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First Day of Winter

December 21st is the first day of the winter 2018! Instead of avoiding the cold, embrace it with these fun outdoor activities!

Finding fun things to do in the winter can be a challenge, especially for older kids and teenagers. The winter months can be long, dark, and boring.

The cold weather and short days can lead to unhealthy habits, like overeating, spending too much time on the internet or sleeping too much.

So while you don't need to entertain your children all winter, it can be helpful to create a list of "things to do when bored." Then, when your child complains of being bored or you catch her spending too much time on her electronics, recommend she pick something to do from her list.

Doing some of these activities together might be fun for the whole family. And, you might find they are some easy ways to give your teen plenty of positive attention during the winter months.

Fun Winter Activities You Can Do Outside

Fresh air, sunlight, and physical activity are important for your child's physical and mental health. So encourage him to go outside and get moving.

While your teen might be concerned about looking good when he goes outside, make sure he dresses appropriately for the weather. Frostbite and hypothermia pose serious risks to children in the winter.

Additionally, if your teen is going to engage in winter sports, like snowboarding, skiing, or hockey, insist on helmets and other safety gear.

Here are some fun winter activities your teen can do if you live in a cold climate:

  • Go ice skating;

  • Go sledding;

  • Go downhill cross-country skiing;

  • Build a snowman;

  • Build a snow fort;

  • Have a snowball fight;

  • Go on a winter hike;

  • Go ice fishing;

  • Go snow tubing;

  • Play pond hockey;

  • Shovel snow for someone in need;

  • Go winter camping as a family and learn survival skills;

  • Hold a bonfire and let your teen invite friends over;

  • Go snowshoeing;

  • Host a snow sculpture competition.

Activities You Can Do Inside

When it's below zero, pitch dark, or blizzard-like conditions, your teen will need some indoor activity ideas. And while there's nothing wrong with surfing the internet, watching TV, or playing video games for a reasonable amount of time, make sure you set clear limits on your teen's screen time.

Use the winter months as a way to encourage your teen to discover hidden talents and new interests. A little creativity and imagination can go a long way toward keeping her mind and body active.

Here are some fun indoor activities for teens:

  • Learn how to do a new craft every week;

  • Cook together;

  • Read one book every week;

  • Join a book club (or start one);

  • Go to an indoor water park;

  • Visit a museum;

  • Learn magic tricks;

  • Plan a family vacation;

  • Go swimming at an indoor pool;

  • Take an art class;

  • Join a gym;

  • Watch a play.

Things to Do When You're Bored in the Winter

One of the best ways to help kids deal winter boredom is to encourage them to be active with their friends. Seeing friends outside of school can also help build social skills. So let your child invite a friend over or plan a gathering with a group.

It can be a great time to practice specific social skills, like making a phone call (as opposed to just texting). Teach life lessons about friendship too, like the importance of reciprocating social invitations and being a good host.

Here are some ways your teen can maintain healthy friendships during the winter:

  • Hold a board game or video game tournament;

  • Host a movie marathon;

  • Activities That Teach Life Skills;

  • Challenge your teen to try activities that will prepare him for life after high school.

Here are some fun winter activities that can be great learning experiences for kids:

  • Start a small business;

  • Babysit;

  • Build a website;

  • Volunteer at your community food pantry, soup kitchen or church;

  • Practice budgeting skills;

  • Take an online class;

  • Visit a college;

  • Job shadow a professional;

  • Plan a digital detox;

  • Start filling out scholarship applications;

  • Start a family challenge, like a weight loss challenge;

  • Get Moving and Stay Active.

If you struggle to find activities that keep your family active, don't give up. Keep trying new things. In fact, you might even take turns picking activities each week for the family to try.

When everyone keeps moving, you'll stay physically and emotionally healthier throughout the winter. And you'll teach your teen healthy habits that may stick with her throughout life.

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