Getting your kids outside to play and enjoy nature can be a challenge sometimes. As the weather gets cooler in wintertime, it can be an even tougher task. They might fight wearing a coat or hat. Or they may love staying snuggled up inside playing video games and watching movies.
Keeping your kiddos active during the cold months helps them lead a healthy lifestyle. One way to get them moving is to set up exercise goals. You could even do competitions. These can be based around fun activities, too, like sledding or building snowmen when the snow begins to fall.
Winter doesn’t have to be a time kids spend trapped inside on the couch. Keep reading for ways to get your kids outside and moving this winter. If you follow these ideas, they just might love it, too!
1. Set Goals with Activity Trackers
Chances are, there’s some tech in your home. Establish movement goals with your activity trackers. You can do this right on their kids smart watch, using reminders to get them moving this chilly season. You can set GPS parameters on their watches as well, so you get an alert if they travel too far. You can check out Gabb Wireless to learn more about smart watches for children.
You can even turn it into a family competition. Share your step counter with your kids to see who gets in the most steps for the week. The winner might get to choose the film for family movie night or the restaurant for your next dinner out. Make a fun goal of “hiking Everest” or reaching another exciting virtual destination as a family. Add up your steps over the winter as a family to see how far you would have made it on foot.
2. Make It a Game
Create obstacle courses outside for your kids to tackle. You could even have a monthly themed 5K walk or jog as a family. If there’s a bigger event in your area, join that. Turkey Trots are all the rage over the Thanksgiving holiday, and there are also festive races like the Hot Chocolate Run. If you can’t find a local race, sign up for a virtual one that benefits a great cause.
Games that use GPS location to produce an “augmented reality” are another fun way to get kids moving, according to DigitalTrends. Pokemon Go allows users to walk and catch Pokemon on their phone (more details). The more kids walk, the more eggs they can hatch. Parks have events for games like these and special items drop when players reach their destination. Seasonally, these games have themed characters and in-game collectibles as well.
3. Lead by Example
If you want to get your kids outside, lead by example. You likely have found this true of many things in your home. More is caught than taught. Are your kids going to finish their vegetables if you never eat yours? Not likely.
So model the outdoor-embracing behavior you want your children to adopt. If you want them to move more and get outside, put on your stocking hat and head out with them. Take them with you while you shovel the driveway or hang the Christmas lights. Encourage them to join you in your exercise endeavors. Maybe you let them ride in the bike trailer on your rides, for example.
4. Create Timeless Traditions
So many quintessential holiday traditions and pictures romanticize outdoor activities. Lean into that with your family to get them loving the great outdoors this winter. Bonfires with mittens, stocking hats, and hot chocolate can be so fun. So can a family day of sledding and building snowmen. If you love to skate, make an annual ice rink trip.
Skip the car line for holiday lights. Grab a warm beverage and walk neighborhoods and light shows to enjoy the glow of the season. Some light displays even have 5K or 10K races associated with them, complete with maps. As you engage in these traditions year after year, your kids will start to ask when you’re going ice skating. They’ll likely remember the way the activities made them feel and not that they hit 10,000 steps.
5. Invite the Neighborhood
It can be easy to want a whole winter season of family time and your children getting along. As your kids get older, though, they want friend time. What’s one way to get kids moving? Let them have their friends over. Create an environment that kids love to be in for winter fun.
Encourage tag and snowball fights and just getting out and running around the yard.
Keep extra hats and gloves on hand for visiting kids. If you find a good sale on extra snow pants, grab a few of those. Being prepared can help kids want to go out and play, and you know they’ll be warm and safe.
Making a Winter Wonderland
As the weather turns cold and it gets dark earlier, it can be hard to get kids outside. It doesn’t have to be impossible, though. With the right planning, encouragement, and equipment, they’ll get outside and have fun doing it.
Like many things in life, it comes down to modeling the active lifestyle you hope your kids will adopt. So get out there with them. Through winter activities and traditions, you can create active memories that last a lifetime.
Last Updated: January 10, 2023