The fact that the sun isn’t shining and there is a real chill in the air shouldn’t become a deterrent to families keeping active and spending time outside during the winter months.We understand that leaving the comfort of a warm sofa on a cold winter day is difficult, so here are 5 ways to keep kids fit and active that’ll hopefully have the family off the couch and outside!
1. Beat the cold!
When the sun is shining and the weather’s on top form it becomes impossible to keep your kids inside. Playing in the garden, making dens or kicking a ball around often become a daily ritual for most families around the UK. So why does all the fun have to end when it gets cold and wet?
Kit your children out with the best warm clothes such as; scarfs, hats, jackets, warm shoes and gloves, and you can rest easy as the outdoor activities continue! It is important, however, to ensure you really do have well-made warm weather gear for your kids, as you don’t want them getting cold, wet and then miserable.
If your kids already do a lot of indoor sports and activities then great, ensure that this carries on over the winter period. Unlike most adults, kids don’t seem to mind the cold as they spend so much time running around. Most clubs keep running whatever the weather so don’t be put off by the rain. It is also worth investigating if any of the free clubs run in your area. The FA Skills programme, runs free coaching sessions for children 5-11 years. There is also a Tennis for Free (TFF) scheme run in conjunction with local councils, which again runs free sessions for children 5-11.
If you or your kids really don’t like the idea of being outside on a cold day then there are plenty of indoor sports to try. Contact your local leisure centre, many have specific timetables for kids’ activities and clubs – you may well be surprised.
Alternative indoor activities for kids during winter:
- Rock Wall Climbing
- Ice Skating
- Ballroom Dancing
- Synchronised Swimming
- Martial Arts
3. Family Walks
These don’t need to be dull for the kids, as there is plenty adventure out there to be had. For older ones geocaching is a brilliant treasure hunt style adventure. You simply log onto their website, download the coordinates of a cache to a smartphone and then follow the directions to find it. You can also hide caches of your own and post the coordinates for others to find. It is a great way to explore the area you live in and visit places you’d never have thought of.
For little ones, we have fallen in love with The Stick Book by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks. It basically contains 70 different ideas for playing with a stick outside. Many will be familiar, but there is nothing better than a bit of fresh stimulus to get everyone engaged and it is bound to bring some new energy to afternoon walks.
4. Weekend Days Out!
Kids under 5 years can travel for free on trains, so make the most of it and plan some days out a little further afield. Find out what they are learning about at school or nursery and plan a trip that will not only bring you up to speed but bring their learning to life. The National Trust and English National Heritage organize some brilliant events throughout the year so it is always worth checking.
If you are looking for something that is a little less cerebral than theme parks in winter can be brilliant fun. Most parents only brave amusement parks in the summer months, but during winter they tend to be less crowded with significantly shorter queues, so provided you wrap up warm, they can be a great day out and significantly less stressful than during the summer months.
5. Winter Sports
There are plenty of sports aimed specifically for the winter, so why not embrace the seasonal activities. Ice-skating is a great form of exercise whilst also being great fun for children. Kids will happily just mess about trying to teach themselves to skate or ask your local ice rink about instructors.
Why not try skiing or snowboarding. There are now 77 real snow and artificial ski slopes in Great Britain, including the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead and Gosling Ski Park in Welwyn Garden City, so go and give it a go. Many slopes provide children’s ski schools, which are fun group lessons taught by an instructor.
So there you have it; 5 ways to keep your children fit and active over winter.