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Winter’s Here: 5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get Active

We know the benefits of raising active kids, but sometimes it is a chore just getting the kids up off the couch and away from the electronics.  Add to that the fewer hours of daylight and chillier temperatures and no one wants to go outdoors.  What can parents and caregivers do to motivate kids to get active over the long winter months to be healthy when it seems they would rather hibernate?

Winters Here: 5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get ActivePin
Kids playing in the snow.

5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get Active During the Winter Months

My kids are extremely active with organized sports and family events, so an hour or two of electronics on a weekend morning is not unusual, but any longer than that and I step in and within minutes they are gone. Imaginations in full gear and active play under way. How do I get my kids motivated?

1.Right Tools for the Job

We have 2 giant bins in our garage. One is full of balls – soccer balls, basket balls, tennis balls, baseballs, badminton birdies, beach balls – you name it we have it. The other bin has roller blades, rackets, skipping ropes, sacks for jumping, horseshoes, ring toss, and hula hoops. More than enough imagination-inspiring-free-play-enticing toys in there to keep the whole street active whether there is sunshine or a fresh snowfall.

Winters Here: 5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get ActivePin
Winters Here: 5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get Active

2.Get Out There Too

If the kids are having trouble coming up with something to do and be active, watch their faces light up as you put on your snow pants and get outside with them. It won’t take long before the whole family is having fun.

3.Activity Jar

Sit with the kids and have them tell you all their favourite games to play and write each one down on its own piece of paper. Have a list for Indoor Activities and Outdoor Activities and maybe even a summer list and a winter list. Put all the ideas into a labelled activity jar. When the kids are looking for something to do, have them pull out an activity and let their imagination take over.

Winters Here: 5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get ActivePin
Boy playing in the snow.

4.Set a Time Target

You are certain to meet up with resistance if you ask the kids to run outside and play for then next 4 hours before dinner, that will seem like FOREVER to them and you will have lost the battle before it even started. Instead, asked them to go out for 15 minutes and kick a soccer ball around. I am willing to bet you don’t see them for an hour. How many times have you seen the kids totally engaged in play and time simply slips away. As they say, ‘time flies when you are having fun!’

5.New Family Fun

Put on your best cheerleading face and get the kids motivated to try something new. Do your homework first to find new and exciting indoor family fun activities for super cold winter days. Check out neighbourhood outdoor fun when the weather is good. Outdoor rinks, your favourite park covered in snow, a new hiking spot or winter geocaching can turn into a fun active afternoon. Check recreation centres and local listings for outdoor winter festivals happening near you. There are so many family adventures you probably haven’t yet tried yet that might just become new family favourites. Get everyone active!

How do you motivate your family to be active during the long cold winter?

Deb @deb_Lowther

Raising Healthy Kids
Raising Healthy Kids
Deb Lowther is a writer, runner, mom of 3 and wife of a very driven entrepreneurial husband in the health and nutrition field. When not running after the kids, Deb is running in the trails, climbing mountains, training for a triathlon, doing hot yoga and enjoying her evening glass of wine. She ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active together. After selling their first company in 2015, the Lowthers' launched Element Nutrition with Stuart focusing on creating nutritional products for the baby boomer generation with Boomer Nutrition and kids with IronKids Nutrition. Deb inspires healthy families through numerous articles in print and online, encouraging others to enjoy a healthy diet, staying active and not being afraid to flex a little muscle.

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  1. When our kids were young,every Friday evening we would have an early supper and hit the hills,sledding,building snowmen and then stopping for a drink of hot chocolate from our thermos,and them back to having fun.We would be so tried after hours of fun we would just fall into bed when we walked back home which was just a 5 minute walk from where we lived

  2. Luckily my kids are quite motivated to get outside, though with the temps Ottawa has been having for much of winter, I am having a hard time finding MY motivation!


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