When the days get shorter and the temperatures drop it’s hard to get the whole family outside. But moving during the winter months is one of the best things you can do to prevent the winter blues that sometimes set in with inclement weather. Even if it is a little chilly, with the right gear you can get outside with your family and experience the amazing beauty nature has to offer during the winter. And if the weather forces you to stay home you can still get active inside with a little creativity and a few supplies you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to get you and your family moving this winter:
There are so many options when it comes to getting outside: skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, walks through wintery woods all can be fun if you’ve got the right gear. Make sure little hands and feet are kept warm with insulated gloves and boots. Dress children in warm layers that can easily be removed if they warm up. Purchasing used equipment, like snowshoes and skis, is a great way to save money, but still let your child experience some fun outdoor activities. Many local retailers offer “trade-in” options on children’s equipment or you can search online resellers or yard sales. Many towns have trail networks that are a great place for kids to test out snowshoes, cross country skis or simply go for a walk as a family. And if you plan on hitting the slopes try to pick a day with good conditions and good weather, there’s nothing fun about learning to ski in the rain.
Get Creative Inside
Sometimes slippery roads and school cancelation keep us inside more than we would like. Even if you’re stuck at home, there’s still fun to be had inside if you get a little creative. And if the weather isn’t keeping you home be sure to check local libraries, children’s museums and indoor play places for fun activities that will get you moving.
Snowing Inside: A big bag of cotton balls and a few spoons is all you need to have a little snowball fight inside. Clear a space in a room that has a smooth floor (that way you can sweep up the cotton balls after) give everyone a spoon and cotton balls, then pummel each other with those soft fluffy balls. And when you’re done have a contest to see who can “shovel” the most cotton balls with their spoons. Recycle the “playtime” cotton balls for another day or for crafts.
Fort building: gather up all the pillows and blankets in the house and create forts in cozy places. Make the process of building (and cleaning up after) a team effort, then use your fort for storytime, or gather up a few little toys to take into the fort. Even snack time in the fort can be fun! Have a clear start and end to the fort building so that your pillows don’t get pulled out every day.
Get Crafty with the Cold
The cold does amazing things to water and to food! And winter time is a great time to explore the chemical process of freezing. Here are a few activities to make outdoors that put the science of freezing on display in really cool ways.
Frozen Wreath: Gather up a bundt pan then collect spruce branches, orange slices and cranberries. Drop the spruce, oranges and cranberries into the bundt pan, then add enough water to cover the objects (some might float). The more water you add the longer it will take to freeze. Set outside overnight to freeze (should be a night at or below freezing). In the morning take the bundt pan inside and allow it to sit until the ice “wreath” becomes loose. Wrap a ribbon around the wreath and hang outside. If you don’t have a bundt pan you can easily use a round baking pan and freeze your ribbon into the “wreath.
Make Outdoor Popsicles: A long time ago people used to pour maple syrup over fresh snow as a slushy treat. Try making these delicious fro-yo popsicles as a yummy alternative. Fill popsicle molds with Stonyfield Vanilla Whole Milk Yogurt and maple syrup, alternating between a spoonful of yogurt and a drizzle of syrup until the molds are filled. Place outside in a protected place (safe from critters) to freeze overnight. Then enjoy your outside popsicles inside!