Don’t go stir crazy when cold weather sets in. Keep moving with these creative family activities.

For almost two decades, I’ve taught fitness to clients and students ages 5 to 85, and almost every year I hear the same thing across the board: How can I get motivated to work out in the winter? While my suggestions below are made with kids in mind, I encourage you to join in on the fun. There’s no better time of year to embrace a light spirit and be a kid at heart. Let winter weather is an inspiration, not a deterrent to busting a move and shaking up your routine, emotionally and physically.

1. Get Outside

I know it’s tempting to stay snuggled up indoors all winter long, but winter sports and chores are no joke! Spending time outdoors in the winter is a surefire way to stay active and warm up as the temperatures go down. Sledding is a classic way to play, and it’s a great workout. Climbing hills to catch the perfect ride and engaging your core to steer are a total body workout. And on blustery days that make you want to stay closer to home, have your little ones build snowmen for an hour before snack-time or better yet, shovel some snow out off the sidewalk for at least 30 minutes. For those looking to take things a bit more leisurely, an after-lunch or after-dinner walk through your neighborhood can get your heart-rate up all while taking in the twinkle lights and decorations and breathing the crisp, winter air. Challenge your kids to see who can find the most reindeer or Santa decorations. Winner gets the first cup of cocoa! Think of it this way: the chillier you get outside, the warmer and cozier the fireplace feels when you get home.

2. Craft a Creative Circuit

Have kids with different interests? Timers and friendly competitions are your new best friends. Instead of arguing over what to do during winter break, encourage kids to make a circuit challenge that fuses all their favorite activities together. For example, if you’ve got a gamer and an athlete, design a workout and activity that get them moving and thinking in rotation. For 10 minutes, spend time working on a puzzle, then quickly shift to 5 minutes of doing as many push-ups and sit-ups as possible, then take a break. Repeat as many times as you can until the puzzle or game is complete.

3. Breathe and Bake

Cooling down with family is just as important as working up a sweat, and with the new year quickly approaching, it’s a key time for reflection, connection and goal-setting. I bet your family has more than their fair share of treats during the holidays, and making something from scratch can feel like a big accomplishment. With supervision, I encourage you to let your kids take over the kitchen for at least one batch of cookies. Often, having something to do with your hands offers a nice head-clearing energy for thoughtful conversation. Have siblings set new year’s resolutions with each other and list three things they’re proud of from the last year. And while the treats are in the oven? Breathe! The countdown until the timer dings is a mindfulness challenge. What do you hear? What do you smell? How does breathing deeply make you feel? And when the time is up… Dig in!

After all, the spirit of the season encourages us all to connect more deeply with one another and ourselves. Don’t let cold weather put a freeze on family fun.

Written by Rupa Mehta for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

February 21, 2020

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