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Truly, few things are more fun than playing in the snow, riding down the hill on your favorite sled, and building a snowman. With this in mind, having some good snow toys on hand is a great way to encourage physical play outdoors.
We've performed hours of research to only recommend products you'll use over and over this winter, considering the recommended age, material, intended use, and weight capacity of each pick. Our favorites include a durable snow tube from Big Mouth, a wintery chemistry set from Crayola, and a light-up scooter from Geospace designed for the snow.
Here, the best snow toys for a fun-filled winter.
Big Mouth Giant Snowman Snow Tube
Comfortable grip handles
Doubles as a pool float in the summer
Air pump not included
Snow tubes are a winter must-have, but some can bust easily and be awfully uncomfortable. Fortunately, Big Mouth solves both of those problems. Made of thick, durable PVC vinyl, customers rave about the tube’s ability to take on tough terrain without it popping or you feeling every bump. Just note, you will need your own pump to inflate this pick.
If a snowman isn't your style, there are 21 other styles to choose from—including pizza, corgi, and magical rainbow. The tube is around three feet wide, so it can fit riders of multiple ages and sizes. Unlike other tubes, this one easily deflates for easy storage during off-months.
The PVC vinyl construction is not only durable, but also easy to wipe down in case of mud or dirt. Bring this tube to any hill this winter for hours of safe, yet exciting fun.
Holady Snow and Sand Molds
Doubles as a sand mold in the summer
Hinges may be flimsy and require tightening
With these easy-to-use molds, children can create an entire display of snow sculptures that will rival your neighbors’ holiday lights and blow-ups. Included are three plastic molds to build a snowman, penguin, or bear that stand roughly under 7 inches each. You can even bring the molds out again during the summer months to build sand sculptures.
Kess.co Ice Ball 3-Pack
Promotes active outdoor play
Variety of uses
Can be used year-round
If they break, you’ll have quite a mess
Not every snow toy has to involve, well, snow. “The icy look adds wintry fun to a game of catch,” Laurie Schacht, the President and Chief Toy Officer of Adventure Media says. “Kids can also throw them against the ground to marvel at how high they can bounce.” This is a great snow toy for kids who live in areas that get more snow dustings than snow storms.
Create A Castle Sand or Snow Castle Split Mold Set
Incredible castle quality once molds are removed
Can be used year-round
Snow needs to be “just right” to form structures
Castles aren’t just for the sand. With these easy-to-use molds that come in a variety of sizes, you can create an entire kingdom that Elsa would be happy to reign over. Recently redesigned, the sturdy plastic molds each have dual, easy-open hinges for better castle making.
Crayola Arctic Color Chemistry Set
Promotes outdoor and STEM play
Great group or individual activity
Some experiments require non-included items
Who says you can’t learn in the snow? The kit’s science projects, which utilize safe and non-toxic materials, are designed by real Crayola scientists. But don’t worry—they’re easy enough for kids to follow. “The kit blends educational fun and creativity, fostering a love of science by providing a hands-on experience kids will enjoy,” Schacht says.
Wham-O Snow Trac Ball
Helps make snowballs quickly
Can be used by younger children as well
Snow needs to be “just right” to form balls
If snowball fights are a neighborhood tradition, you want to make sure your child has the best battle gear. This launcher from Wham-O sends snowballs up to 150 feet, which is fun to watch even if you aren’t in the midst of a fight. It also includes a built-in snowball maker so kids can quickly prepare their ammo.
SportsStuff Monsta Trax Snowshoes
Easy-on and -off adjustable bindings
Raised toes and high-traction soles prevent falls
Monster footprint may not always be visible
Traditional snowshoes may be a little difficult for small children to manage, but these Monsta Trak shows are built for fun and function. Featuring easy-on and -off adjustable bindings with fast click buckles that fit most snow boots, these shoes will provide hours of creative fun for your little snow monster.
MOLUK Biblo Blue
Great for sensory play
Variety of uses
May scratch wooden floors if used indoors
“The simplicity of this toy is what makes it so perfect for little ones,” Schacht says, adding that they can use it for sledding, snow molding, and so much more. Made from nontoxic, shatterproof polyethylene, it is incredibly durable and appropriate for both indoor and outdoor play.
The Big Dig Roll Big Dig Sandbox Digger
Easy to assemble
Can be used year-round
Not ideal for people with limited yard space
Your little one can turn a day of snow into a day on the construction site with this easy-to-use digger. Schacht says this is a favorite among kids, as it allows them to dig up to 15 feet while rotating 360 degrees on their seat. Parents love that it’s easy to put together and store.
Geospace Original LED Ski Skooter
Board flexes slightly for a smooth ride
Sturdy material provides support for rider and improves longevity
Handle may fall down if not properly secured
Easy to ride and super durable, this ski scooter is an upgrade from the traditional toboggan or sled. By using a handle, younger children can learn proper balance before upgrading to a snowboard. Also, the LED light at the top of the handle provides max visibility and safety. Speaking of, make sure your child is wearing a helmet and protective padding when riding.
Peanuts The Original Snoopy Sno-cone Machine
Easy to assemble and put together
Can be used year-round
May be difficult to grind ice cubes in the non-snow months
If your kid is going to eat snow, you might as well make it taste good. This classic Snoopy-themed sno cone machine is loved among kids and adults, making it a great family activity. Each machine includes three paper cups and one flavor mix, but more can be purchased separately.
Waterline Toys Skim n Score
Individual or group play
Can be used in pools or lakes during the summer
Younger children may struggle to manipulate the disc
Jennifer Lynch, Content Developer for the Toy Association has deemed this one of her favorite toys of the season: “It can be played like curling, but without the ice,” she says. She explains that Skim 'n Score is an innovative new disc toy that skips, skims, slides, and jumps across all types of surfaces—including snow. Great for individual or group play, this is a great way to turn your yard in a winter Olympic setting.
Gizmo Riders Stratos Snow Bobsled
Retracting tow rope makes it easy to transport
Works best on fresh snow
“The Gizmo Riders Stratos Snow Bobsled is a hoot,” Schact says. “Kids will love flying down the hill with their friend or sibling beside them—you’ll never get them back in the house.” Thanks to many safety features, including easy-to-control steering, breaks, and anti-slip seating, parents can rest assured that kids will be protected as they ride. Of course, to keep them extra safe, make sure all riders are wearing a helmet.
L.L.Bean Kids' Pull Sled and Cushion Set
Durable material makes it last longer
Attached rope for easy pulling
More expensive than other pull sleds
Made of high-quality hardwood, this durable sled is meant to last across multiple generations, making it worth the higher price tag. This version comes with a cushion set to provide extra comfort during a long ride, but the sleds can also be purchased without them. The only downside is the lack of a safety belt, which makes it less than ideal for kids who can’t hold themselves up just yet.
FNDN Flask Winter Gloves
Gloves are comfortable and warm
Touchscreen tips make it easy to use phone while wearing
Fit is on the smaller side
For adults only, each of the waterproof gloves features a collapsible, hands-free 10-ounce flask to hold the liquid of your choice. Of course, if you chose to fill with booze, you shouldn’t wear them during winter activities that require focus, such as snowboarding or skiing.
What to Look for in Snow Toys
Like most other toys, snow toys come with age ratings to guide you to the most appropriate match for your little ones. Pay extra attention to this, perhaps more so than you would for other toys, as the age range can affect safety and performance. You wouldn't want a toddler playing with a toy meant for older kids, and you wouldn't want a tween bored by a toddler toy.
“If the packaging says it’s made for kids ages 8 and up, it’s because it’s not appropriate for children younger than that age,” Schacht says.
When it comes to sleds, boards, and scooters, Schacht says it's crucial to pay attention to weight capacity. The reason: safety. If a child is too light or too heavy, they may not have the stability needed to control their ride.
Material and Construction
To make it through the winter, and hopefully many winters after that, snow toys need to be extra durable, as they're often thrown around in harsh, cold, windy conditions. The more heavy duty the material, the better. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with plastic toys, even if they aren’t specified as snow toys. “Plastic beach toys, such as buckets and spades, or kitchen toys like spoons and cups all make great tools for scooping, pouring, digging, and building with the snow,” Dr. Amanda Gummer, a neuropsychologist and founder of Good Play Guide tells The Spruce.
While all of the above snow toys are perfect for backyards and sledding hills, be conscious of where the winter toys you're considering are meant to be used. Some, like ski scooters and boards, are intended solely for the slopes. Depending on your kids' ages and skill level, you might want to stick closer to home. (This works better for days you're snowed in anyway).
Also, think about what your child likes to do when there isn’t snow on the ground. “Parents should take into consideration a child’s interests, such as whether they prefer crafts to sports or vice versa,” Lynch tells The Spruce.
Are snow toys safe?
Both Schacht and Lynch note that all toys in the United States go through safety testing and must meet U.S. safety standards before they are allowed to be on shelves. That said, purchasing from a well-known mass retailer or your local neighborhood store further ensures the toy’s safety.
“There are dangerous counterfeit toys and third-party sellers in online marketplaces that often do not comply with the product safety regulations and put kids at risk,” Lynch explains. “Make sure to do your due diligence. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
When's the best time to buy snow toys to ensure the best deal and selection?
Schacht says there are two times of year to stock up on snow gear. The first is just as the winter season sets in. And if you know snow is coming your way, keep an eye on local businesses. “Sometimes, retailers will have impromptu sales if there’s a storm on the horizon, so that’s another great time to check for staples like sleds, tubes, and snow brick makers.” You should also check out clearance aisles at the very end of the season to stock up for the following year or replace toys that may be past their prime.
How should you store snow toys in the off season?
If you don’t properly store your snow toys during the warmer months, you may not be able to use them again next winter. To start, Schacht says all toys should be wiped down with a rag and fully dried before moving indoors. Additionally, all inflatables need to be thoroughly deflated and folded appropriately. Once clean, you can move your toys to the appropriate storage area.
“While indoor toys do fine in a toy box, larger outdoor toys like these do well in an outdoor storage box, shed, or garage,” Schacht says. Additionally, she suggests you “keep these playthings away from any area that may get wet underneath.” This will prevent mold and mildew from forming on the toys, making them unusable.
Why Trust The Spruce?
For this article, Leah Rocketto, a writer who has spent years covering parenting content with a focus on kids’ toys, performed hours of research on products and consulted Laurie Schacht, Jennifer Lynch, and Dr. Amanda Gummer. Schacht, the President and Chief Toy Officer of Adventure Media, has spent more than 20 years evaluating and selecting the top toys on the market. Lynch is the Content Developer for the Toy Association, and works to ensure that all toys promote safe, positive play. Dr. Gummer, a neuropsychologist and founder of Good Play Guide, is considered the U.K.’s go-to expert on play, toys and child development.