During or After Your Winter Activities
When planning your winter activities for your baby, you’ll also have to factor in any naps you hope to get your baby home in time for, especially when having to drive to get to your family outing. Your baby’s nap schedule may leave less time to be out enjoying the snow with your baby, but that’s ok – simply spending fun time outdoors with your baby is the goal at this age. With any luck your baby will have a wonderful nap during your winter activity.
4. Check Weather Forecasts
Always check the weather forecast and prepare for any potential changes. Winter storms can happen quickly and without warning, so ensure you bring several layers of clothing for yourself and your little kids.
5. Have the Right Expectations
Finally, keep your expectations low and stay closer to home for your first few outdoor winter activities with your baby. Even if one day is a complete disaster, don’t give up as every outing will be a learning opportunity. Some days will be wonderful, some will be less so, but keep at it and you’ll be loving these winter activities for babies all season long.
Recommended Reading: Tips for Holiday Travel with a Baby or Toddler
5 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities with a Baby
1. Walking with Baby in Winter
Walking with a baby in the winter will be the easiest thing to do with your baby in the winter. If it’s your first winter with your baby and you’re dressing your baby for family winter walks for the first time, it’s best to start with a family walk close to home. This will allow you to quickly get back to the warmth of your house if your baby starts to feel cold.
Winter walks with baby don’t have to be anything epic to start. Getting outside with your baby is the main goal, as fresh air and sunshine will do you both a world of good.
You have two options when taking baby for a walk in cold weather: you can use a stroller or a baby carrier.
Using a Stroller in Winter
A stroller with large wheels or with attached skis (like these) will get your stroller through deep snow when taking your baby for a walk in winter. A stroller weather shield to block any wind, rain or snow is must-have winter gear for babies. A weather shield will go a long way to keep your baby warm in the stroller outside in the winter.
Using a Baby Carrier in Winter
If you choose to use a baby carrier for walking with a baby in winter, you have three options for keeping your baby warm. You can get your baby a warm snowsuit, use a baby wearing winter jacket or get a jacket extender.
You wear your baby carrier front-facing when walking with a baby in the winter if the temperature is mild and there’s little wind.
Using a baby wearing jacket or using a jacket extender, your baby is more likely to be snuggled up to your chest for the walk. Both of these ways work to keep your baby warm when walking in the winter and also will help to protect your baby’s delicate skin.
Personally, we like the jacket extender for the baby carrier because it is a low cost option. Not only will it allow you to wear your own winter jacket, but if you are traveling with your baby in the winter it’s small to pack. A jacket extender also gives you the flexibility to switch off babywearing with your spouse.
As you might imagine, you don’t want to slip and fall while winter walking with your baby. If you are winter walking with your baby on city streets or parks, these Yaktrax traction devices are great for slippery sidewalks or pathways in the winter.
2. Hiking with Baby in Winter
As you become more comfortable being out in winter weather with your baby, you can start heading further afield. Winter hiking with a baby is similar to winter walks with a baby, except you need to factor in the extra time to get to the trailhead. You also need to do all feeding or diaper changes in the car or on the go.
Hiking in winter with a baby is a great option before the snow and ice make the trails a little more tricky. Be prepared with a set of microspikes (such as Kahtoola microspikes) in case you do run into some slippery hiking trails.
For winter hiking with a baby, you can either carry baby in a baby carrier or a hiking backpack carrier. For winter hikes with a baby on colder days, carrying baby in your jacket will work best to keep your baby toasty warm.
A hiking backpack carrier for winter hiking with baby is great option for milder days. It will be much harder to offer your baby’s face adequate protection from wind and cold in a backpack carrier.
Get more information on hiking with a baby, see our baby hiking resources and the best baby carriers for hiking with a baby.
3. Snowshoeing with Baby
It might be time to switch from winter hiking to snowshoeing with baby when the snow starts to fly. There are three options for taking your baby out snowshoeing based on the trail and the weather.
On really cold days your best options to keep your baby warm is either a bike trailer with a ski attachment (we used a Thule Chariot and ski attachment) or a baby carrier inside your jacket. Given its width, the bike trailer may limit your options for trails, especially if you are hauling a double chariot.
If it’s a warm winter day and your baby is at a suitable age, a hiking backpack carrier is also a good option for snowshoeing with a baby.
Using a hiking backpack carrier for snowshoeing, you will have plenty of options for trails and you don’t have to worry about getting too sweaty with a baby inside your jacket. The best hiking backpack carriers also have plenty of room to carry all your essential winter baby gear.
4. Cross-Country Skiing with Baby
If you are an avid cross-country skier, you’ll love to know it’s fun to go cross country skiing with your baby. Using a ski pulk for baby or a bike trailer with the ski attachment will be the best way to go cross country skiing with a baby. Again, be sure to check on your infant frequently to make sure your child is warm and comfortable.
Also, expect it to be significantly harder to cross-country ski while pulling your baby. Start with shorter outings without steep inclines until you have a good handle and control over the pulk or chariot with ski attachment.
With any luck the rhythmic motion of cross-country skiing will get your baby to sleep while you enjoy your workout!
5. Ice Skating with a Baby
Ice skating is a wonderful winter activity and it is pretty easy to do with a baby. Find an outdoor skating rink and enjoy gliding across the ice as a family. Your options for taking your baby skating can be either using a small baby sled with a weather shield or ice skating with a baby stroller. If you go skating with your baby in a stroller, bring a weather shield to ensure your little one doesn’t get too cold.
How to Dress Your Baby for Winter
We have an entire post dedicated to dressing your baby for winter. What’s most important when taking baby out in cold weather is keeping your baby warm and protecting your baby’s skin from the elements.
Your baby won’t be moving, so you should add an extra layer or two on your baby (compared to what you will be wearing).
We also recommend being prepared with a backup when taking baby outside in winter. For example, bring your jacket extender even if you are planning on using your hiking backpack carrier for your winter hike with a baby. You can’t always predict when the winds will start to blow and make it unsafe for your baby’s unprotected skin.
Here is a list of our must-have winter baby gear:
- Jacket extender for baby carrier
Either a jacket extender or baby wearing jacket is a great way to keep your baby warm and protected on a cold day in winter.
- Winter baby clothes
Start by dressing your baby in layers beginning with a base layer then a fleece bunting. Then you can add a snowsuit or a warm stroller sleeping bag depending if you’ll be carrying your baby or using a stroller.
Don’t forget a warm winter hat and baby mitts to help keep little hands warm (we love these Stonz baby mitts).
- Stroller weather shield
A weather shield for your stroller is the best protection from wind, rain and snow for your baby.
- Baby carrier for winter
A baby carrier will get plenty of use year round, but you’ll especially enjoy one in the winter with a baby.
- Hiking backpack carrier
A hiking backpack carrier is a great way to carry your baby or toddler on a winter hike on a mild winter day.
- Stroller for snow
There’s a good chance you’ll be pushing your stroller through snow or on ice. Getting the best stroller for winter will be one with good wheels that will make it easier.
- Bike trailer with ski attachment
A Thule Chariot with a ski attachment, though expensive, is almost essential baby gear for an active family. Your Thule Chariot will get so much year round use from biking in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter. You’ll be glad to have it when the snow flies.
- Winter sled for baby
For short walks or skating, a winter sled for babies is well worth having.
- Diaper Changing
To prevent your baby from getting too cold during diaper changes, carry everything you need to make them quick. We like a portable change mat that can also carry the diaper changing essentials.
Pack extra warm blankets. They can be used to help cover your baby while feeding, during diaper changes and even to help your little one stay warm on a cold day in the carrier.
- Stroller mitts
For parents, make sure you are staying warm outside too with stroller mitts!
Traction devices are essential to any winter walks or winter hikes with a baby that might involve icy conditions. The last thing you want to do is fall while carrying your baby. Yaktrax are a good option for winter walking in the city, while we love Kahtoola microspikes for winter hiking with a baby.
More Questions on Outdoor Winter Activities with a Baby
Aside from your usual indoor activities, there are many outdoor activities you can do with your baby in the winter:
– Winter walks
– Winter hikes
– Cross-country skiing
– Ice skating
Absolutely! Once you’ve got a handle on dressing your baby for winter and cold weather, you’ll both appreciate the fresh air and sunshine. Make sure to check on your baby frequently to ensure your baby is still warm and don’t be afraid to cut your outing short if your baby is uncomfortable.
The best way to keep your baby warm outside in the winter is by using a baby carrier with your baby in your jacket. You can invest in a baby wearing jacket or a jacket extender for using a baby carrier.
For dressing your baby in winter, plan to adjust what your baby is wearing depending on if your baby is in a stroller or in a baby carrier.
For a stroller, you’ll want to dress your baby in layers staring with a base layer, a warm mid-layer then a snowsuit or stroller bag. A weather shield for your stroller will keep the cold wind off your baby.
Finally, keep your baby’s delicate skin from being exposed in cold weather and check on your baby frequently.
Snowshoeing with a baby is a very fun winter activity. Consider baby wearing or using a chariot with a ski attachment for snowshoeing with a baby.
Getting your baby a snowsuit is a great way to keep your baby warm on winter walks or on winter hikes. Use a snowsuit when baby wearing your baby outside your jacket or when using a hiking backpack carrier. It will also help to keep your baby dry and warm for crawling around in the snow.
Many baby snowsuits will come with fold over cuffs to keep your baby’s feet warm in the winter. Another option is to use a baby bootie for winter, like the Stonz Bootz with liners.
Keep your baby toasty warm in the stroller with layers, a stroller bunting bag and a weather shield. Adjust the amount of layers you use based on the current weather conditions.
For extremely cold days, start with a merino wool base layer, followed by a warm layer of baby clothes. From there you can use a fleece bunting and a stroller bunting bag or a snowsuit.
The best protection from the elements will be a weather shield for the stroller, this will keep wind, rain and snow off your baby.
Shop all of the products mentioned here directly on Amazon in our convenient Winter Baby Essentials shopping list.