The inevitability of snow in Wisconsin was seen early this year, sprinkling on trick or treaters and their hard-earned stashes of candy. Rather than bemoan the precipitation and loss of ease of outdoors activities, consider the following activities for play in our winter wonderland.

Snow Digs

Kids can use shovels or their gloved hands to dig through snow, taking turns hiding toys or easy-to-find items in the snow. Plenty of opportunities for thematic play here – think archaeological dig site or explorers in the Arctic. Plus, having them practice with the shovels can always help ensure they’re ready to start help shoveling the driveway when the time comes.

Rolling Snow

Pushing snowballs as they slowly grow into bigger and bigger “snowboulders” can provide valuable heavy work opportunities, as well as the chance to practice using both arms in a coordinated manner. The balancing required while stepping through the snow will also provide a good challenge to the entire body. And of course, rolling snowballs to become larger is a natural segway into…

Decorating a Snowman

The classic winter activity. Encourage kids to go all out decorating the fine facial details of their snowman or snowwoman, using buttons or beads to create a winning smile. With the gloves and thickened fingers, it will challenge their fine motor skills to the fullest.


Using both hands together, kids will need to carefully craft their snowball, taking care to create something both aerodynamic and lightweight enough to throw. Throwing snowballs is a great opportunity to incorporate visual information and motor movement…and best of all, you don’t have to worry about chasing down lost balls at the end.


A great activity for the whole family – Madison and the surrounding area’s prairie trails are great for snowshoeing for low to highly challenging distances. Snowshoeing can be a physically demanding activity, but it can be fun and novel to have massive shoes strapped on and then get to stomp around in the snow. Don’t own a pair? Several organizations in the area, including the City of Madison, offer snowshoe rentals.

Writer: Ismail Umer, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist