Fun winter activities are plentiful

By learning some new winter outdoor activities, kids will develop life skills to use as they grow older.

Winter activities can bring new experiences to youth and also keep them healthy since they will be active in the meantime. Michigan State University Extension recommends that youth learn new skills as a way to make them more aware of what is available to do. Starting at a young age will create more opportunitities which will eventually evolve into a life time habit.

Michigan 4-H incorporates healthy living for youth to make proactive decisions regarding their health. Examples outdoor winter activities include the following:

  1. Cross country skiing is a great outdoor winter sport to learn. It not only teaches coordinaton, but helps with strengthening arms and legs. There are two types of cross country skiing; “Skate skiing” or “Nordic skiing”where the heel of the boot is free.  For those in competition, you could end up with a racing career. In “classic skiing” you can choose between wax or waxless skiis. Usually those starting out use the waxless skiis. During the 1930’s the only types of skiing in the Olympics was cross country and jumping.
  2. Snowing tubing down hills has become popular using an old inner tube. Sleds work just as well, but tubes are getting used more and are easier to access.
  3. Sledding down hills or driveways using all types of sleds – from the oldfashioned sled with a steering piece on them to the round saucers, just getting out and getting exercise is beneficial for the kids.
  4. Ice skating has been a favorite pastime for many years. Whether using old fashioned skates that lace up the front  or new skates that look similar to a ski boot, skating is a perfect activity for youth to get involved in for a healthy lifestyle. Figure skating is an entertaining and popular sport to watch during the winter Olympics as well. In addition, hockey teaches youth team work and is sport both boys and girls can be involved in. Hockey skates and figure skates differ, yet both passtimes are perfect ways to keep youth of all ages active this winter.
  5. For those who like the outdoors – hiking is still an option during the winter using your “snow shoes”. Through the DNR, there are classes available which teach how to make snow shoes. Snow shoeing is another casual “walk in the woods” activity that can be turned into a competition where youth and adults can enter in snow shoe races held around the state.
  6. If there are groomed trails, just a walk in the woods is a nice relaxing activity. You can take your time, and still get the fresh air and exercise needed.
  7. If you enjoy photography, winter is a great time to take pictures and incorporate new techniques. Photography in 4-H clubs can be used year round and not only used for taking picutes of scenery, but for your 4-H livestock projects to show how your animal grew. Youth could also take photos of an outfit they purchased or sewed ti incorporate in their personal 4-H record book. Careers in photography could help youth develop a career working for a newspaper, magazine or taking photos for the local news.

For more information regarding MSU Extension youth programs or to learn more about healthy living opportunities, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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