Ten Winter Games You Can Easily Set Up in Your Backyard


Winter games can be just as fun and exhilarating as any other games. They work off the same rules with a bit of winter fun thrown in. A winter game would also work best if the weather is cold enough to produce snow. Snow makes the winter worth bearing, and using it as a part of the game has been done for generations.

Creating memories in the snow with your family will make you want to move outside the warm home and have a day roughing it in the elements. Like most games, there will be hurt feelings and faux injuries that could turn into a problem. Don’t let a few dark clouds ruin your day! Read on and learn ten winter games you can easily set up in your backyard.

Playing Snow Tag is a Timeless Classic

Tag in the snow is probably one of the oldest games on the list. If you have a large yard, you can add as many people as you want and make it a free-for-all with only one person being allowed to get on base.

The great thing about tag is that it can be customized to any area or number of players. The rules are flexible, and you should use that flexibility to fit whatever situation the winter day has provided. Consider the terrain and even time of day when playing to spice it up and keep kids playing for hours.

Some rules to consider when playing snow tag are:

  • One Safety – Only allow one of the people who are hiding to get on base. This creates a competition between the players that forces them to do whatever it takes to be the one who is safe.
  • Zombie Hunter – One of the best ways to supercharge a game of tag is to make it go viral. Not like that! The player who is chosen to chase down the others will ‘turn’ the people they catch into zombies, who in turn will begin to help them chase down the rest of the runners.

Snow tag is excellent for kids of all ages but should be played away from slick walkways and rows of overhanging icicles. The key to this game is making sure that everyone takes their turn as a seeker and is forced to chase down each player. The extra running should get the heart rate up and kick the winter blues.

Kool-Aid Soccer is a Fun Game for Kids of All Ages

This game will drive the kids crazy and be a fun and colorful way to spend the afternoon. There is no need for nets or even a proper soccer ball, but you will need a few packets of Kool-Aid to outline the playing field.

Take a few packets of Kool-Aid or any other drink mix and slowly sprinkle it into a rectangular spot in the backyard. If you want to take it the extra mile, you can color coordinate ends of the field with your team’s colors or even make designs in the snow.

Some ways to spice up Kool-Aid soccer are:

  • Colored Goals – Use different colors to cover the ground in what could be the goal area. That allows the ball to have a bit of the colored snow on it when it bounces or is kicked into the area.
  • Kicking Zones – Use a few extra sprinkles of powder to color zones where you get different points for kicking the ball into the goal. In contrast, make spots on the ground where you cannot shoot the ball. That evens the playing field for older and younger players while still maintaining the competitive edge.

Kool-Aid soccer is almost as fun to set up as it is to play. Instead of being stuck inside, kids can get out and run some excess energy away, sprinkling the dust onto the snow. They could take it too far and saturate entire parts of the yard and be sure that they don’t accidentally color the neighbor’s flowers in the process.

Playing Water Bottle Football is Great Winter Fun

Football is fun in the snow, no matter what. When you add some water and food coloring, you get a way to make the game much more appealing to people of all ages. Take spray bottles and mix water with food coloring or drink mix. Take the bottles and create the playing field, complete with team names and logos, before playing the game.

Once the game starts, you can create zones that trap individual players or allow them to do things they wouldn’t usually be able to do. A great rule is to have certain spots that players must run the ball and not pass. This creates a level of strategy that could make a difference in the game.

Some fun rules to add to water bottle football are:

  • Colored Zones – If there are a mix of older and younger kids making zones that allow the younger players to have special moves or an extra advantage is a great idea. The color can also be used to block off areas on the field just for passing or running.
  • Team Logos – While it isn’t necessary, having some logos or team names to spray onto the sidelines and the end zone is what makes this game fun. There’s a bit of pride and ownership in logos, and it gives them a bit of creative time to go with all the physical activity they are about to have.

Water bottle football is one of those games that can quickly turn into a pulse-pounding game of inches. Having the spray bottles as a distraction is an excellent way to defuse any problems that the children might have, and a few may even prefer the bottles to the game.

Capture the Snow Flag Works Best with a Large Group

Capture the flag is an excellent game that families can get together and all get into the action. Having any sized playing field is essential with capture because you can accommodate as many or as few players as you have.

Break the backyard into equal zones. The number will depend on how many people you have. Try and make evenly matched groups to keep the play competitive, or go nuts and have the adults take on the kids. Hide a bright piece of cloth in your snowy area, and the game is on! Search each team’s location for their material before they can find yours.

Ways to pick up the pace in snow capture the flag:

  • Sametime Searching – Have the groups search the areas at the same time. This will create a panic that will keep the players moving, and the excitement level high. Once they find the cloth, they should have to run to a nearby area declared as base to end the round.
  • Blow it Up – If you have a big yard and a big family, give yourselves tiny sections of the yard and force the searchers to be captives if the other team tags them. This game style is intense and can be more like war games than a day in the winter snow with your family.

Capture the snow flag will be a lot more draining on the younger kids than the summer version. The extra snow on the ground could be deep, and having to trudge in waist-deep snow will wear anyone out quickly.

Snowman Hat Trick is a Fun and Fast-Paced Family Game

Building a snowman is a relaxing and family-oriented winter activity that is great for any family. Some families like to take it to the next level, and if you are one of those families, this game could be for you. The only equipment you will need is snow and the pieces of a snowman, eyes of coal and all.

The point of the game is to see who can build and outfit their snowman the fastest. Also, you must play ring toss with the snowman’s hat to be declared the winner. So not only do you have to build the snowman fast and correctly, but you must back away and ring the cap on the head as well.

The items you will need for your snowman hat trick are:

  • Hat – The most critical piece of gear for this game is the hat. Try and pick two hats that are close to the same size to keep the competition close. If you want to be fancy, two top hats are going to look amazing.
  • Eyes & Nose – A snowman isn’t a snowman without eyes and a nose. Pick some items that will be uniform and not give an undue advantage to the team with the better buttons. Any extra things you can think of could be added as well.

The snowman hat trick is a fun game that can be played over and over again. Smashing the snowmen is often the most fun part for young boys. Make sure and remove any pieces that could be broken during the restart.

Follow the Leader is a Game of Balance and Strategy

There are tales of Native American children playing follow the leader in the snow dating back to the times of the first settlers in the United States. The purpose of the game is to follow the person precisely in their footsteps.

It takes time and strategy to put your feet into the holes of the previous player. Your balance must be on point as well, as the movements could force you to take awkward steps. Follow the leader is fun for kids of any age, but older players with bigger feet could have a hard time competing against small children.

A few ways to spice up your game of follow the leader are:

  • Head Start – Like in hide and seek, make the chaser count before they can begin to follow along in the snow steps behind the leader. This makes the game great for small groups and will be a problem for more than six or seven people.
  • Flashlight – Follow the leader will be a bit more intense at night and can be much more fun with a flashlight. Use the light to find the steps, and again search for the leader when you have found their trail.

Follow the leader in the snow can be a bit different from the summer version. If you throw in the elements of hide and seek, you get a combination of a few other games that supercharge the fun for kids.

Snowball Target Practice is Fun and Relaxing

Throwing snowballs can get old. Once you’ve pelted your kid brother a few good times, anything will do, around the backyard and take turns throwing.

When throwing snowballs, you must remain on target as the game’s point is to see who can knock over the most targets in the least throws. Set up targets in weird places to make the throws much harder for the participants.

Ideas to make the snowball target practice game are:

  • Roll and Fire – Speed, or people trying to do things fast, can significantly impact their aim and response time. Have one of the players lay down in the snow on their back, facing away from the targets. As they roll over, they must pick up the snowballs and fire them on target.
  • Trick Shots – Snowballs don’t deflect well, and banking them is out of the question. What you can do is place targets on the ground and place something in front of them. This forces the players to throw the ball on an arc and hit the mark.

Throwing snowballs can be hurtful for some kids. Changing the onus from a person to a target also gives the smaller kids a chance to shine. If they are more accurate, they will quickly outstrip the younger kids.

Having a Snow Olympics Will Be Fun for the Whole Family

Choosing a few different snow activities, like sledding or ice skating, set them up in the backyard. Having a series of competitions gives each of the family members a chance to take home the gold.

Choosing whatever events work best for your backyard is up to size and space requirements. Try and use the snow and ice as part of your game selection. Having a skating rink on a frozen patio or creating snow mounds gives you more unusual surfaces to choose from.

Games to add to the Snow-lympics are:

  • Skating
  • Hill Climbing
  • Sledding
  • Long Jumping
  • Relay Races

One of the great things about having the snow Olympics is that the medal ceremony can be just as fun as the games. Creating medals with soup can lids and sashes with toilet paper or paper towels will add some fabulous flair to this family affair.

Building Snowmen is a Race and a Great Game for the Family

You wouldn’t think it, but racing to build a snowman is one of the most fun things that you can do. The process can be long and hard, but the teams must work together to make the pieces and complete the snowman.

With the amount of snow you have in your yard, you could be building little tiny snowmen or one gigantic beast that lets everyone know you aren’t afraid to be outside during the cold. Have a standard design in mind will make the contest much easier.

A few things to get your snowman race cooking are:

  • Set a Number – Having a set number or size for the competitors to meet will be crucial for this game. Set out the rules beforehand so that the competitors don’t make palm-sized snowmen.
  • Tools for Tots – If the kids are going against the adults, it would be good to give the small kids a chance. Ensure that they have small shovels or buckets that allow them to work as fast as the adults.

This race may seem redundant, but learning to build the snowmen quickly will have the teams falling all over each other in an attempt to reach the finish line first. Keep the directions to the players specific and offset any advantages to keep the building fun exciting.

The Snow Duel is a Great and Fun Way to Get Revenge on the Parents

Throwing Snow is a part of winter fun and can be a great way to let the kids have some fun at the parent’s expense. Keep the snowballs soft and area free or rocks or anything that could be harmful to the participants.

The duelers start back-to-back, just like in the old days, with a snowball ready in each hand. At the word go, they begin to take ten steps away from the other dueler. When they reach ten, they turn and hurl one, or both, of the snowballs at the other competitor.

A few great ways to make snow dueling more fun is to:

  • Use Blindfolds – Have the competitors use blindfolds. Before they are set back to back place a blindfold on them, they have no idea where they are throwing and will be hilarious for the spectators.
  • Colored Snowballs – Use some drink mix or food coloring to make the snowballs colorful and like paintballs. This will be fun for the kids as the colors are fun to see when they splatter on their dueling against.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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