Winter rolls around and many of us use it as an excuse to hibernate. Playgrounds, jogging and biking trails, even swimming pools are much less inhabited. In my case, throw in the fact that I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy and it has become all too easy to hunker down in front of a movie and not do anything at all.
The truth is, we are much happier a family when we are active. The kids fight less. We, as parents, are more present when we are outside of the house. Everyone eats and sleeps better. Additionally, we are making memories together. And finally, we are healthier as a result of staying active throughout the dreary, wet and/or snowy winter months. Since the weather is less conducive to just heading to the local park, it’s easy to think that there isn’t much to do. In reality, however, there are so many fun ways to stay fit as a family throughout the winter months.
Here are some of our favorite ways to stay fit as a family throughout the winter. Almost all of these are extremely budget-friendly and are sure to be a lot of fun!
1. Find an outdoor skating rink.
Going skating (whether indoors or outdoors) is a great way to work on cardio, core strength, balance, and coordination while having fun! An outdoor rink is a wonderful way to get fresh air. It feels a bit more magical. And, it is typically easier to learn on. Lakes and a lot of outdoor rinks aren’t as smooth as indoor ice. As a result, it is easier for little kids to stay upright. If you don’t have any frozen ponds or lakes in your area, many cities have an outdoor rink where you can pay to skate.
2. Go swimming at a leisure center.
I feel like too many of us forget about swimming during the colder months. A local community or leisure center pool is a fun and dynamic place to spend an afternoon. Swimming is an excellent activity to keep your family fit in the winter as it requires gross motor skills, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.
3. Head out sledding.
If there’s enough snow, dress the family and get out. What we do in our own household is pull the kids all the way to the hill. Once there, they are responsible for carting their sleds up the hill each time. That way, everyone benefits from the activity!
4. Jump in mud puddles.
It’s easy to think that a rainy day is (by default) an inside day. The truth is, rain pants, a rain jacket, and gumboots resolve the issue of getting wet quickly. We use our rain shield for the stroller and head out in search of the biggest puddles we can find. Once located, the kids get out and jump and kick and splash around. As soon as they’ve had enough, they climb back into the stroller and we head home to get changed.
5. Do yoga with your kids.
This is as simple as using Youtube to find kids yoga programming. The content is highly engaging as the instructor tells a story that incorporates the yoga poses throughout. Yoga is great for concentration, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.
6. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
This is a simple way to make a nature walk more engaging! For the pre-literate crowd, drawing out a list is great. For literate kids, writing it out works perfectly. If you’re not sure where to start, search Pinterest for loads of ideas and printables.
7. Try snowshoeing.
Children as young as 18 months old can partake in snowshoeing. The key is to size them right and not spend too much on gear. Similar to skating, snowshoeing also uses core strength, gross motor skills, improves cardiovascular functioning and more!
8. Head to your local playground dressed for the cold.
This is where the expression “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing” comes into play. Dress your kids for the cold. If it has recently rained, bring an old beach towel to dry off the slide and enjoy! Ditch your phone and enter into the fun of it all. In the summer, I let my kids navigate the playground on their own with their peers. But in the winter when attendance is sparse, I try and get in there more!
9. Turn a trip to the mall or grocery store into a field trip.
In terms of staying fit as a family during the winter, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Instead of going to the mall or grocery store to accomplish errands, go with the intent of learning about differences in produce and retail items. Adding a scavenger hunt list can also make this fun. By walking through a mall and trying to check items off of a list, you and your family can easily get an hour’s worth of light cardio.
10. Go cross-country skiing.
Children as young as three can partake in this winter sport. The key to success is patience, regular breaks, and a means to help your child along as they get tired. Like snowshoeing, there are so many benefits of cross-country skiing. Moreover, it’s a wonderful way to explore and lap up the beauty of the outdoors.
11. Check your recreation center for indoor hockey, rock climbing or other fun indoor sports.
It is quite amazing to see the drop-in programs so many community centers have. Go to their website to find out information for when they hold different activities and how much they cost to attend. You will likely find there is a wide range of offerings.
I hope you enjoy these fun ideas to stay fit as a family throughout the winter. There really are so many possibilities with the right gear and a spirit of adventure!
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