This year, why not try something a little wild and crazy? Instead of the same old stuff, jazz up your winter fun with a few off-the-wall ideas like whipping up an outdoor bowling alley or creating a miniature golf course. Your neighbors will probably scratch their heads and mutter, "What are those nuts up to now?" but who cares? You're having a blast with your family, and that's what counts.
Get out shovels and other utensils and start making the most beautiful creations your mind can imagine. You can even use food coloring--try brushing it on with a brush or spritzing it with a spray bottle--to add another element of wow to the yard. Have the family work in teams or individually to create their masterpieces, and afterward you can tour your own personal sculpture garden and even assign awards for most creative, prettiest, funniest, most intriguing, etc. The sky's the limit. To get inspired, check out some of these amazing photos. Try going to a park to build your scultpure garden if you're worried about having enough space and snow, and then you can leave a great display for other winter wanderers.
If you've got an old basketball lying around, along with 10 two-liter pop bottles (which I'm sure you can empty pretty quickly if you've got a crowd in the house), you can build a winter bowling alley in your backyard or driveway in no time. First, pour a little water in the pop bottles and cap them so they'll stand upright. If you're really gung-ho and want to get fancy, you can spray paint them black (or any other color) first so they'll show up better in the snow.
Next, pack the snow in an area in your driveway or backyard to make a lane. A regulation bowling lane is 60 feet long and about four feet wide, but you can make yours any size you want to fit the space you have.
Now set up the pins in a triangle shape with four pins on the back row, then three, then two, then one. If there's no snow, no problem: just set the pins up somwewhere on the brown grass or driveway.
Mark a line in the snow where you want to release the ball. Make a second, closer line if you have little kids. Pump up the basketball so it's nice and hard. Make a thermos of hot chocolate and go bowling! The person who knocks down the highest number of total bottles wins.
Have everyone make 5-10 snowballs and stand at a specified distance from a large trash can. Play HORSE (instructions here) but with snowballs as your basketballs and the trash can as the basket. Little kids get two chances.
Miniature Snow Golf
If you have a golfer in the family, you've already got one key necessity for this game: golf clubs. But even if Dad's not a golfer, you can make your own clubs with old broom handles or sticks lying around.
Golf balls will sink into the snow though, so you'll need to buy some Wiffle balls (found at any sporting goods store) and spray paint them orange so you won't lose them in the snow. You'll also want to find some sticks and tie some bright yarn to the ends (or dip them in paint, or any other method of making them visible) to mark the tees and holes, and some empty soup or chili cans to sink into the snow for the holes.
Part of the fun of miniature golf depends on setting up obstacles and traps. You can make your course as easy or difficult as you want by building snow hills and valleys or adding other objects like lawn chairs, shovels, and boards as obstacles. Once your course is set, start golfing! First person to get all the holes wins!