When the winter weather arrives, it can be challenging if you’re an active family who likes to partake in sports and other outdoor activities. Even though winter marks the end of the season of football, baseball, soccer, and swimming at the neighborhood pool, there are plenty of things you can do to help your kids stay active during the winter.
Trying to avoid a case of “cabin fever” this winter? Here are some family-friendly activities to enjoy with the kids this winter.
Having Fun On The Ice
Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity that’s fun for all ages. Indoor ice rinks often provide rental skates for visitors, but if you don’t have an indoor rink, you can usually find ice skates (and other winter sports gear) at affordable prices at used sporting good stores. Ice hockey is also a popular winter sport that requires quite a bit of extra gear, but don’t skimp on the padding.
If you decide to skate on a pond or lake rather than an outdoor rink, only skate when the ice is at least four inches thick. Whether you’re ice skating or playing a casual game of ice hockey, helmets are a must, particularly for children and beginners.
Another popular ice activity is dropping a line in the water for ice fishing. Ice fishing, especially if you’re planning on driving on the ice, requires at least eight inches of ice.
A Winter Hike
A great way to get some fresh air and exercise in the winter is to go on a hike. Some local and state parks host events, such as a candlelight snowshoe hike, but you can always explore on your own.
Snowshoeing is a great way to hike through deep snow, but if you don’t have a pair of snowshoes wearing a warm pair of winter boots with good tread should be sufficient. If you’re going on an unguided hike, be aware of your surroundings, know your limitations, and always let someone know of your plans (and where you are) in case you get lost or injured on your hike.
A snowy winter wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a sled and finding the perfect hill. Skiing and snowboarding are other winter sports that are fun for the home family. Sign up for family lessons or enroll your children in some one-on-one lessons. Not only does learning the right technique keep your children safer, but they are more likely to enjoy skiing or snowboarding.
Wearing a helmet and other recommended safety gear is a must when snowboarding and skiing (it may not be a bad idea when sledding, too). While beginners are more prone to injury, everyone is at risk for an injury and traumatic brain injuries with sports are common when ice skating, playing hockey, skiing or snowboarding.
A Few More Notes About Safety
Dressing for the weather is also essential when you’re spending time outdoors. Wearing layers will keep everyone from overheating and it’s best to choose base layers of wool or other fabrics that wick away moisture. Packing an extra set of clothes can be nice to change into before you head home or if someone gets too wet and cold from the snow.
Always pay attention to the weather forecast before you plan a day outdoors and dress your children appropriately. If you’re making plans to travel, let others know what your plans are and have an emergency kit in your car that has items like food, water, extra blankets, and other useful items for winter weather.
Author: Donna Fitzgerald