Celebrating Outdoor Winter Play

February 18, 2021 | Melanie L.

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For many of us, there's something idyllic about gazing out the window with a cup of hot chocolate while the winter weather rages outside. But when it comes to kids, it usually doesn't take too long for a bad case of cabin fever to set in. So "weather" you like it or not, this winter your family may have no choice but to play outdoors. Be sure to follow all current Provincial and City COVID-19 guidelines, and stay safe!

Kids in a sled
Children in a sled, 1976. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.

To set the mood, we've compiled a list of picture books that celebrate the joys of playing outdoors in winter. Some are classic and some are new. So pour that hot chocolate, cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy! Hopefully these books will inspire you in your own outdoor adventures.

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

There is no way that this could not be the first book on this list. Published in 1962, this was the first American picture book to feature a Black protagonist. In it, a young boy named Peter explores his neighbourhood after the first snow of the season. You can also view our Storytime at Home presentation of The Snowy Day.


When the Snow is Deeper than my Boots are Tall

When the Snow is Deeper than my Boots are Tall by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Joey Chou

A little boy celebrates winter fun in the snow in this rhyming picture book for young children.


Owl Moon

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

A girl and her father search for owls on a snowy winter night, in this 1987 Caldecott Award winning picture book.


The Snowman

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

A young boy makes a snowman and dreams of their adventures together in this classic wordless picture book.



Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

An ode to the joy that children feel on a snowy day, this book will leave you longing for your youth.


Ten Ways to Hear Snow

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Kenard Pak

A girl walks to her grandmother's home to help her make a family recipe. Along the way, she discovers ways to describe last night's snowstorm to her grandmother, who is losing her eyesight. 


First Snow

First Snow by Nancy Viau, illustrated by Talitha Shipman

A diverse group of children play in the snow in this sweet rhyming picture book for young readers.


One Snowy Day

One Snowy Day by Diana Murray, illustrated by Diana Toledano

Young children will have fun counting along with this numbers book. Grab the All-in-one read-along edition if you are working from home and need help keeping your kids occupied. We have a large selection of read-along books with built-in audio players. Check out the complete list if you aren't already familiar with them.



Do you have a favourite winter read? Let us know in the comments!