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Don't let your family become lazy this winter. Instead, help them become excited about fitness and physical activity by getting them up and outdoors as much as possible this winter. We'll show you how!

Tired of seeing your kids staring at screens all day? The television, computer, tablet, cell phone, and gaming system all make great babysitters for your kids. They also promote unhealthy lifestyles, less face to face social interaction, and take away from family time.

Spending time with your family promotes growth, understanding, and helps to solidify that bond between parents and children. The closer you are to your children, the more likely they will be to trust and confide in you, and you in them. Spending quality time together is the best way to achieve this.

We'll take you through a few different way you can increase family time, and promote good health for you and your family.

If you think that good health is important, you probably want to instill this value in your children. Children require far more physical activity than adults do. The US surgeon general report recommends a minimum of 60 minutes per day for children, while adults are recommended 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times per week. These numbers are the recommended minimums, just to maintain good health; keep in mind, more would be required to gain or lose weight.

Coordinating a busy schedule

The key to getting the family together is to pre-set days and times which are exclusively reserved for family activities. Whether you are planning a vacation, weekend get-away or after school specials, be sure that the whole family is clear on your plans. Depending on the ages of your children, you may have to work around soccer practice, music lessons, nights out with friends, exam and test season and more.

Pick your activity schedule based on the activities you know your family will be able to enjoy together. A whole weekend may allow time for camping, while a Sunday afternoon allows for time at the park. Remember to be flexible and adaptable to fit everyone's needs.

Choosing Activities For The Family

Here is a list of some of the activities you can plan for the family:

Go Camping

Camping is one of those activities which lasts longer than the night you spend out in the wilderness (or at a local campground)! The best spots are without WiFi, or phone reception, if possible.

This helps to keep everyone disconnected from distractions and in the moment with each other  Everything about camping is a physical activity, even if it doesn't seem strenuous. Setting up your camp, starting a fire, collecting firewood, and doing it all with your children is a great bonding experience.

There is a lot of flexibility with this one; you can decide how “wild” you want the excursion to be. Choose between cooking on the fire or on your bbq. Scavenge for dried firewood or buy a crate of it, pre-cut. Canoe out to your campsite or select a drive in location. Pay for water and electric hookups or opt for complete wilderness.

Bicycle touring

Get the kids bikes tuned up and make a day trek through local paths. If your family is adventurous and up for a challenge, prepare for an ultimate race. Train each week for longer treks, until your ultimate goal of a two day scenic bicycle tour with a nights stay at a bed and breakfast as a treat!

Ski Trip

Take a day or a whole vacation at a ski hill. Lunch together and laugh about your spills and great runs! If you're planning a ski trip, you can always use the weeks before to plan “training sessions” to prepare yourself and the kids. You'll get in your weekly family time outdoors and get in shape for your trip, so you can really make the most of the hill. 

Take up family friendly dance!

Don't be shy! You'll all have a good laugh and a good time learning some type of dance, if your children have shown interest in it. However, be sure that your kids spark and interest before you sign up for any specific activities like dance!

Take up their interest in gaming

For those awful days when you can't go outside, get interested in your kids games. Most new gaming systems have active game options, like xbox 360, which offer physical games. This is a good last minute option if you have nothing else prepared. 

Hike a local hill

Most urban and suburban centres have some sort of local hill, trail or park you can hike. Head out in the morning and pack a thermos of hot cocoa, sandwiches, granola bars and nuts to hit the trails. Stop for lunch together, snack, and chat. This type of activity only requires some time and planning, a very financially affordable way to spend time together. 

Hit the beach!

For those in sunny locations, why not hit the beach? Rather than lying in the sun and baking, bring a soccer ball or volleyball and play for a couple of hours. Be aware that the suns harmful rays mean loading up on sunblock regularly!

Wave pool

Can't make the beach? Go to your local wave pool, or public pool. Rather than dropping everyone off, get in and enjoy with the kids. Initiate games like marco-polo or water polo, depending on the swimming level of your kids.

Consider forts

Sometimes having easy access to a fun and private spot can do a lot for children. Tree-houses, ground-forts, or anything which helps the young ones use their imaginations, encouraging free-play. This sells itself, all you have to do is build it. Include them in the process and it'll be all the more special.

Go to your neighborhood park or rink!

Often the simplest solutions are the easiest ones, right in front of us. Make Saturday mornings family time and play at the park or go skating at your local rink. Toss a ball around or learn new skills together.

Spending time with your family will bring you closer than ever, and help to keep you and your children healthier. Teach a fit lifestyle by setting an example- you'll have an awful lot of fun while you're at it!

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