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Fun WaysWe have officially entered the season of hot cocoa, snow days, that one glove you always seem to lose and a million other reasons to stay indoors and under a blanket.

But, just because it’s freezing outside doesn’t mean we should stop encouraging our kids to be fit and stay active. In fact, sedentary habits, like sitting in front of the TV or playing video games, can be a slippery slope to unhealthy lifestyles (for more info on this topic check out a past blog post on making sure your kids are getting the right amount of exercise each day). 

That’s not to say that spending some time reading a good book or finishing up that end-of-the-year homework is a bad idea, but kids should also be up and moving around (for at least an hour a day), even if it means putting on 5 layers to do it!

It might be easy to get the kids out the door and tell them to play in the snow, but keeping fit when it’s freezing can be a family affair. So, take a look at these fun suggestions and brave the cold weather together! Afterward, you can enjoy some hot cocoa (or tea) and lose that glove for another day.

The Classics

There’s a reason why traditional winter activities are, well, traditional. It’s because kids love them! The snow might be cold, but it also has the power to turn an ordinary backyard into a magical world of snow forts and snowball warfare, of jolly snowmen and fluffy padding for jumping, running, and waving your arms and legs in a frantic attempt to create the perfect snow angel. We’ve listed the usual suspects here, but we’ve also given them a slight twist to remind you that classic winter activities have stuck around for so long because people of all ages just can’t get enough of ‘em. 

Ice Skating

Whether you head to a skating rink or simply go to the frozen (and you should definitely make sure its frozen!) pond in your backyard or local park, ice skating is a great way to keep active in the winter. Plus, it can burn up to 210 calories in just 30 minutes! This year, turn your typical ice skating into a fun game of ice hockey. This way, even for those who can’t skate, you can still get on the ice in boots, on your knees or even on your bottom and have fun trying to get the puck in the goal (or, you know, into that arrangement of sticks you’ve decided to call a goal)!

Sledding

It might seem like sitting on a piece of plastic and rocketing down a hill might not burn a ton of calories, but add in the effort to trudge back up the hill and we’re talkin’ 270 calories burned in just one hour. This year, see how far the kids can get when they pull YOU back up the hill. And, when that doesn’t work, offer a prize to the one who can run back up the hill the fastest!

Snowball Fight

We know, we know, snowball fights aren’t the safest option on this list. And, yes, there will probably be the inevitable kids who cries, so wouldn’t you rather be involved in this year’s snowball fight and stop the tears from flowing in the first place? health tip 1Plus, the extra effort made from running in the snow means burning 100-200 calories per hour! Not to mention the fact that your kids will love it if you get out there and play with them.

If you’re in a neighborhood, consider getting the whole block involved and make it a battle for the ages! Afterward, you can all get warm over hot cocoa and cookies (which you won’t feel guilty for eating!). 

Snow Fort

If you’re looking for a fun way for your kids to build muscle and help their cardiovascular health, then building a fort made of snow will do the trick! Also acceptable: building a pile of snow and digging out a hole, which is promptly called a door. This year, take it up a notch by following these cardinal rules of snow fort building: 1. Trace the perimeter 2. Build bricks of snow 3. Stack the bricks and fill in the gaps 4. Cover the fort with water for protective coating of ice 5. Enjoy your (cold) home away from home!

 

Holiday Fun

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, winter provides a great opportunity to enjoy some seasonal fun! Nothing get kids more excited and willing to get active than the anticipation of a holiday celebration. Use this energy to your advantage to help motivate the whole family to stay fit with some holiday fun!

Check out the Neighborhood Lights

Holiday celebrations often come with blinking, glittery, colorful bright lights that illuminate countless streets across America. Take a walk with the family to check out the neighborhood decorations. Make it a game by playing I-Spy (hint: this is a great way to keep the young ones entertained). 

health tip 2Family Decorating

This is an activity that gets the “two-birds-one-stone” award! Take care of decorating the house for the holidays and get the kids up and active by having them help out. This can be an indoor or outdoor activity, depending on how zealous you are about decorating. Kids can help decorate the Christmas tree, wrap lights around bushes or small trees, or help get the boxes from the basement. Activity like this can burn up to 160 calories every half hour (which is equal to a 25 minute walk!). 

Indoor Activities

Staying fit when it’s freezing sometimes means staying indoors, especially when it is literally freezing outside. But, that doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV or zoning out with a video game. Instead, the next time your kid has a snow day, try out one of these ideas to keep the whole family entertained and active!

 

Scavenger Hunt

Put away the breakables, hide some toys, and get those kids breakin’ a sweat with a riveting scavenger hunt! This is a great idea for kids of any age and it will keep them active for hours at a time. Once the temps go up a bit, take the hunt outside and get your kids running around in the snow (burns more calories!). 

Board Games with an Active Twist

Take board games to a whole new level with this fun idea! Get out your favorite board game and incorporate exercise: If playing trivial pursuit, a wrong answer gets 10 jumping jacks, but a right answer and mom or dad does 10 jumping jacks! If you're playing monopoly, each payment comes with 5 pushups. You get the idea, now go blow the dust off your board games and get creative with an active twist!

health tip 3Cold Chores: The Fun Way

Winter is a lovely time of the year, but it’s also a cold, chore-filled season, full of shoveling snow and cleaning off the car before every trip. So why not take the necessary chores and turn them into a fun time that gets the whole family involved? (Plus, 200 calories burned per hour ain't bad either!). 

Shoveling the Drive

Don’t go it alone, get the kids involved with their own shovels & buckets. Make it a game by drawing pictures in the snow before shoveling it away, or turn it into a competition to see who can shovel the most snow (judge it by the size of the piles!). 

Cleaning the Car

If you’ve got the time, have your kids help you clean off the car before getting on the road. Draw figures or names in the frost on the side of the car and let them wield the brush to get the snow off the places they can reach. This will get them workin’ those arm muscles and breakin’ a sweat even in the cold!

                                        kids in snow

How do you keep your kids active in the winter? We’d love to hear your creative ideas! Leave us a comment below, or hit us up on Facebook!

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