Winter may feel like a difficult time of year to find an adequate outlet for your children’s energy. The cold and dark conditions may discourage your family from outdoor recreation and exercise. However, there are a wide variety of exhilarating winter sports and engaging activities that the entire family will enjoy. Some of these activities may require a trip into the mountains or snowy conditions, and others can be done within an ice arena. Here are some of the best winter activities that will get you and your kids outdoors:
Skiing & Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are wonderful sports that the whole family can participate in. Your kids can begin skiing or snowboarding as early as age 3. You can rent gear in various time increments — season-long leasing is available if you plan on making many mountain visits. Your kids will quickly grow out of their expensive ski or snowboard gear, so wait on purchasing gear until your kids are around age 12.
Make sure the kids stay safe on the slopes with a ski helmet that offers protection from falls and collisions. Helmets also keep your child’s head warmer than if they are wearing a hat. You can encourage your child and recognize his or her progress through a visual reward system. Give your child a sticker every day that he or she can place on the helmet and wear as a badge of honor.
Snowshoeing is a fun way you can enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains. This is a sport that is suited for all ages and ability levels. Snowshoeing is an uncomplicated sport that requires little practice and isn’t one that has a likelihood of injury. The sport is inexpensive in comparison with other winter sports, like skiing or snowboarding. If you purchase your own snowshoes, they cost around $60 for a kids pair. Snowshoe Magazine is a great resource for tried and true advice, including an extensive list of beginner tips.
Keep a sled handy in your garage for any surprise snowfall at your house. You can also take your kids out to the nearest mountainous area, where most summit recreational centers offer snow tubing. Make sure you and your kids follow the rules and never sled or tube on the ski slopes, as it is a serious safety hazard. Equip your family with all the proper cold-weather apparel, including a sturdy pair of snow boots that keep your feet dry and warm.
Ice Skating & Hockey
The whole family can enjoy an arena ice sport like skating or hockey. Around the holiday season, many city centers have a temporary figure skating rink for the public, with a small entry fee. You can also find a local ice skating rink that offers public skating hours for a few hours of family fun.
Hockey is another ice sport that can be played within an arena or on a frozen, outdoor pond. Inquire at your local rink about any lessons or teams that you kids can join. This sport keeps them active and their game days provide a fun, spectator activity for the rest of the family.