Winter Activities for the Family

Winter Activities for the Family

It’s winter time. For some of us, that means it’s a time to hibernate and settle down with a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. For others, possibly the more adventurous types, there’s always something to do, and winter isn’t any different

Although when the temperature drops below zero, you probably won’t want to do anything outdoors. Maybe your way of staying relatively healthy and consciously moving is to do chores around the house. Still, that can get kind of boring.

Here are a few ideas that offer a bit more winter fun. They’re the perfect antidote to the post-holiday humdrum when the cold is lingering.

  • Make a snowman (or have a snowball fight!). Moving the heavy snow and being out in the cold gets your heart rate up and may even ignite brown fat cells.   A snowball fight is a sure way for the kids to burn off some steam and lets them earn a few cookies once they’re back inside.
  • Visit a year-round farmer’s market. Don’t know where to go?  Look on websites like Farm Aid to find farmer’s markets near you. Eating fresh, delicious, local produce and other fare is a great way to fuel your body with healthy and nutritious foods.
  • Clean up the garden and yard. Yes, you may have to do some yard work before the seasons change again. This is a great time to get rid of old or dead plants, cut down trees you don’t want and plant your seasonal spring flowers – especially perennials. Before it gets extra cold, get out there and give your gardening muscles a last go before springtime.
  • Walk through nature. Whether it’s a forest, area nature preserve or even a botanic garden, many locations are open and especially beautiful during the winter. Dust the landscape in a bit of snow and the world is a magical place. Walking is the best form of exercise. Bundle up in appropriate cold- weather gear, and a brisk walk will leave you feeling refreshed.
  • Tackle an obstacle course. Is it really ever too cold for an obstacle course? If you’re bundled up and ready for crisp air, running, jumping and climbing will keep you warm. Creating a cool obstacle course for the kids using snow or fallen branches will keep things interesting.
  • Take down holiday decorations. It may not be fun for the kids, but it definitely gets the family moving and working together. Have your helpers store the decorations in the attic and return the house to post-holiday “normal” again. It’s a social and collaborative effort that gets the family moving, even if it is inside.
  • Shovel some snow. Break out the shovels. Not only does shoveling snow get your heart rate up, it’s also a great time to catch up with your neighbor. Offer to shovel pathways for those who have limited mobility or aren’t able to do the work.

Cold temps don’t need to de-rail family fun! Be creative. Be active. Be together. There are always ways to turn nearly everything into something lively and entertaining.

Sources: Shiver Yourself Thin: Can Being Cold Help You Lose Weight?,   Discover Magazine, 2020; How to Keep Your Family Active This Fall and Winter,   Outside, 2020.

Originally published 12/19/2017; Revised 2021