As the temperature starts to drop, all those fun afternoons outside usually come to an end too. But what if this year, you could get your kids interested in a new sport – a winter sport. Sure, football and soccer get all the glory during the warm weather months but it turns out that winter sports are a whole lot more fun. Your little ones will love learning a new sport and you’ll love that they get to burn off all that extra energy. Follow this guide to choosing the right winter sport for your family and watch as your kids shine as bright as snow.
Ice skating is a great alternative to rollerskating or rollerblading. Have your children head to a rink to take a few private lessons to understand the difference that occurs when you’re on the ice. Then, let them spend hours of fun skating around the ice and warming up by the fireplace with hot cocoa. If you have a little one that loves adventure then ice hockey may be for them. Hockey is played on ice and consists of two teams trying to score the most goals. Both ice skating and ice hockey can be played on approved outdoor ice rinks, just make sure your rink is fully approved for skating before allowing your children to go. Elbow and knee pads and a helmet are also a necessity for both sports. Another fun ice activity is curling, which works a little bit like shuffleboard and quickly growing in popularity.
Hitting fresh powder for skiing and snowboarding is one of the most fun activities your children can experience. Designated areas for skiing are available throughout the country and most have beginner trails for little ones. Just make sure you call and set up a coaching session ahead of time. You’ll want to make sure your children get proper instruction before hitting the slopes. Snowboarding is harder for some people to master but it sure is worth a try. Think surfing on snow! So much fun! It’s also very important to make sure that you buy your children tight-fitting clothes that also keep them warm.
Other great snow activities include sledding, sleigh riding and snow tubing. These consist of hills around your neighborhood where you can ride down when it snows. There are also designated snow tubing resorts where you can slide down mountainous slopes and get pulled back up to the top. It’s like River Tubing but on the snow. When doing these activities, you’ll just want to make sure your children are bundled up. Safety should also be of the utmost importance. Teach them the safe ways to sled (on their bottom) and the things they need to watch out for (crossing roads, falling trees, and loss of visibility) before you let them head out to play.
Even if you’re not playing a sport, there are great ways to exercise in the winter weather. Snowshoeing is an activity that’s like hiking but in the snow. You’ll always want to go in a group and stick to designated snowshoeing areas, going alone or on unknown trails is very dangerous. Another fun way to have some winter fun is to practice dog sledding. A fun northern sport, you can practice getting pulled by powerful snow dogs while they’re on break from their yearly migration races. Birdwatching for winter species is also a fun way to get out into nature and experience the winter months first hand.
Bring It In
If your child misses organized sports, there are several team sports available during the winter months. Volleyball, basketball, karate and wrestling are fun ways to keep in shape and keep busy while learning a new skill. These sports are available through schools, community centers, churches or private leagues. The off-season is also a great time to build up muscle strength through indoor workouts including swimming, weightlifting and indoor track running. You can also try indoor rock-climbing or visiting a local bouncy house which helps to keep endurance up. There are also indoor roller rinks, trapeze classes, and bowling lanes. Pretty much anything you want to experience is available indoors if you know where to look and if you think outside the box.
Just like any spring and summer sport, make sure you keep safety in the forefront of your mind. You should still make sure your children stay hydrated throughout the day. You also want to make sure that they get a good meal before heading out, as snow play can burn more calories than normal outdoor play. Make sure they still wear sunscreen for outside play. Winter elements like snow and ice can reflect the sun making burns worse. You’ll also want to ensure your children have the up-to-date and correct equipment. Make sure all outdoor skating rinks are approved by the state and make sure to supervise the length of time your children are playing in the cold weather. For lower temps, your child should come in every 30 minutes for a break.
Winter sports are a great way to keep children in shape and let them burn off extra energy. It’s also great to beat the boredom while they’re home on winter break. Winter play also teaches them new life skills, encourages them to work together with others and lets them create memories that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Most importantly, though, winter sports allow children to get outside and have some good old-fashioned fun. There’s nothing better than that!