Don’t Wait For Spring Get Outside In Winter
By Jennifer Cummings
To lots of people, winter means going inside, hiding from the cold, and hoping that the next storm doesn’t bring a foot of snow to shovel.
But don’t let winter get you down! Regardless of your age or the number of people in your family, winter can be a great time to shut off the television, get outside, and enjoy the season!
Too often as we get older we forget the simple pleasures that the winter can bring. But kids can get a huge long-term benefit from being outside and active all year long! By not letting the winter months turn your child into a couch potato, you will begin them on a path to lifelong good heath!
The next time it snows and you are tempted to just hide away from it all, here are some low-cost, high fun ideas that you can do almost anywhere:
- Build a snowman! Have some old gloves not being used? Have a scarf hanging around? Get outside with the kids and build a snowman. Make the biggest one on the block, make an army of small ones, or have a competition between your kids for the wackiest snowman! However, you want to do it, making a snowman is fun for kids of all ages.
- Snow angels fly in the winter! Lots of kids don’t know how to make snow angels. There’s nothing better than flopping back in the snow and seeing who can make the best angels.
- Go sledding! Okay, this one takes a special place- somewhere with a hill that’s safe at the bottom to catch riders, but check your local parks, schools, or other municipal areas to see if sledding is allowed. Sleds don’t have to be expensive, and they can last for years. Kids (and parents!) get plenty of exercise walking up and down hills, too!
- Have a snowball fight. Throwing snowballs is one of winter’s best-loved pleasures. It’s fun for people of any age, gives you exercise from running around, and keeps you on your toes! Make sure you set boundaries with young children, so they know where is safe to throw and run before starting.
- Help a neighbor. This is a great family activity that teaches kids the importance of helping others. Jobs don’t have to be big, but helping to shovel a walk, clean a car off, or sweep snow from someone’s steps are all ways to help others as a family and get exercise besides!
- Have a campfire. Do you have a metal fire ring stored away for the winter? Why keep it hidden until the summer? Bundle up and roast hot dogs over the campfire after a great day of sledding, snowman making, or shoveling. There are many winter days that are mild enough to enjoy outdoors, so top off a snowy day with a warm toasty campfire at night!
- For those of you who are more adventurous- here are a few ideas! They may take some planning and equipment, but you will certainly have a memorable time with your family! Things to try include: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skijoring (cross country skiing with your dog!) and winter hiking. Special equipment is needed for some of these, but many times equipment can be rented so you don’t have a huge cost to try out a new sport.
As with any sport, it is important to remember to have appropriate outerwear and gear to keep your family warm and safe as they enjoy the outdoors. By making sure everyone stays warm, you will be more likely to have excited kids instead of cold, miserable ones looking to get back inside!
Enjoying the winter with your family is all about being creative and willing to get outside and active. The more enthusiasm you show for the great outdoors, the more your children will be excited about getting outside. Don’t let your outdoor momentum falter this winter! Get out there and have a great time in 2012 while we wait for the world to turn Positively Green again!