Winter can be long, dull, and boring. For most people, there is nothing much to do during these days except curling next to the fireplace with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorns.
While some people will find this relaxing, spending too much time eating, sleeping, or just physically inactive can be harmful to your health.
There are plenty of fun things to do in the winter than watching movies or playing video games all day. Not just for you, but your kids as well.
So, instead of turning into a couch potato and whining about how cold the days are, try the following 10 winter activities with your family.
1. Snow Play
Playing with snow is a great and unboring way to stay active in the winter. The best thing about snow play is that both adults and kids enjoy it.
Build snowmen, make snow angels, or strap into your snowshoes and go for a snowshoe hike. Your kids may want to make snowballs too, so let them. Just make sure they are aiming to hit stationary targets.
If you will be going snowshoeing with kids, let the youngest lead the way so they can set the pace for everyone. You don’t want to walk too fast and risk getting everyone tired quickly. Besides, letting your kids lead gives them a sense of responsibility and enhance their leadership skills even in other areas of their lives.
2. Ice Fishing
Another activity that could be as effective as snow play is ice fishing. If your kids love to fish, this should be among the top activities on your winter bucket list.
Layer up, grab your ice fishing gear and spend a fun and relaxing day drilling fish from the ice. But the fun in ice fishing and in any other type of fishing for that matter is actually catching the fish and therefore activities like these can sometimes be boring to the kids.
Why? Waiting for the fish to bite in a cold sheet of ice can be mind-numbing. So spice up the activity by taking some time from angling to play.
Play options may include taking a walk along the shoreline, watching other anglers, or even scouting the areas near your fishing spot for pinecones, moss, or firewood. Just don’t take the fishing too seriously when on a family trip because your kids won’t like it. They came to have fun, not staying in one position waiting for a fish to bite.
3. Winter Photography
Love photography? Then winter could be one of the best times to capture parts of Mother Nature that you may never be able to capture when summer sets in.
And since most of the places will be less crowded, you will be able to visit most of them and get on flick everything you think may not be available for you during spring or summer.
The best thing about this activity is that it is inexpensive and anyone can participate. Just grab your hiking or ski camera and get going.
Nowadays, we even have cheap kids’ cameras, so you actually don’t need to share your expensive camera with your 3-year old, unless you want to.
Take pictures of skiers, snowboarders, or other snow hobbyists riding the slopes. Your kids can take shots of other kids building snowmen or playing with snowballs. Just make sure you are not standing in anybody’s way to avoid interfering with their activities.
4. Learn Something Together
“Knowledge is power”, they say, so if it’s too cold to go outdoors, why not spend the time indoors learning something new with your family?
Studying something together will enrich the mind of every family member and will actually bring you closer together.
For instance, you can watch a family-friendly documentary. Children will often find nature and animal-centric documentaries exciting.
You can also read a historical book. Your local library must have historical children’s books, so get a few of these and keep your kids busy during winter. Just make sure you are keeping the session fun and engaging so that the kids don’t feel like they are in an actual class.
If documentaries and history books are getting boring, introduce something new. This time it could be your family tree. Try to sketch it and explain any history you might know about your family.
5. Tackle Some House Chores
One of the most effective ways to manage the winter blues is being productive. While some family members may complain when you propose that they get to work, tackling house chores will keep everyone busy every day. As a result, your home will be a much comfortable and better place to live in.
Allot the chores based on the kids’ ages. Those above 5 years can be tasked with taking care of the cooking or laundry for instance, while tasks for those under 5 can involve taking care of their surroundings. You can have them pick up their toys, set the table, or keep their pets’ feed.
Winter would be a great time to teach your kids how to be responsible, as they will be spending most of their time indoors. By keeping them busy with house chores, you not only enable them to stay active but also prepare them to be better and more responsible people in the future.
There is nothing more thrilling than spending the night under the stars or playing a card game around a campfire with your family. Just because it is snowing outside doesn’t mean that you can’t create such moments.
While most people associate camping in summer, it can be one of the most fun things to do in the winter. In fact, camping in winter is much easier nowadays because we have equipment specially designed to keep you warm outdoors.
A good example is the camping sleeping pad that you can just put beneath your sleeping bag to prevent moisture from penetrating your sleeping bag. Sleeping bag manufacturers today have even introduced winter sleeping bags that are much warmer than the normal bags for additional insulation.
When camping with kids in the winter, make sure they are dressed warmly. Bundle them up with the right layers to reduce their chances of catching cold-related diseases like hypothermia.
If your kids can slide on skis or ride a snowboard, let them enjoy this time of their life when it still lasts. However, where kids are involved, it is advisable to take all the necessary measures to keep everyone safe.
Check the weather forecasts before you head out so you all can dress appropriately. This is also the most effective way to find out regions that are most likely to be hit by avalanches.
Speaking of, familiarize your kids with the dangers of avalanches and how to stay safe when swept up by one. And don’t forget to emphasize the importance of wearing a personal locator beacon to increase their chances of surviving an avalanche in the unfortunate event they are caught up in one.
It is also important to make sure that your kids are skiing or snowboarding in a secure area. Even though adventuring off-piste can be fun, when it comes to skiing or snowboarding with kids, it would be best to stick to the groomed sites. Here, the snow is more controlled and there are fewer chances of getting caught up in a snow slide.
8. Smore Fun
Too cold to go camping in the backcountry? No problem. Just set up your tent at home.
You can build a winter bonfire right in your backyard and roast some smores. Kids love to snack and can do this all winter.
To make the activity more fun, invite your family friends or kids’ friends and let the adults take turns in roasting the munchies. You can set up one huge tent or have everyone bring their tent and spend the night playing games, telling stories, and eating marshmallows.
If you have some room in the garage and you think it might be warmer to spend the night in, you can have the tents set up there so that the kids won’t catch a cold at night.
Giving back to the community makes you appreciate what you have more. Volunteering is an activity that every member of the family can take part in, regardless of how old your kids are.
Donate some clothes, visit an animal orphanage, give some food to the hungry or just volunteer to clean up the town or street near you. Any act of kindness, however small, can go a long way in setting a good example for your kids and helping them grow into better people.
A good way to approach this would be to check with your local community to see what people may need the most. Explain to your kids why it needs to be done and why they should be part of it so that they can find fun in doing it.
10. Nurture Your Kids’ Talent
Spend most of your time with your kids and learn what they are best at. Support them by helping them enhance it.
If they love to draw, enroll them in an art class. If they love to sing, have them join a music class, and if they love to cook, sign them up for cooking classes. Simply put, don’t just love what your kid does, encourage them to do it better by getting them the right training.
And there is no better time to do this than in winter because this is one of the times when you are likely to stay longer indoors with your kids. This means that you can observe and learn more about their own moments.
Helpful Tips For Staying Safe During Winter
- If you are planning to spend time outdoors with your family, ensure that every person is dressed for the weather. Kids tend to catch cold faster than adults, so make sure you have layered them up properly. The best way to dress your kids in winter is to have them in a base layer to wick moisture, the middle layer to seal in heat, and a waterproof outer layer to keep away moisture and elements.
- When snowboarding, skiing, or undertaking any activity that can trigger a snow slide, it is always a good idea to go to the groomed sites. Since the snow is much controlled here, your kids will be protected from eventualities like avalanches.
- Neither you nor your kids should go out in the snow without safety protection. This can be anything from a ski helmet and goggles to something as simple as sunglasses. A helmet will protect you from head injuries and keep you warm. Ski goggles or sunglasses will shield your eyes from debris, UV light, and sun glare.
- Plan your activities well in advance and obtain everything you need before D-Day especially if you are going on a camping trip. You don’t want to rush everything at the last minute and risk forgetting essential items.
- If you are camping with kids during winter, don’t go too far from home. That way, even if something unexpected happens, you can always go back home.
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Even if it may feel good to hide out under the covers during winter, it is important to stay active as this helps in boosting both your physical and mental health. Create a winter bucket list and fill it with fun things that you can do with your family.
The above activities can be a great place to get started, as they are perfect for both adults and kids. They will keep you active, boost your immune system, and help you develop a stronger bond with your kids.
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- 50 Essential Winter Activities For Families, todaysparent.com