Winter came out swinging this year, especially in Seattle. Just five days after the first day of winter, the Seattle area was hit with 5-10 inches of snow, and it is coming down again this morning. I love all things adventure, especially in the winter. I try to find fun and inventive ways to keep us busy. Playing outside builds confidence, promotes creativity, teaches responsibility, provides stimulation, gets kids moving, offers sensory exploration, and gets their minds thinking. Did you know that getting your kids outside can reduce feelings of anxiety? Studies show that when children are out, they are more likely to relax because they are more concentrated on the environment around them. What better time to talk about winter activities in the Seattle area?
I recommend checking out the Summit at Snoqualmie. It is less than 50 miles from downtown Seattle and has many family fun activities. The summit offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, lessons for beginners, and tubing. The summit has rentals available for all ages, sizes, and ability levels. Once you're done hitting the slopes, they have multiple dining options for endless opportunities. (https://summitatsnoqualmie.com/)
One of my favorite winter activities is spending a day/long weekend in Leavenworth’s winter wonderland. This Bavarian town is so magical and has endless opportunities for family fun. There’s snow on the ground, crisp air on your face, and lights hung up everywhere. If you are up for a drive, Leavenworth is about 2.5 hours from Seattle and is voted one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
The Reindeer Farm tour is our family's favorite; being a homeschool mom, I love that their tour is hands-on and educational for littles. If your kiddos are like mine and love sledding, you need to check out the sledding hills at the park and golf course. Don’t worry if you don’t have a sled; you can purchase one at the golf course. However, we always bring our own. (https://leavenworth.org/)
Children 5 and over can join you on a snowmobile tour if you want to add a little adventure to your trip. (https://www.leavenworthsnowmobile.com/)
I found a cute Airbnb close by that has a 5-star rating and I am sure is beautiful in the snow. (https://abnb.me/WU60eHTKmmb)
This has been on my bucket list for years. I can’t wait until my three are just a bit older and we can do this as a family. While it is a bit longer drive than Leavenworth, I have heard only amazing things. This will be available from January 14th to the 23rd this year and will have fireworks and ice sculptures. The tricky part will be finding a place to stay if you haven’t already booked a space.
WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo should be on every family's must-do list. It is my most favorite event. WildLanterns runs until January 30, 2022, from 4:00-8:00 pm. Being that this is in the evening, they are offering outside food service and grab-and-go food options.
My children love walking around, looking at the different lanterns and lights, and while we got snowed out we are set to go later in January. Many photo opts are available, which is an excellent way to make memories as a family. (https://www.zoo.org/wildlanterns)
In the Totem Lake area of Kirkland is one of our favorite Ice Cream Shops, Salt & Straw. The flavors they offer are just splendid, and you can grab a seat under the heater or adjacent is a couple of fires you can choose to sit next to. The holiday flavors are in busting at the seams with flavor. This season they are offering Almond Brittle with
Salted Ganache, Peppermint Cocoa, Gingerbread Cookie Dough, Dwanta's Teremana Spiked Eggnog, and the Great Cookie Swap. The best part is some of my favorite shops are close by, and they have an area for the kids to run around. Snapdoodle Toys is across the way from Salt & Straw, which has been one of my favorite toy shops for years and years, and inside, where the bathrooms are, they have an incredible little kids library. We took home a Mother Goose book last night, and I feel blessed these libraries exist. Feel free to take a book home or drop one off for donation!
Ice skating is the perfect family fun activity that will burn off some energy and bring out some laughter. This is one of my favorite winter activities to do as a family. I recently signed my oldest up for ice skating lessons, and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before she can out-maneuver me on the rink, wait, let's be honest, she already is. With so many options, you have to try it out.
The Bellevue Ice Rink in Downtown Bellevue has an outdoor ice-skating rink that is covered for rain or shine ice skating. They offer skate rentals and free ice-skating classes two days a week for anyone serious about learning how to skate. To find out more, go to FREE SKATE LESSONS (bellevueicerink.com).
The Snohomish Valley Golf Center in Snohomish has a charming ice rink that uses Smart Rink – a synthetic ice rink! It is a great place to meet with friends, play put-put golf, and enjoy some excellent food. The buffalo chicken caesar wrap and cheeseburgers are the best. They have good customer service, easy parking, and a game area with giant Jenga and giant Checkers under white lights. Take a seat at a fire pit and watch the hot air balloons rise over the valley. (https://www.snohomishvalleygolfcenter.com/icerink.html)
The New Kraken Community Ice Complex in Seattle has a tot play hour for kids under 6. You don’t even need to rent skates. They have piles of snow, balls to play with, and more set out for open play. It is Fridays only from 10:15a to 11:15a beginning January 7th, 2022. You can rent skates if your little one would like to skate. It is $12 per adult, and six and under are free. (https://www.krakencommunityiceplex.com/public-skating/)
Oly on The Ice is back until January 17th, 2022, in Olympia. You can find free parking.
Tickets are for 75 minutes. Children and adults age four and up are $12, and children three and under are $3. You can buy tickets online in advance.
The Pacific Ice event in Everett is running until the end of January 2022. The real ice rink overlooks the Port Of Everett Marina. These 45-minute sessions are $12 for children 12 and under and $15 for adults with a $1.50 processing fee for both. All tickets must be purchased online and include skates. (https://pacificice.ticketspice.com/pacific-ice-rink-at-waterfront-place)
I have always found that a Silvertips game is fun for the littles and somewhat budget-friendly. I defiantly recommend bringing warm gear and sound-canceling headphones, a little patience, and your cowbell. When we go, we always plan to leave early, and if they make it the whole way through, that is an extra win for us. They have so many games that it is easy to find a time that works for your family.
For those animal-loving kids, Debbie’s Dolittle's animal experience offers an indoor petting farm experience all year round. They are located in Tacoma, just south of Seattle, open Thursday – Sunday. They specialize in baby and miniature pets, exotic animals, and farm animals. I love that they make do their best to make it a learning experience for kids to learn about the several types of animals they have. All three of my littles love hands-on learning experience, so Debbie Dolittle’s in on our must-visit list this winter if we make it back down south. (https://indoorpettingzoo.com/)
Scavenger hunts are always a hit for my three littles; we just completed a Christmas hunt with the neighbor kids. I usually bundle up the kids, print off a scavenger hunt from google, and walk around the neighborhood checking off each item on the list that my kiddos point out. It’s an effortless way to keep your kiddos engaged and dare to venture farther than they usually would on a walk. The Teaching Mama has one for free on her site: https://teachingmama.org/winter-scavenger-hunt/
I hope these Seattle winter activities encourage you to get your kiddos outside while making memories as a family together. Taking your kiddos to an unfamiliar environment is a great way to have new social interactions and help build social-emotional skills. Your children will carry these memories for a lifetime and encourage them to share these traditions when they have children of their own. What winter activity will you put on this year's must-do?
Happy New Year,
Owner and Founder of The Nanny Consultant, a national nanny agency
and Homeschool Mom to Three