Winter in Manitoba: Getting Back to Outdoor Fun

Might as well admit it, Manitoba winters can be really cold. When temperatures drop, it may be tempting for children to stay indoors and watch television, play video games or click away on an electronic gadget. The result? Approximately 95% of children do not get enough exercise during this wonderful season. These kids don’t get to experience the joys of winter if they’re inactive. Yet winter has so much to offer!

How can we make sure our children stay active while enjoying the snow, which makes an ideal playground? First, before they go outside, you have to dress them appropriately: several layers of clothing, mittens instead of gloves and a toque rather than earmuffs. Add a scarf or neck warmer and a good quality pair of winter boots. This investment can make all the difference for a child. Going outside is a lot more fun when you’re dressed for the cold!

Second, vary your activities and be creative. Why not get out the skates, snowshoes or cross-country skis? Or build a fort or a snowman in the backyard? Put on old clothes over your warm ones and paint the snow with spray paint, sponges or gouache paint. Snow is a wonderful canvas for artists. Enjoy great family destinations such as the Forks, Assiniboine Park, and Fort Whyte Alive, as well as parks and community rinks.

Finally, it is important to lead by example. When it’s time to shovel the driveway, do it with your kids. Give them plastic shovels if they need them. Seeing what we can accomplish together can be a great learning experience. Also try to schedule some free time after school so the kids can go play outside. Unstructured play! It’s up to you to make it part of your routine. Your children will cherish these memories!