Winter Outdoor Birthday Party Ideas

Outdoor birthday parties are so much fun, for outdoor families and for kids who aren’t as used to being outside. Everyone will love playing and celebrating outside.

But, if your child’s birthday is in winter you might be wondering how to go about an outdoor birthday party in winter… Well, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve collected the best winter outdoor birthday party ideas from our team and we will give you tips for keeping everyone warm, what activities you can do and what food and drinks are best for outdoor birthday parties in winter.

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Kids and adults enjoying an outdoor birthday party in winter
Kids and adults enjoying an outdoor birthday party in winter

Why Outdoor Birthday Parties in Winter

You might be thinking, why would we throw an outdoor birthday party in winter, when it can be so cozy inside?

While it can clearly be cozy and fun to have an indoor birthday party in winter, kids love being outside, any time of the year. So why not double the fun and organize an outdoor birthday party for your winter child? 

There are a few good reasons to celebrate outside, it’s fun, there will be less mess to clean up afterwards and it’s much easier to handle (bigger) groups of kids outdoors.

It’s Fun!

No matter if you have snow or just cold weather, there are so many fun activities to do outside with a bunch of kids. More about what you can do with a wild bunch of kids outside later.

And you can still have all the fun of the classical party with a theme, decoration, cake, etc. outside in winter, if you wish. Maybe it gets even better!

Kids Are Easier To Manage Outside and There’s Less Mess

We all know how a group of overly excited kids can get really wild. And we also know that kids are much easier to handle outside. Outside, kids can be as wild as they want to be, without taking apart your house.

There is more space, loudness is no problem, and there are a lot more possibilities to get that energy out without the need for toys and stuff.

For you as a parent, this means less toys and mess to clean up. The kids are happier, so less work of entertaining them and keeping all of them happy. Kids don’t need much to be happy outside. A few games or a fun activity and free play and the kids will make it into a great party.

Winter Outdoor Parties Are Perfect With Lots of Kids

So your child tells you he wants to invite ALL of his friends, help! Imagining 15 or more kids inside of your house can feel overwhelming at least. 

It’s so much easier to handle a bigger group of kids outdoors. So now you can tell your child, sure, no problem, let’s invite all of them. We’ll help you to come up with ideas of what to do with groups of children for an outdoor birthday party in winter.

Kids making a rainbow slide on the snow with food coloring - winter outdoor birthday party ideas
Kids making a rainbow slide on the snow with food coloring

How To Keep Everyone Warm

Reminder To Dress Appropriately

One important thing to keep in mind when organizing an outdoor birthday party in winter, is that all kids you invite (and their parents) might not be used to being outside in winter for longer stretches of time.

So when sending out invitations, remind them that it’s an outdoor party. You can even remind them to wear their winter boots, snowsuit, gloves, hats and warm layers or just ask them to dress for the weather. Here is a great post on how to keep warm in winter.

Keep Everyone Moving

Plan your party so that everyone stays active. This helps keep them warm. Of course you can have breaks, eat and drink something, but always make sure to start moving again to stay warm before the kids are too cold.

Do ‘layer breaks’ regularly, to avoid kids getting sweaty and cold (afterwards). Check if they need to open a jacket, take off a layer or hat.

We’ve got some great fun ideas for you to keep warm and have lots of fun, read on.

Heat Sources and Shelter

If it’s really cold outside on the day of the party, you will want to have some other ways to help everyone stay warm.

If it’s snowing or raining, you’ll want to have some kind of shelter. An easy way to provide shelter is by setting up a party tent. If you have time beforehand and lots of snow you could also build an igloo.

Otherwise you could use whatever you have on hand, like a simple tarp, big tent or you can open up a garage or stable. Decorate your shelter with birthday flags and party lights to make it festive.

It’s always good to have place for your guests to warm up. A fire is a magical way to keep everyone warm. Have the kids (and adults) toast some marshmallows to make it even more fun. Start your fire early, so it’s really going by the time your guests gather around.

If you can’t make an open fire, patio heaters will do do the trick of keeping people warm, but it’s of course much less fun. Have warm blankets ready, even if it’s just for the adults watching the kids sweat. If you don’t have enough warm blankets, ask people to bring their own or get some from the thrift store.

Pull out your summer outdoor furniture. You can dress it up with warm blankets for a cozy hang out space.In case you’re doing a party at a public venue, look for back-up shelters. Maybe there’s a restaurant near the bunny hill or a picnic shelter at the park.

Food and Drinks to Help Warm Up

Delicious food and drinks obviously belong to any birthday party. And we all know that when we’re hungry we get cold so much quicker. So prepare some warm food and drinks to keep your guests warm. We’ll give you some ideas for food and drinks for your outdoor birthday party in winter later on.

Kids making campfire bread on a stick
Kids making campfire bread on a stick as part of a treasure hunt challenge

Winter Party Ideas for Outdoor Birthday

Kids love games and other fun group activities for their birthday party. There are so many fun activities to do in winter. We’ll give you some ideas for games, sports and other fun outdoor stuff. And a few tips to keep the adults happy, if they join the party.

Check out our Outdoor Winter Fun Gifts post for some great toys and ideas for getting outside!

Outdoor Party Winter Games

Many of the classical games for birthday parties, can easily be adapted for outdoor fun in winter. Think of scavenger hunts, bingo games, snow obstacle courses, ice bowling and 100’s of other fun ideas for winter games.

You can get our FREE Winterplay E-Book here.

Treasure hunts in winter can include fun clues and challenges like sledding, building a snow unicorn (or other creature) or snowball target practice. Burry the treasure under the snow and provide enough shovels to dig it out at the end of the treasure hunt.

For snow obstacle courses, think of jumping over snow obstacles, snow ball throwing, crawling underneath things or through a hula hoop, all the usual obstacle course fun but in the snow. Let the kids get creative, they often have the best ideas!

If you want to try ice bowling, you’ll have to prepare ahead of time and need freezing temperatures. Fill balloons with (food colored) water and let them freeze overnight to use as bowling balls, use filled plastic bottles for pins.

Another fun idea is to organize your very own Winter Olympic Games for the kids. Include any sport or activity your kid loves, like skiing, sledding, snow ball target practice or snowball relay. You can make DIY medals and snacks and drinks for the athletes.

Two kids during a unicorn winter treasure hunt for Lua's fifth birthday
Two kids during a unicorn winter treasure hunt for Lua’s fifth birthday

If you love themed birthday parties and dressing up, don’t think that’s only for indoor parties. There are lots of costumes and accessories that easily fit over snow suits and hats.

Unicorn birthday girl by the campfire
Unicorn birthday girl by the campfire

Sports for a Winter Outdoor Party

Some popular and fun sports for winter outdoor birthday parties are: ice skating, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, (backyard) snowboarding, snowshoeing or ice hockey.

If you do any of these activities, make it fun and include lots of games. Here you’ll find some of our favorite ski games for cross-country skiing.

Snowshoeing is a very accessible activity and great for kids of all skill and fitness levels. You can ask the kids to bring their own snowshoes and rent for kids who don’t have any.

For a fun outdoor birthday party at home, backyard snowboarding is a great activity, if you have, or can build, a little hill or kicker. Snow skates are also fun and easy for bigger groups, as you don’t need special boots.

Kids with balloons at a skiing birthday party
Kids with balloons at a skiing birthday party

A popular birthday party venue for people living in or near ski areas, is the local ski hill or bunny hill. The kids will love to ski with a balloon on their helmet. Play some games like: red light/green light, a ski race or ski limbo and then let them free ski and play.

You could even do a themed dress-up party, it will be so cute to see all the little princesses or pirates skiing down the hill.

Obviously this works best if everyone joining has a ski pass, but many local magic carpet bunny hills may be free.

Birthday party at the ice rink, so much fun!
Birthday party at the ice rink, so much fun!

If you live in a place with cold weather but no snow, you could also go biking, hiking or even rock climbing. In an urban area you could have your party at the zoo or local park, more ideas for urban winter fun here in this post. And if you live by the sea, there’s so much fun to have at the beach in winter.

Outdoor Fun

Where to start? There is so much fun stuff to do outside in winter! Some ideas for your winter outdoor birthday party could be: sledding, snow fort building, snow tubing, winter hiking, snowman (or snow creature) building, snowball fight or making a snow maze.

Snow cave birthday fun
Snow cave birthday fun

You could make snow cakes and decorate with natural objects or food colored ice chunks. Kids love mud or snow kitchens, so bring out pots, pans, cookie cutters and kitchen utensils and let the kids start ‘cooking’.

If it’s cold, but no snow, you can do many activities you’d do the rest of the year by layering up. Try ice blocking instead of sledding, creating ice bubbles (with your regular ‘bubble juice’), building stick forts or doing a winter obstacle course.

With slightly older children or when it gets dark early, an after dark or even overnight party is an experience to never forget. Think of lantern hikes, bonfire, winter camping (in your backyard) or a treasure hunt with headlamps. Add glow sticks, flashlight tag, and stargazing for a great party. This post gives you lots of ideas for outdoor fun after dark.

If your child likes crafts, get creative outside. You could make snow paintings with food coloring or natural dye mixed with water. And if you have a later winter birthday, you could even do some maple syruping! Or have a storybook party with some of our favorite winter books.

In our TMM shop you can find a Winter Outdoor Family Guide with tons of ideas for a great winter with kids. These ideas and tips can very well be used for your winter outdoor birthday party.

Keeping the Adults Happy and Entertained

If adults are joining the party, you’ll have to think of a few things to keep them happy. Usually just being outside and chatting with other parents, while their kids are entertained will be enough.

You could make a fire for warmth and coziness, prepare (warm) adult drinks, snacks and maybe some music. You can easily ask other parents to help you a little as well.

Food & Drinks for Winter Outdoor Birthday Parties

Snacks

It’s good to keep some snacks ready to leave out at all times for hungry little ones to get a quick energy boost. Think crisps, crackers, dried fruits (if it’s not freezing), bread sticks, nuts or (homemade) granola bars.

You could also make campfire bread on sticks as part of a treasure hunt or other game. They warm up around the fire and eat something warm at the same time.

When it’s really cold, hot soup is good to warm up cold little ones. See if you can keep it warm in an insulated thermos or warm up the soup above the fire. A quick alternative is instant soup and hot water from a thermos bottle. Provide cups for everyone.

Drinks

Depending on the weather, you could choose for hot or cold drinks. The weather at our last birthday party was pretty warm, even though it was January in the Swiss Alps and there was snow.

So we put out a table with water, home made ice tea and tea in a thermos. For the adults there were a few beers, staying cold in the snow. Other favorites are hot chocolate, coffee (for any adults) or cider.

If you’re away from home, think about easy to transport drinks and bring reusable plastic cups for everyone.

Cake and Alternatives

When you’re celebrating outdoors, you probably won’t have a nice big table to sit at and eat your cake. You can of course still bring a fancy birthday cake to slice up. But it might be easier to prepare individual portions, like cupcakes or muffins. These will be easier to transport as well, as you can pack them all in a big plastic container.

If you’re making a campfire, you could think of treats to make above the fire, like the classic marshmallows or s’mores. We have a great post with tons of tips and recipes for getting creative with s’mores.

5-year old boy blowing candles on cupcakes in ski suit
Blowing candles on cupcakes at his ski party for his 5th birthday

How To Serve Or Transport Food And Drinks Outdoors In Winter

If you’re having the party in your backyard, it’s easy. You can just put a table outside with all snacks, treats and drinks ready.

If you’re doing a party at the ski hill, park or an other public spot away from home, you’ll need to think of how to pack and transport food and drinks (as well as any other equipment needed for the party).

Some options for hauling all your party stuff to the party venue could be a wagon, bike trailer, sled or a stroller. Keep in mind the terrain and how much you’ll need to haul for how long.

For a party in your backyard, you can pull out the summer outdoor furniture and use your regular plates and cups. If you’re away from home, things like insulated thermos, picnic blankets with a waterproof layer, reusable plastic cups, paper plates and tissues are good to bring.

Outdoor Winter Birthday Parties Are Fun!

Embrace the chaos. The outdoors brings out the wild in the wilderness. Expect the unexpected and roll with it, bring extra warm clothes, blankets, and lots of hot chocolate. It’s been said that there is no such thing as bad weather.

We hope we could inspire you to celebrate the next winter birthday outdoors. Everyone will love it and will have so much fun! What are some of your favorite outdoor winter party ideas?

Winter Outdoor Birthday Party Ideas

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