It’s easy to make sure your child is staying active during the warm summer months when they’re more than enthusiastic to play outside. Keeping them active during a cold and snowy winter is a different story, but it’s just as important! That’s why we’ve created this list of winter activities – both indoor and outdoor – that the whole family will enjoy!
As always, feel free to join the conversation by commenting below with your family’s favourite winter sport or activity.
Main tip: Make sure to bundle up! Always wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks. Better yet, create a clear and quick winter dress routine so that your child will be ready to go outside for daily tasks such as walking the dog, getting the mail, helping to shovel the snow, walking to the bus stop, etc.
Build a snowman
Get creative and build a whole snowman family! Pushing snow around is definitely a fun workout for the kids and gives them a sense of accomplishment when finished.
Build a snow fort
Again, this is a fun way to get active on snowy days and to use your imagination in designing the fort. If your child loves making indoor blanket forts, this is the perfect winter alternative.
Check your local indoor ice rink for free skate days, or check out a local outdoor rink! Rental skates are usually available at any skating rink for a reasonable fee. Maybe there will even be a chance to join a hockey game with the other children!
Skiing and snowboarding
Whether you try downhill skiing or cross country skiing, this activity makes a great day trip for the whole family. If you’re located in Southern Ontario, there’s plenty of cross country skiing trails as well as alpine skiing hills.
If your child prefers snowboarding, check out those same alpine hills for another chance at an active family day trip!
Tobogganing or tubing is definitely an adrenaline rush, and walking back up the hill for each run is a great workout! Dress warm (and maybe wear a helmet to be safe), bring a toboggan, and walk to the nearest snowy slope for a day of guaranteed fun.
Family nature walks
This is probably the easiest way to stay active during the cold months. With so many beautiful parks and trails across the GTA, the most difficult part of this activity would be choosing where to walk! Once you’re out there, see if you can encourage the kids to spot birds or other wildlife.
Winter scavenger hunt
If you’re worried your child might get bored on a nature walk, make it fun by creating a Winter themed scavenger hunt! Here’s a printable example, but feel free to get creative and make your own. Siblings can make it into a competition and whoever wins can receive a small prize.
Main tip: look for creative ways to incorporate moderate exercise in all aspects of your child’s daily routine – every little bit counts! This will also encourage them to develop a positive attitude around an active lifestyle.
Active video games
Video games don’t always have to be a bad thing! Here are some great video games that involve getting up and getting active. Whether your child loves to dance, play virtual tennis, or pretend they’re a fruit ninja, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Cold weather presents entirely new opportunities for extra-curricular activities. Check for local classes and sign your child up for martial arts, dance, indoor swimming… the possibilities are almost endless! They’ll be getting plenty of exercise, learning a new skill, and meeting new friends.
Your child loves to play, so why not incorporate some toys that promote activity? Throw in some hoola hoops, jump ropes, a hopper ball, a tumbling mat, etc. Your child will have fun and get some moderate exercise at the same time.
Classic indoor games
Games like ‘the floor is lava’, wall ball, Twister, charades, indoor obstacle course, and many more and classics that most kids already know and love – and they’re great for moderate exercise too! Incorporate them into your child’s play by suggesting them often, and helping out (by building an obstacle course with them, or just joining in to any game).
Designate a space in your home for exercise
If you have some extra space in the living room or playroom, creating a space just for active play or exercise will make your child feel inclined to get active. Make it colourful and fun, incorporate the toys mentioned above, lay out some floor mats for safety, and maybe even print out some posters to motivate or give them game ideas.
Last but not least is the indoor playground option. When the outdoor play structures are icy and covered in snow, bring your child to an indoor play place. It’s an opportunity for them to run around, get some exercise, and meet other children! Here are some of the best ones in the GTA.
Once again, join the conversation by commenting below with your family’s favourite winter sport or activity… we’d love to hear it!
Written by: Magda Snioszek
About Magda: Currently working towards her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology at McGill University in Montreal, Magda has long enjoyed research and writing. Attending French immersion schools throughout her adolescence allowed her an opportunity to learn French as a third language, which ultimately led her to Camp Tournesol. Magda has enjoyed working at the Camp Tournesol main office for 3 consecutive summers and continues to work remotely for the camp, which includes writing occasionally for this blog.