14 winter games

Easy games for the whole family to play in the snow

By Deborah DavisDeborah Davis

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Speed-skating challenge

Game prep

  • Skating rink
  • Snow pylons

How to play

If you want to pick up the pace on the lake, consider a speed-skating challenge. Make a snow pylon approximately two metres in from each corner of the rink. Form two teams. Skaters line up behind their team leader. When the referee says “Go,” the leaders skate once around the rink, staying outside the pylons. When the leader completes a lap, the teammate waiting next in line takes a turn, and so on to the last player. The team that finishes first wins.

Cottagers near Portland experience the real thing each January, when speedskaters from around the world gather for the International Big Rideau Lake Speedskating marathon. Afterwards, families are invited to lace up and try out the one-kilometre oval track.

Names in snow

Game prep

  • Fresh snow
  • Coordination

How to play

Use steps or hops to spell out each letter of your name in fresh snow. Jump from letter to letter. For a variation, one person creates a pattern with footprints. The other plays follow, stepping carefully to leave only one set of tracks in the snow.

Stealing the snowman’s snowball

Game prep

  • Two snowmen
  • A couple of snowballs

How to play

Players form two teams. The play area is divided by a line to show the halfway point. Each team builds a snowman on its own side and puts a snowball on its head. Members of each team try to cross the line to grab the other team’s snowball without getting tagged. If tagged, they go to the “jail” at the half line until touched by a teammate who frees them. The game ends when a team successfully brings their opponent’s snowball over the line.



This article was originally published on October 1, 2009

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Deborah Davis