I consider myself a bit of a pro at keeping my family active… as long as it’s summer time. Between going to the zoo, playing at the park, tossing around a baseball, going on bike rides or for nice walks, there is always plenty to do. We also have the cottage on weekends and a family pool that we can take advantage of when time permits. The best part is the kids don’t mind if we stay outdoors all day long. It’s easy to keep active when the weather cooperates.
Winter is a whole other story. The cold weather makes it harder to get outside, especially if you have a baby or young kids. Sure, it’s easy to hibernate through the long winter months but winter is no excuse to be inactive. In fact, there are several ways to keep your family moving while having fun through the snowy season. Just keep in mind that the key to staying active outdoors in the winter is bundling up. Proper winter attire is a MUST if you want to get the whole family involved.
While some of the great ways to keep active through the winter months are skating, skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing, there are some other unique ways to keep your family going and to let your kids to shake out their sillies.
1. Try Geocaching. Relatively new, geocaching is an outdoor ‘treasure hunt’ using GPS-enabled devices. It’s a fun way to get your kids excited to be outdoors and search for hidden “treasure” (a.k.a. containers). Geocaches come in different shapes and sizes and can be found all over the world, in urban streets, in the woods, and even underwater. My family and I recently tried it out and it kept us outdoors for much longer than we anticipated…in a good way. The boys really got into the search and it’s not always as easy as you anticipate it to be. I can only imagine how much more exciting and challenging it would be to search through snow.
2. Go to the playground. Just because it’s winter and there may be snow everywhere doesn’t mean that you can’t play and have fun at the playground. Just make sure your kids are wearing boots with a good grip and that there isn’t too much ice and snow on the equipment. One benefit includes how empty the playground often is at this time of year. Your kids can have full reign over the equipment and can swing or go up and down the slide as many times as they want without “waiting for their turn.”
3. Play in your front (or back) yard. If you want to stick close to home, there’s lots of fun and active things you can do right outside your front door (or backyard). Personally, I love shoveling my walkway (though I admit it’s not very big). My boys each have their own kid-sized shovel and they love helping too. It’s a great way to get them to do chores and be active. Total win-win. Once you finish shoveling the snow, you can also use the large pile to build a snow man, make a fort, and perhaps even prepare balls for a friendly snowball fight! Don’t forget — when you want to take a break, you can always lay down and make snow angels. You’ll be having so much fun playing traditional snow games that you’ll forget all about how much energy you’re burning off.
4. Play ball! If you want to warm up indoors, there are tons of fun ways to keep active inside. Blow up a balloon and play catch, or create your own game. It’s a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours on end and you don’t have to worry about breaking anything (mostly). If you have space, like an empty finished basement, let your kids play a mini version of their favourite sports indoors. Our boys will rotate between hockey, baseball, soccer and football on any given day. Another family favourite is dancing. Crank up the volume and just let it go!
5. Jump around. While indoor playgrounds are a great way for kids to blow off steam, they don’t usually let the parents get too active (unless you consider chasing your kids around a workout of course). A great family-friendly alternative is an indoor trampoline park. Most of these places have a foam pit, dodgeball courts and open jump space where you can even try jumping on walls. It’s great family fun for all ages and it lets you bring some bounce back to winter activities.
Yes, Canadian winters are cold, but that doesn’t mean families should hibernate. Instead, embrace the snow, seize the chill and get outdoors for some good old Canadian fun and keep the activities going indoors too. Staying active is a great way to bond as a family, reduce stress and keep the winter blues away.
How do you stay active in the winter?