4 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities For Kids & Their Adults

I’m very excited to be teaming up with the Physical Activity Resource Centre (PARC) as a guest blogger, supporting them in developing content on a variety of topics, but all around the idea of physical activity for all. Here is a post I wrote to to support families to get out and move this winter – even when the temperatures drops and all you want to do is watch Paw Patrol on Netflix. View the original post here.

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Cold weather doesn’t mean you need to keep the family fun indoors. With the appropriate clothing and a sense of fun and adventure you and your family can have a season of excitement. Here are four ways you and the family can move more this winter. Give one a try this weekend!

Hit The Ice.

Whether you’re a family of seasoned skaters or just getting started, many municipalities offer free skating events over the winter. Dress for the environment, particularly if it’s an outdoor rink, and bring along some healthy snacks, and some water for a mid-skate break.

Take A Hike.

Put on your winter woollies, pack a couple healthy snacks, and head out to explore a locally marked public trail or walk way. There is no need to search to far in Ontario with the Bruce Trail spanning 890km from Niagara to Tobermory. Be sure to stick on the path following the well-marked trail blazes, and take extra care where the trail is rocky, icy, or where it passes by caves, cliff edges, or crevices. For more information on the Bruce Trail, check out the Bruce Trail Conservancy website.

Enjoying a staycation? Explore a new hiking trail in your area or discover new routes around your neighbourhood. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and record what you find! Maybe it’s a neighbour’s dog, a squirrel that’s searching for hidden acorns, or a bird that hasn’t migrated. Look them up when you get home to identify the species and learn more about the local ecosystem.

Overcome This Obstacle.

Keep the fun local to a park nearby, or your own back yard, and create a fun winter obstacle course for both you and the kids! With 5 or 6 small stations, have fun racing through them all as quickly as possible, or for those with a taste for competition bring along a timer and race kids vs adults. In the end, be sure to keep it fun and safe for all. Station ideas might include:

  • Create 5 snow balls and accurately hit a target (tree, sign post, X marked in snow) nearby.
  • Run to a tree in the distance then run around it three times.
  • Slide down a hill and climb back up returning to the top as quickly as possible.
  • Make 4 snow angels in different areas of snow.
  • Pull a sibling or parent on a toboggan to cross the finish line!

Evening Flashlight Walk.

With the sun setting earlier and the dark nights lasting longer the winter months are a perfect time to see your neighbourhood under a new light, the moon. Head out for an after dinner family flashlight walk. Provide each family member with a working flashlight and venture through a local park, along your street, or even exploring your own back yard. Use your flashlights to explore by night and keep safe while doing it. Be sure to stick to a route you are familiar with and have traveled on during the day.

Winter Running Basics

photoThe weather this past week has certainly been frightful. A huge drop in temperature makes that couch seem a lot more pleasing then a chilly, windy run. But for my run crew at Tribe Fitness, hibernation is not an option.

Last week I was invited to speak at the first of four runners workshops at lululemon Queen St. West, leading a 5km run and then highlighting some important winter running basics.Here are three things you should keep in mind when heading out for a winter run:

1. Motivation: What’s going to get you out the door? Is it near gear? Signing up for a race? Keeping your New Years Resolution or promise to yourself? Or what about a friend or Tribe to run with? When that warm couch is calling your name, you need to find something greater to get you outside. For me it’s always my Tribe. Confession: I would stand myself up, but never my crew. Find something or someone that will motivate you to get out there and stick with it.

2. Safety: Nights are longer which means visibility is at an all time low. Be sure you dress bright and have reflectivity or lights to see and be seen. Be aware for the conditions on the road, knowing that cars won’t be able to stop as quickly, and tread carefully while running through ice and snow. Winter running is typically a time to focus on strength vs speed. If you are headed outdoors, be sure to run smart, and stay safe.

3. Gear: Having the right running gear during the winter months can make or break your run. It’s a fine art finding the perfect amount of layers for you and your body temperature. Be sure to stick with technical fabrics. Consider a moisture wicking bottom layer, something that will pull sweat, or slush from the body. Next is your warming layer, something to help insulate and keep you warm. Top that off with a protective layer depending on the specific conditions. If it’s windy or rainy, you’ll need something to either cut the wind or keep you dry. And make sure that top layer is bright, yes I already said this point, but it’s an important one. Gloves and hats are always a must, and for me wool socks are where it’s at. They keep your feet toasty and wick away any snow and slush that might make it through your shoe. Shoes with a more lather upper vs a mesh upper are ideal, and consider a trail show which has a great tread for when conditions are snowy and icy.

The Winter Running Basics series continue every Thursday for the month of January at Lululemon Queen St West. it’s free and open to all levels of runners.

What are some of your winter running musts? Post them in the comments below!