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5 Ways to Stay Active All Winter Long

Motivating the whole family to get active can be difficult – and during a long and frosty Canadian winter, it can be even tougher. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to help you and your little ones make the most of the season – from traditional sports and activities to ideas that are novel and new.

Before you take part in any outdoor activity, however, be sure that you and your family are prepared. That means dressing in layers to make warming up – or cooling down – easy by removing (or adding) a layer at a time. Inner layers that absorb moisture and outer layers that repel wind and water are best. Hats, mittens, thick socks and winter boots are essential to protect parts that are most prone to frostbite. And just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your kids don’t need to stay hydrated. Ensure they’re packing water along with their hats and mitts to maximize their time outdoors.

1. Ice is nice

There are few things more Canadian than ice-skating. If you’re enterprising, you could floor the backyard for a homemade rink; however, there are lots of well-lit public rinks across the country for skating after school or on weekends. Make skating an outing for the entire family and reward yourselves with hot chocolate at the rink or at home afterwards! Choose comfortable skates that provide ankle support – and don’t forget a hockey helmet for your younger or less experienced skaters.

2. Snowball toss

Think of this activity as a winter-friendly outdoor version of darts. Simply create a target in the snow with food colouring – either with an “X” or a ring of concentric circles with a red bulls-eye in the middle. Then roll up some snowballs (either by hand or with a Sno-baller) and take your best shot!

3. Double your shovels

Shoveling snow can be an onerous winter task. But all it takes is a change in perspective to make shoveling a form of artistic expression. Seriously! Give your kids children-sized shovels and encourage them to create paths or fun patterns in the snow. Allow them to shovel portions of the driveway or sidewalk while you concentrate on the areas that need to be cleared. Once you’re all done, admire your collective handiwork!

4. Geocache it!

Remember scavenger hunts? Well here’s today’s high-tech equivalent: geocaching. Using a handheld geocache or the GPS finder on your smartphone, you either hide or seek treasures (or “caches”) based on their GPS coordinates. You can either take part in the global community’s geocaches (via geocaching.com) or hide your own treasures (while recording the GPS coordinates) for your family to find together. It’s free, it gets everyone outside exploring the neighbourhood and it can even inspire your kids to continue “geocaching” in warmer weather.

5. (Snow) Man up

Winter can be an opportunity to do things you can’t do in summer – such as building a snowman with the entire family. If the weather’s cooperative, you can even build a snow family to mirror your own! You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how good a workout building snowmen, snow forts or even making snow angels can be.

How do you like to keep your family active in the cold winter months?
Let us know in the comments below.

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