Every time it starts snowing heavily outside, you know it calls for awesome sledding the next morning. The winter weather isn’t just an excuse to binge-watch your favorite shows while eating soup or hot cocoa; it offers an exciting opportunity to embrace the blizzards fully. However, outdoor winter activities like snowboarding and skiing can be expensive because of their gear.
And among the many fun snow activities come sledding. No sled? No problem! This is the one winter activity that you and your kids can do for free, even if you don’t have any gear (along with building a snowman). Sure, you can buy a sled, but you can still go back to your childhood roots. Remember when all that mattered was who can go down a hill the fastest without wiping out? You can still do it now and let your kids have this experience, instead of just letting them sit indoors in front of their gadgets. Here are some things to use so you can go sledding without a sled:
Garbage can lid
Garbage can lids are the king when it comes to DIY sleds. In the suburbs, this can be easy to come by because almost everyone in the block owns this. But as a courtesy to the neighbors, please use your garbage can lid. This kind of lid as a sled is easily maneuverable can contain even adults, and can fly down the hills. Depending on how hard you hit, you may need a hammer to tamp the lid back to a decent shape.
The plastic cafeteria tray in your lunchroom is a great sled replacement. The only problem is that if you don’t go to high school or college anymore, you may find it challenging to get a cafeteria tray. But think about it – these hard plastic trays are perfect. Given the abuse that these trays go through the course of their lives and the unimpressive food served on these trays, using it for fun at snow can be therapeutic for you and the cafeteria tray.
You may not have cafeteria trays, but as a mom, you may have some large metal trays that you use with your oven. A baking tray can be a bit of a challenge to sit on as you slide down a hill, but it’s metal so it can be sprayed on with a cooking spray on the underside to make it speedier.
This board usually takes time off during the winter, stored in the garage, accumulating dust. But you can put it to work during winter by having it zip you down a steep hill at high speeds. It’s larger and has a better steering ability than a lid, a baking tray, or a cafeteria tray. However, you may not want to go down face first in a hill.
A large piece of cardboard works great as a free, DIY sled. Take out those Amazon boxes sitting in your garage and make a sled out of it. It’s fairly durable for afternoon sledding, and it’s something you won’t be upset with ruining. With a bit of duct tape and trash bags, you can transform it into a useful sled. If the snow is soft, you can bend the front up a little, so it won’t get stuck as you slide down the snowy hill.
A laundry basket can fit a human being, which is a good thing. A laundry basket is fragile, so it’s a better bet for your kids between three to five years old. It’s surprisingly versatile, though it’s not all that fast, and if you try to do some steering, it may crack. But still, it will be so much fun for your little ones.
We all have at least one of them at home filled with random stuff. Empty it temporarily for your mini outdoor adventure. Choose one that’s big enough to fit a person. Plastic bins are durable for storage, but not built with the sturdiest plastic to be unbreakable for sledding. One hard crash and you may split it in half, but it’s still more durable than a laundry basket.
Plastic bin lid
If you can’t fit in the plastic bin anymore, at least sit on the cover.
Yes, you can also use a soft item for sledding. Use outdoor cushions with a cover made of stronger material than your typical bedroom or living room cushion. Grab one from your patio set, throw it in a hefty bag, and prepare for a fun and fast ride. This works well because the stuffing inside makes bumps a little less severe for your kids.
For whole family fun, use your baby pool at home. An inflatable pool that has been worn out or will never be used again due to some minor damages is the best candidate to use for sledding. It is because you have to turn it inside out (because the inner side is smoother), especially when the snow is soft. The baby pool can accommodate a family, which is great if you also want to sled with your kids.
Obviously, you don’t want to use the mattress someone is currently using to sleep on. But if you have an air mattress, you are willing to risk for fun, then go ahead. It can work as a makeshift inflatable sled. After all, it goes well downhill, and you can use it to get more than one person at a time.
A tarp works best as a sled for icy, hard snow, as it can push you faster down a hill. You can’t use it in soft snow because it will only get bogged down. If you don’t have an old tarp, you may also want to use an old trash bag instead.
Cat litter box
Given that it’s clean, a kitty litter box can be a good sled. It offers room to sit on, and a slick plastic surface on the bottom. However, if it’s already used, the amount of washing you’d have to do to get rid of the smell knowing that this is where the cat relieves itself can be a repellant thought. This is only advisable for people who are comfortable with getting their hands dirty.
It can be better than a cat litter box because you will not be sitting on a spot where the cat pees and defecates on. Also, it’s super durable. But still, it comes with risks. Since you or your kid won’t fit outside, the rider will be sitting on top and may be sent flying if you manage to continue moving on it.
An old door or spare shelving
Do you have a detached door or an extra piece of shelf sitting in your garage or basement? Make it useful by using it as a sled. Just loosen a few screws and hardware, and it will be ready to go. It may be heavy, so use it only on slick hills.
Office chair mat
If you have an office chair mat that is smooth on one side and doesn’t have the pokey pikes, use it – they can be used as a sled in a pinch.