Gone are the days of playing soccer in the park or a pickup game of basketball in the driveway. Now the fields and courts are covered in ice and snow, giving way to a whole new set of sports and activities. Whether your family is young, the kids are getting a little older or somewhere in between, there are many ways you can get into winter sports and have the whole family participate.
Here is a list of activities to incorporate into your winter family fun!
Note: As you go about getting the family involved, make sure each family member is performing to their age and ability level so everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.
If you do not consider sledding a sport, then you have not been sledding in a while. Not only do you get an excellent workout walking up those hills following each time you sled down, but you can make games out of sledding. Whether you let the older children build small “jumps” to see who can do the coolest trick or smooth out a great course to make sure your sled goes as far as possible, creating the perfect sledding hill takes a lot of work and creativity. For younger children, pick smaller hills and make sure they are accompanied by an adult or older sibling to keep them safe.
Ice skating is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. If they can walk, they can start to skate. Start off slowly to help everyone be safe, but as your children get older, encourage them to try fun ways to mix it up like spinning or skating backwards. Because ice skating can be done year round at an indoor ice skating rink, encourage your children to sign up for lessons if it is something they enjoy. This may become a sport that gets them excited for the next round of the Winter Olympic Games!
After your kids have been ice skating for a couple of years and are a little older, you might consider playing a little bit of ice hockey. Find a rink or consider creating one in your own backyard. Divide the family up into teams and play an ice hockey tournament! This might be more fun and challenging for those kids in the family that have some extra energy or like sports that can be a little more aggressive. If there are younger children or members of the family who would rather not play, they can still participate by cheering on each team!
If you live close to a mountain resort, consider taking the family up the mountain for a day of shredding the powder. Consider putting your children in half day lessons to give them a chance for formal instruction and you a chance to ski or board in places their ability may not allow quite yet. Then spend the other half of the day with the kids showing you what they learned. Many resorts will take children as young as four for group lessons and even younger for private lessons, so you don’t have to wait too long to have a great family day on the slopes.
Does your family enjoy hiking and spending time in nature during the summertime? Well lucky for you, snowshoeing allows you to experience those beautiful trails in the winter as well. Snowshoes come in smaller sizes for younger children and the very youngest can be carried by the adults. Consider renting snowshoes for younger children if you would rather not invest in smaller snowshoes as the kids continue to grow.
As with any sport played by children and adults alike, there is always the potential for injury. Do what you can to prevent a sports related injury but if you find yourself looking for treatment, make sure you do your research. There are many non-surgical options available now to treat pain.
Many dread the coming of winter, but there are many fun activities available for your family to participate in together. Look for ways to get the whole family involved and don’t be afraid to learn something new so you can keep up with your kids!