Every good parent wants their kids to be as happy and healthy as possible, and we all know the terrible cost that a sedentary lifestyle can inflict later on in life. We want to encourage our kids to be active and play outside, but with the onset of winter weather, it's often difficult to achieve. Indeed even if we feel it would be better for them, we may feel reluctant to press the point, and perhaps also doubt the wisdom of doing so out of misplaced fear that the child could become ill.
This, the aversion to playing in the snow is a relatively modern phenomenon. As we can see from Bill Watterson's excellent depiction in Calvin and Hobbes, playing in the snow has traditionally been one of the great joys of childhood. Snow was something we looked forward to with anticipation, and its falling was always met with excitement and joy. Not so for the youth of this generation as they get older.
That may have a lot to do with the way life has changed. Suddenly everything has to be practical and have a point to it. Kids are too busy to skip and frolic in the snow aimlessly. It's a waste of valuable time when they could be inside checking Facebook and Twitter, or playing the latest video games. But it's not a lost battle... kids can still be woken up to the magic of winter if we provide the right catalyst, which may just be one of the items in the following list:
Go up a mountain
When it comes to fun, flat snow has nowhere near the potential of steeply sloping snow. Gravity is what makes snow fun. Unless there's an avalanche, in which case it is no fun at all. Just stay away from those and you'll have a great time.
Explore a cave
Technically, if you're in a cave, you're probably not outdoors, but it doesn't really matter. At least they're not in the house and there is no phone reception in a cave. Visiting caves is always educational and winter is a great time to do it as there won't be hordes of tourists cluttering up the place. If the kids happen to find a bear in the cave and somehow wake it up, they'll get that much needed aerobic exercise and a winter adventure they'll never forget – if they survive of course!
Ride a bike
Hardly anybody does it, but winter is an excellent time to go for a bike ride. Everything looks so different that it's like being on another planet. If your kids are inclined to say that bikes are for nerds, deck the bike out with cool accessories like the Continental gatorskin folding tyre, which will make it seem awesome enough that they'll forget to maintain their attitude.
Go to Iceland
Well if you are going to do winter, you might as well go all the way with it and travel to Iceland. Reykjavik is amazing at any time of the year, but winter is when its true glory really shines, literally! It's dark, mysterious, and beautiful. Witness the awe-inspiring miracle of nature known as the Northern Lights from their true source of origin, and enjoy the man-made spectacle of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival. Then party all night at the apparently endless music and dance festivals. The kids will pick up culture, education, and something way cooler to talk about when they get home than any of their friends will have.
Winter doesn't have to be a boring, sedentary confinement to the indoors. There are plenty of adventures beckoning you if you give them a chance.