Winter is long where I live. Long. Snow and cold weather lingers from as early as October to possibly March. A long winter can translate into long days inside which leads to restlessness, more television, boredom, eating and more pounds…for the entire family.  To help make the winter more active and healthy I have begun to employ some new tactics that help everyone watch less television, eat better and get some activity.

Winter sports and activities can be the cure. I don’t like winter and I don’t like cold or snow but it’s where I live and the other months are gorgeous. I’m trying to embrace the season with a more positive attitude. With a snowy winter there are many healthy active sports that the children and I can enjoy. They get us out of the house and mean physical activity.

1. Skiing, for example, is what I have started my son in. We live in between two ski resorts, making this an easy sport to begin. I did not say inexpensive. Ebay, Craigslist, Ski swaps and garage sales can make the sport much more affordable. If you live near a resort ask if they have programs for children or offer free lessons at discounted rates during the week.
2. Ice Skating and Hockey. Many towns have indoor and outdoor skating rinks, lessons and skate rental. Buying used skates and equipment can make this a very affordable sport or activity. When children get older, that’s a different story!
3. Cooking as a Family! Yes, spending time in the kitchen making our snacks and meals. We spend more time away from the television, more time talking and we eat healthier.
4. Indoor Obstacle Course. Yes, jump on the pillows, run in the house and get silly. Just use some caution but breaking your own rules every once in awhile, it won’t hurt anyone! Plus, you’ll have some good laughs, the heart will start racing and everyone will be unplugged.
5. Recycling Crafts. When we can’t be outside it’s time to use the toilet paper rolls. Get out the paints and make some robots, binoculars, castles or marble mazes. See my recent post on budget free kid entertainment or Eco-friendly kid crafts.

6. Dance Party. This is my favorite because the children and I have the most fun. We turn on the tunes and shake it like no other. Think About the Planet is a great musical C.D. my family enjoys.

7. Sledding. It’s fun and youthful and with a big hill in our backyard it can’t be resisted. Walking up the hill is a workout and the thrill of going down is worth the uphill battle. Using old cafeteria trays you can make a great sled! I used to do this in college and got a kick out of the Grist article on the topic! Talk about recycling and reusing!

8. Build a Snowman.  Get out in the snow and play, you’ll be so happy you did. Use broken sticks for arms, carrots for the nose and other food items to help feed the animals to decorate Frosty. After seeing my son’s excitment over our snowman, don’t you feel like building one?

9. Go Swimming! Many local hotels and motels with pools allow you to buy a season pass for swimming. Some of them even let you do a day pass. If your community has a pool, your in luck. Find the rates online or give them a call and grab your swimsuit! The children will love this adventure and it will remind you of the summertime fun that is soon to come.

There are hundreds of ideas to keep the kids moving and active this winter. Bottom line, do something and try to unplug from the television and electronics. You’ll feel better, sleep better and your body will thank you in the summer when you slip on your shorts!

What do you have to lose?


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