First I just want to say: Congratulations — You made it through 2020. But COVID hasn’t magically disappeared, businesses are stilled closed, and social distancing hasn’t gone away. With the cold weather moving in, we’re going to need safe and practical ideas to keep everyone entertained and things running smoothly this winter. Whether you are staying home or need to get out of the house, have some fun with these kid-friendly winter activities in and around Denver.
Create a Home Movie Theatre
Especially for the kiddos who don’t get a lot of screen time, an at-home movie theatre experience can be just shy of magical. Stock up on buttery popcorn, salty snacks and sugary beverages (okay…maybe you don’t need the butter, salt and sugar); Collect all the soft blankets and fluffy pillows; turn out the lights and cover the windows; Now, put on your favorite movie (or something new) and enjoy!
Have a Pajama Day
Who doesn’t love spending their entire day in pajamas? On a cold snowy day, there’s nothing better.
Build an Epic Fort
I would never claim to be a master fort-builder, but I remember making epic forts with friends as a kid. We brought every chair, blanket and pillow in the house into the living room, where we created a multi-room fortress. Get creative designing a space to rest and play for the day.
There are endless recipes online for baking anything from bread to pie to cake to cookies…
One of my favorite recipes to make with kids is this lemon blueberry bread. It’s beautiful, delicious, and offers the opportunity to learn new skills for young bakers.
Kids love getting creative. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t stocked up on all of the craft supplies, kids will always find a way to share their imagination. Guide them in a craft or provide several open-ended materials for their use.
Build a Snowman…or just play in the snow
Bundle up and head for the powder! Whether you have all of the accessories to make a stylish snowman or not, kids have a blast rolling around in and playing with snow.
This activity is so incredibly easy! All you need is a spray (or squirt) bottle, food coloring and water. Mix the coloring and water in a bottle, then head outside and paint (spray) the white snow!
Make Ice Cream with Snow
My older nanny kid always asks me to make snow ice cream every time we get a snowfall. It’s a tasty treat with much less sugar than ice cream and is easy to make!
Mix milk, sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix in fresh clean(!) snow until reaching your desired consistency. It should be solid like ice cream, but not as dense. Since snow can have a different consistency each time it falls, adjust the liquid accordingly. Add any toppings of choice. Enjoy immediately as it melts quickly!
In & Around Denver
Of course you could go sledding on any old hill, but check out this list of Denver Metro’s best sledding hills for families!
- Wallace Park (the end of Union Ave. on Wabash St., Denver)
- Ruby Hill Park (1200 W Florida Ave., Denver)
- Robinson Park (200 Fairfax St., Denver)
- Westminster City Park (10455 N Sheridan Blvd., Westminster)
- Scott Carpenter Park (1505 30th St., Boulder)
- Ken Caryl Sledding Hill (the northwest corner of S. Kipling Pkwy & W. Ken Caryl Ave., Littleton) — Due to limited parking, it is recommended you park at either Eagle Meadows Park (10576 W Glasgow Ave., Littleton) or Sanctuary Park (S. Miller Ct. & W. Glasgow Ave., Littleton) and walk to the hill.
- Sledding Hill (3092 S Laredo St., Aurora)
Play at a Playground
Who says you can’t play on a playground covered in snow? Grab those gloves and snow pants and head for a local playground! (Playgrounds with a grassy hill are a plus!)
Take a Winter Hike
There are so many options for winter hiking with kids in and around Denver. The following are a great place to start as they are easier for little legs.
- Roxborough Park (4751 North Roxborough Dr., Littleton)
- Bobolink Trailhead (5880 Baseline Rd., Boulder)
Experience Outdoor Ice Skating
Bundle up for some old-fashioned outdoor ice skating! Winter Skate is open until the end of February with limited capacity and timed visits, with locations in:
- Downtown Louisville — Steinbaugh Pavilion (824 Front St., Louisville). Due to weather and possible changes involving COVID-19, it is recommended you call 303-604-1010 before arriving.
- Northfield (Denver) — corner of 47th Avenue and Verbena Street, across from the T-Mobile store
Try Mini Golfing
- Adventure Golf and Raceway (9650 N. Sheridan Blvd., Westminster) — offers naturally social-distanced mini golf (no other attractions at this time) for groups of 4 or fewer
- Family Sports Outdoor Miniature Golf (6901 S Peoria St., Centennial) — offers outdoor mini golf as well as other park amenities
- Boondocks Food and Fun: Northglenn (11425 Community Center Dr., Northglenn); Parker (18706 Cottonwood Dr., Parker) — offers outdoor mini golf, as well as other indoor and outdoor activities, opened at limited capacity
- Colorado Journey Mini Golf (5150 S. Windermere, Littleton) — offers outdoor mini golf daily, with the exception of temperatures below 45º, high winds, rain or snow.
- Gateway Fun Park (4800 North 28th St., Boulder) — offers mini golf and other outdoor activities year-round, weather permitting
Visit the Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo is open with limited capacity and social distancing guidelines that would make for a perfect sunny-day trip, even in the winter.
Take in the Botanic Gardens
Be Inspired by the Dillon Ice Castles
Located at Dillon Town Park (120 Buffalo St., Dillon), the Dillon Ice Castles are an awe-inpiring experience with water and light displays, as well as slides and tunnels to explore. Hurry to purchase your tickets as they sell out quickly!
Even though it’s cold and most indoor fun is closed for the season, there are still plenty of activities to keep you and your little ones busy. Let me know in the comments which activities you enjoyed best and what else you like to do to stay sane and safe during this COVID winter.