Outdoor play idea: using summer toys for winter fun

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Today I’ve got a super simple outdoor play idea for those of you who, like us in Indiana, are enjoying some January snow:  use your Summer sandbox toys in the Winter snow.

As we made our way through the garage on our way to play in the yard after our first really big snowfall of the season, I noticed the kids grabbing the sandbox shovels and pails along with the snow shovels.   It seemed to be instinct for them and it ended up being a lovely way to play.

The scoops, shovels, buckets, and castle molds were great fun in the snow!

It was such a simple thing, but it added a whole new dimension to our snow day fun.

Don’t have any sandbox toys?  Why not raid the kitchen cupboards for some plastic measuring cups or food storage containers?  What about a toy dump truck? Max, my six year old, has discovered his plastic cars and trucks are pretty fun in the snow. (I’d just avoid metal and anything breakable, for safety’s sake).

Using our sandbox toys for winter fun was such a hit, I think we’ll try using some other warm season toys, too.

I wonder what blowing bubbles would be like on a cold winter’s day?

What are some of your favorite double-duty seasonal toys?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. We recently had the same idea after my in-laws gave our two-year-old son some Very Big truck toys for Christmas. Not really wanting them zipping around my house, we designated them “snow trucks” and sent them outside!

  2. Oh most definitely try the bubbles in the cold. It’s really neat to see them freeze.

    My kiddos have flown kites last year in the winter. We had some great winter winds to keep them flying.

  3. I’m jealous of your snow. Being from Michigan, Alabama winters make me miss playing in the snow (though I don’t miss shoveling).
    Steph´s latest post: Cookie Cutters, Shortbread Cookies and a Great Reminder

  4. Just a small word of caution on using plastic toys out in the snow…cold plastic, especially plastics generally intended for much warmer conditions, have the potential to crack and break easily…(go ahead and ask me how I know!) While it may not be as big of an issue in “warmer” snowy climates, it wouldn’t likely be favourable everywhere. As long as you are playing with inexpensive toys or ones that you aren’t as concerned about, I say go ahead and have fun!

  5. The best toys we have for outdoor winter play are sticks and buckets. They are used for all kinds of things and the bigger the stick or tree, the better! Make sure your buckets can also handle the frigid temperatues and the man-handling. This past weekend we made our snowman with the existing dry snow and a watering can. It was a labour of love and he’s now frozen solid and renamed, Frosty the Iceman. If we are lucky, we have one day in the winter in Manitoba that creates wet enough snow for a snowman, but you can still do all kinds of things out there. We also made a fort with some retired Christmas trees that we saved from the chipper.

  6. We just did this, too! We have a car mold for sand castles, but snow cars are equally awesome. We also pulled out the dump truck that hauled mud last summer…bonus, I think it’s now a little cleaner.
    Lynda @ Rhody Reader´s latest post: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

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