The first rule of getting kids active in the winter is investing in great winter boots and snow pants for the whole family because YOU are going to play outside too! Winter offers a whole new playground and kids shouldn’t be the only ones having fun.
Make ‘em and toss ‘em. Who can throw it the farthest? Assign points to a variety of distances and tally ‘em up. Toss them into a hula-hoop target, through the basketball net, or aim for the top branch of the nearest tree.
Build your own hill! Start with the first snowfall and push all the snow to one side of the driveway in one large pile. As you build it higher, push down the top for a flat starting surface. Add wood planks or build steps right into the snow bank, and then gradually snake it downhill across your front lawn. Imagine toboggan hill fun right in the front yard.
Dress for the temperature outside and then pretend there is no snow! Use a scarf to tie yourself to a partner and have 3-legged races, get that soccer ball out and draw goal lines in the snow, tie a rope to the toboggan and pull a partner through an obstacle course in the backyard. Try snow golf, snow lawn darts, snow horseshoes, snow frisbee, snow badminton...
Build a Snow Castle
Hours of fun can be had making the coolest castle out of snow instead of sand or go all out and build a giant hideout! Pull out the beach toys, fill up the buckets and make it tall, short, make it square, make it round and then mix food coloring in some water filled spray bottles and decorate your castle or your fort to make it uniquely yours!
So many winter sports your family can try. What about snowshoeing? Cross country skiing? Dog sledding? Snow tubing? Your new favorite family winter tradition is waiting for you!
Get Out the Wheels
Bundle up and break out the bikes, the scooters, skipping ropes and roller blades. The cold shouldn’t keep you indoors and without snow, all your favorite ride on toys have a clear path. There’s lots of fun to be had in the winter months with all those wheels you tucked away in the Fall.
Nothing is more fun for kids then running through the woods or the neighbourhood park and finding hidden treasures. Geocaching is real life treasure hunting that can open up a world of adventure with a smart phone app. Available for free, or a full featured $10 App, gives you access to millions of 'caches' hidden all over the worlda nd in your own backyard. Simply hit "Find Nearby Geocache" on your smart phone and follow the coordinates to see if you can uncovered hidden treasures.
Many Cities have free outdoor rinks and a safe frozen pond can’t be too far away. Lace up your own skates and you haven’t mastered skating yet, take lessons with the kids!
The slides are open year round and I bet you wont have to wait for a turn on the swings. Visit your favorite park in the winter with a thermos of hot chocolate and a few friends and you will forget its winter.
Do A Good Deed
Don’t wait for Spring, do your good deed now. If snow has melted you can clean up the creek, pick up litter in the park, walk a neighbours dog or offer to rake any leftover leaves.
A few extra layers and a bit of extra effort can turn even the coldest winter days into fun family time outside that keeps everyone active and healthy until the warmer temperatures return!
Nothing beats getting sweaty with your other half. . . no, I’m not talking about THAT . . . the other sweaty - at the gym!
Why not switch up date night and trade the candle lit dinner for a little hot yoga or muscle building weight lifting for a date at the gym? You just might end up turning the sexy on after all.
Studies suggest there are many benefits for couples getting in a work out together besides the obvious improved health. Bond with your partner while learning the latest yoga twist, inspire each other to lift a new weight, create a connection on side-by-side treadmills, make eyes at each other over juice bar smoothies in between sets, or increase that animal attraction while pumping up those biceps.
There is no doubt that a date night at the gym is healthier for your relationship than an extra bowl of popcorn on the couch but what if the gym isn’t your thing?
There are plenty of other active dates that will have you feeling the love with your partner, if you are open to new experiences. Trying something new together will encourage a connection, create a bond and get those endorphins going faster than any romantic fireside table for two!
It's not just for jocks. Bouldering does take some serious arm strength but climbing with ropes is something anyone can master. A quick 45 minute lesson will teach you how to ‘belay’ which means you and your partner can work the ropes to hoist one another to some pretty cool new heights. I promise you will be sweating just trying to figure out the tooshy tugging harness and remembering the figure eight knot.
Indoor Trampoline Park
Why should the kids have all the fun? When is the last time you were on a trampoline to really jump around? Trampoline jumping is a serious workout. Grab your date and test your bounce rate, your rebound, your jump shot and your agility climbing out of a sponge pit. Trampoline parks have it all to get your heart pumping.
You remember it from the 80s. You were the roller star, or at least thought you were. Why not grab those leg warmers and revisit an old favorite to see if you’ve still got it. Nothing says romance like holding hands as you skate around in circles chasing the disco ball lights on the rink floor.
Bring out your inner Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and have some fun cheek to cheek. Remember what it feels like to hold each other close and get lost in the rhythm of the music. Or just have a great time getting dressed up and trying not to step on each other toes. Either way, Ballroom Dancing will get you strutting your stuff and having a fun night out.
Try a Tri or a 5km
You can do it. Sign up together for a Couch to 5km learn to run program or with a Try a Triathlon group. Commit to a series of date nights that has you training for a goal and working towards a finish line. You will make new friends who will inspire you, your partner will be there to encourage you, and you just might rekindle a spark in your relationship as you take on a new challenge together.
Feel more in love, share a common goal, fire up some endorphins, increase your attraction, connection and emotional bond to each other by turning up the heat and getting active on your next date night. What would you like to try with your other half?
Do you ever notice how some families seem to be everywhere? Swimming one minute, hiking the next? The kids are skating and then they are skiing. It’s like they have super powers. How do these families do it?
Three words: planning, packing, and patience!
I used to get told a lot that being too active was a bad thing for my kids but now that they are tweens and seem programmed to sit on the couch for hours, I am glad they are used to being on the go. Being an active family does take a bit of extra effort, but with some pre-planning and a few tricks in your tool belt, you too can experience a adventurous lifestyle.
The younger the better. When the kids can walk they can start learning all kinds of great active sports. Start by going for hikes with babies in carriers, graduate to walking in the park and in the woods. Strap on double blades and teach them to skate, get a balance bike so they learn to cycle before they can reach pedals, and if you are brave, get them on skis. Kids ski free up until the age of six in most places. Sign up for kinder gymnastics, parent and tot swimming, or baby ballet. Teach kids young that being active is fun, do it with them, and encourage learning new skills.
Start early. In September kids are trying on skates, snow suits, ski boots, winter boots, hiking trax, hats, mitts and we are pulling out toboggans while looking ahead to a fun winter season. In the Spring make sure runners are in good shape for running, everyone’s bikes are sized right and tuned up, scooters haven’t shrunk and roller blades are expanded. Before the pool opens in the summer or the lessons start make sure everyone has labeled goggles, a good bathing suit, and towels.
In our house there is a bag permanently packed for every sport. A skating bag with 5 pairs of skates, helmets, drying towel, extra socks, and light mitts. There is a swimming bag with towels, bathing suits, goggles and shampoo for after swim showers. There is a hiking bin that travels to the ski hill with us since we hike after skiing that has our splash pants, spring coats, light mitts, and yak trax for grip on the hills. We even have a running bag that has 5 running hats, 5 belts for race bibs, a couple of water bottles and kids special socks to prevent blisters.
An active family is often out of the house all day, on the road travelling from one activity to another or even taking a longer drive for a weekend of outdoor activity. No need for the drive thru if you plan ahead with healthy snacks that travel well like these Chocolate Power Balls and pack your own lunch. A back pack or large lunch bag that fits lots of sandwiches, fruit, veggies, dip, yogurt and water bottles is essential for a day outdoors.
During the week family members are often going in all directions to after school activities or friends houses, so when you plan active family time make sure everyone is a part of it. Find a way to include even the youngest sibling. For our first family 5km fun run our youngest was only 4 years old so we took turns carrying her on our back or shoulders when her little legs got too tired. That 5km took us almost an hour to complete, but we crossed the finish line together as a family and now that she is nine, I am trying to keep up with HER! It may be tough at the beginning when kids are learning a new activity, but persevere and you will be rewarded in the long run.
It takes extra preparation and patience (and yes sometimes there is resistance or even a meltdowns or two) trying to maneuver an entire family through an active day, but these are the days that create the memories the kids will cherish. You are setting up an adventurous lifestyle and teaching your kids you are never too old or too young to try something exciting and new.
Our family thrives on our downtime and watching movies together, having games night, eating popcorn and just being still. We really do, but those moments are so much sweeter after a full day of active adventures.