Get Outside: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Active This Winter

Picture ​After a long and hot summer, Old Man Winter has definitely arrived, bringing his chilly temperatures and maybe a good dose of snow, sleet and ice. While you might be tempted to spend the next few months inside your warm and cozy home, you also know how important it is for you and the kids to stay active. If you notice that your kiddos would rather play video games or text their friends than head outside to play, tempt them with the following activities — as a bonus, you can also get in on the fun:

​Head to an Outdoorsy Store

One of the reasons your kids might prefer staying indoors during the winter is that they don’t realize all of the fun sports and activities that they can take part in when the temperature drops. Take your kids to a quality outdoors store like Cabela’s and spend some time looking around at the different merchandise and equipment. If your budget allows for it, let your kids select something to get them started in a new hobby; for example, if your teen has been asking about ice fishing, you could pick up an ice fishing pole and other supplies for her, or treat your son to a new pair of ice skates.

​Go Tobogganing

​Tobogganing is one of those perfect winter activities — all you need is a nice snowy hill and some sort of sled. If you don’t have a traditional toboggan, you might try flattening some old cardboard boxes and using those. As Today’s Parent notes, tobogganing is even more fun in groups — call or text some friends and neighbors and ask them to meet you at the top of the snow-covered hill by the park. Enjoy racing and great times before heading someplace together for hot cocoa.

​Build an Igloo

If you have a lot of snow in your yard, suggest that the kids try to make an igloo. Boys Life has easy-to-follow instructions on how to put together the classic domed shelter, or you can Google how to build an igloo to find videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Depending on the ages of your kids, you might want to help them out. Once the igloo is done, spend some time decorating the inside — lay down old blankets or towels, stick some pine cones and holly leaves on the walls for decoration and let your kids play in their new favorite hangout place.

​Search for Animal Tracks

If you live close to a wooded or other undeveloped area, ask your kids to join you on a treasure hunt for animal prints. You don’t need to live in a snowy climate to do this, as prints can still be left in the mud and dirt. Bring along a camera or phone and snap some shots of whatever tracks you find — you might even find some mysterious piles of scat that you can document. When you return home, put out a plate of cookies, serve hot chocolate and spend time researching what critters live close to you. You might discover that a coyote came through the area last night, or maybe a deer or fox.

​Give Skiing or Snowboarding a Try

If your kids have been asking about skiing, grant their wish and sign them up for beginner skiing lessons. Let them spend a day or two getting used to the bunny slopes and then, if the instructors feel the kids are ready, have them tackle some larger hills. Snowboarding is also a terrific way to get kids and teens up and active; if your kids are already used to skateboarding, they might get the hang of snowboarding even quicker than skiing.

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