Winter Garden Activities That the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Yes, you should use your garden all year round.

father and child snowball fight in snowy backyard

Borisenkov Andrei / Getty Images

Many people really only use their gardens and backyards during the summer months. But we should all get outdoors as often as we can. So it is worth making the effort to spend time in our gardens even when the weather may leave something to be desired.

Here are some activities I enjoy that might inspire you to get out and spend at least some time in your garden over the coldest part of the year.

Watching Winter Wildlife

Nature immersion is not just for the summer months. Wrap up warmly, snuggle down somewhere outdoors, or take a slow stroll around your property—and watch the wildlife around you.

No matter where you live, there are plenty of winter wildlife spectacles to enjoy. And you will get far more opportunities to be up close and personal with the creatures who share your space if you actually go outside, rather than just watching from a window. 

As well as heading out during the day, you might also spend some time outside after it gets dark, shining a flashlight to see what might be creeping around or lurking in the corners of your outside space. Remember, the better you know your garden and what lives there, the better equipped you will be for the gardening year ahead.

If you have kids, why not make it a game? See who can spot all the species you have listed first, or see who can find the greatest number of creatures hiding in the winter garden. 

Winter Foraging

Another fun family-friendly activity (and a learning opportunity) involves heading out into your garden for a spot of winter foraging. No matter where you live, you may well find a handful of edible options. 

Even if there is nothing to forage right now, together you might identify and learn more about the plants which are already growing in your garden. If you can't forage for food, why not simply have a scavenger hunt where everyone looks for certain plants in the garden? That way the whole family can learn how to identify plants together.


In a winter garden after dark, it always pays to look up. If you live in a rural area without too much light pollution, you might be able to take out a telescope for a spot of stargazing. 

Even if you don't have a telescope, you can still look up and dream while gazing at the stars. You might use some binoculars for a closer look not only at the birds and other wildlife in your garden, but also the moon. This is another great excuse to get outside for a while, even when you are not working much on the garden itself. 

DIY Garden Projects

In warmer climate zones, or if you have an undercover growing area, you may be growing your own food year-round. But even where winter cultivation is not all that easy, there are still a number of garden projects that you might be able to take on before spring.

Where the ground is not frozen solid, you might be able to plant a range of bare-root plants. You may be able to work on creating certain structures for your garden from natural or reclaimed materials. Before any snow melts or drier weather arrives, you might find ways to catch and store that water for the months to come.

Winter—when you may have more time on your hands—can be a good time to take on a range of practical garden projects to improve things in your garden for the coming year. The above ideas are just a few of many possible examples.

And DIY garden projects can be fun for the family to tackle together. Remember, perhaps when family are visiting over the festive period, that many hands make light work!

Garden Games

If it is snowy and icy where you live, then there are plenty of ways to have fun in the snow. Build a snowman or even an igloo. Make snow angels. Have a snowball fight.

But even where you have drizzle rather than snow, or gray skies rather than crisp sunny winter days, there are still ways to enjoy your garden. Remember the phrase, common here in Scotland, that "there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes." So, do make the effort to get outdoors and enjoy some games, or simply spend some more time getting to know your garden.