Staying Active in the Winter with Small Children (aka how to eat a guilt-free cookie)

There is nothing like trudging up a hill with your children in tow, flying down it, and then repeating 100 times to get a good workout in during the winter months. But if you’re like me, your kids aren’t yet old enough for this quintessential Canadian activity. So here are a few ways I’ve discovered to get moving!

1) Get the tablet out.

Really! Check out YouTube for some *fun* children’s action songs. There are plenty of them, with choreography. Your kids will love following your lead as you bounce, flap and shimmy your way through some corny kids’ music… for about 30 seconds. Then their exuberance will give way to bland amusement as they stop and stare at your comical attempt to keep them occupied. Bonus points for doing this in front of your large living room window while your neighbours walk by. You tried, so have a cookie.


2) Build a snowman.

Don’t kid yourself. You will be the one building the snowman. And your child will want it to be a BIG snowman. You’ll feel the burn as you push those bulging balls of snow around your yard. No cheating by making a Calvin & Hobbes inspired brain surgery snowman! Bend those knees, work that squat and get your snowman standing up! Phew, now have a cookie!

3) Get the baby carrier, stroller or combination there-of and take a walk to the nearest indoor play place.

Of course, you could drive there, but then how would you manage a grueling workout through snow and ice? If you are like me, walking to the play place will involve misreading google maps, ending up on the wrong side of the road, getting the stroller stuck in an icy snowbank, and collapsing in despair until a nice person pulls over and helps you cross the road. And then once you pull yourself together, you can have the pleasure of chasing your child around said play place, helping them get “unstuck” from whatever tall, scary corner they find themselves in, and sprint after them as they fling their diaper over their shoulder.

Congratulations, you survived! Now you get to walk home too! Have a cookie (and your favourite chocolaty, caffeinated, hot beverage that the play place makes a killing on selling to desperate moms).

4) Make a snow mountain and let them be the king or queen of it.

This was my husband’s idea, and it is pretty self-explanatory from the picture. Of course it involves supervision so they don’t have a pre-tobagganing tumble down the hill. But why let all that snow you have to shovel go to waste? Your child will love their giant snow seat, and you can enjoy your cookie, at least until you have to pause because they are yelling at you to help them down.

5) Tug them around in a toddler toboggan.

This is the closest you will get for a couple years to the real, adrenaline packed version. One of my most memorable moments when pregnant with my son was pulling my daughter up and down our hilly neighbourhood. I was full-term and determined to get things going. (It didn’t work. He stayed put until 41 weeks). If you are serious about your workout, you’ll even stop at the local health food store and buy a bulk size glass jar of organic sauerkraut to lug home. (Don’t ask… I had strange cravings when pregnant!)

You managed all that? Great job! Have a protein bar. Just kidding. Have a cookie!

Hopefully winter won’t last much longer, but in the meantime, how are you staying active with your children?

PS: I compiled this list of indoor activites for ultra cold days when you’re not going anywhere at all… follow me on Instagram or Facebook for more like this! 

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