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Have a Fun and Active Winter With Your Kids

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It, Exercise Author: Andrew Maloney,MD

It’s winter in Minnesota, the holiday hustle and bustle are in full gear and the kids are bundles of energy.

When we hit colder months, it can get tricky to find activities for your kids to do. We tend to get caught up in thinking about the weather as a barrier to outdoor activity. Outdoor activity has been proven to have multiple benefits for both kids and parents, so let’s grab our boots, coats, hats and mittens and put some fun back into it!

Some of the most common winter activities you and your child can participate in together are sledding, building a snowman, snowshoeing, ice skating and even ice fishing! Other fun activities you can do with your child might be making snowball targets, which involves setting a target on a tree and having a contest to see who can hit the bullseye. Have a full-filled day with spray paint art! Put food coloring and water in a spray bottle and let your kids be creative in the snow! Building a snowman also is a way to help your kids be active. Take a turn trying to toss a hat on the snowman’s head!

There are a few things you may want to consider as you get ready to bring your family outside in the winter:

  • Pay attention to the local temperature, windchill and forecast. Wear appropriately insulated hat, gloves and boots for the weather conditions.
  • Wear multiple thin layers, and have warm, dry clothing available for after playing outside.
  • If participating in strenuous/sweaty activity, avoid cotton as a base layer. Cotton absorbs moisture, which when exposed to the cold temperatures can lose its insulating ability. The best practice is to wear a moisture wicking material, such as polyester or spandex, as a base layer.
  • Wear sunscreen on exposed skin! It is still possible to have sunburn in the winter months.
  • Playing outside should be avoided if the windchill is below -20 degrees F, because it only takes a few minutes for exposed skin to freeze at these temperatures. And remember to cover all exposed skin when you do have to go outside in these temperatures.