Ah, winter. There’s a chill in the air, snow blanketing the ground, and kids everywhere are strapping on skis or grabbing their favorite saucer sled. That’s right: it’s time for winter sports.
Despite the frigid weather, winter is the perfect time to send your kids outside. Winter sports for kids inspire your little ones to enjoy exercise, and breathing in that crisp, winter air has some surprising health benefits. To top it all off, playing winter sports could help children (and adults) defeat the winter blues.
Only one question remains: which sport should your child try?
From skiing to figure skating, there are a ton of awesome winter sports to choose from. Without further ado, let’s take a look at seven winter sports for kids to enjoy this season.
1. Alpine Skiing
Humans have been skiing for over 9,000 years—and it’s easy to see why. Downhill skiing is exhilarating, exciting, and an excellent way to get exercise. I learned how to ski when I was about seven years old and it’s been my favorite sport ever since. Maybe it’ll be your child’s favorite, too!
There are so many ways kids can benefit from skiing. Because it’s a full body workout, skiing can help a child increase their flexibility, enhance their cardiovascular health, and develop muscle control. Skiing is also a great way to make friends, thanks to group lessons and long lift lines. It can get a bit expensive, but many resorts have a children’s price.
Before your child hits the slopes, make sure that they have the proper safety gear. Give them a helmet, goggles, gloves, and a coat warm enough to keep the cold out. Remind them to never overestimate their abilities. When I was younger, a friend and I accidentally went down a double black diamond run before we were ready, and it took us about an hour to make our way down! Needless to say, I never overestimated myself again.
If skiing isn’t your kiddo’s cup of tea, they could be a snowboarder at heart.
Like skiing, snowboarding gets kids outside, breathing in the fresh mountain air and exercising their entire body. If they don’t know how to snowboard yet, try signing them up for a beginning lesson so they can learn the basics. Many winter resorts even offer family lessons, so the entire family can learn how to speed down the slopes together!
As with all sports, it’s important to have the right gear. Before your child straps on their snowboard, make sure they have a helmet and warm winter clothes. Take a second to verify that their boots fit perfectly. They should be snug around the ankles and toes, but not so tight that they cause serious discomfort or pain.
Finally, remind your child to stay with the group as they snowboard. This will keep them from getting lost and running into trouble alone. In case this happens, they should always keep their smartphone fully charged so they can use it to contact a friend, family member, or ski patrol.
If your child doesn’t have a smartphone yet, Troomi is a great option. Smartphones from Troomi are made with your child’s safety and security in mind. Click here to learn a bit more about why Troomi is the best option for your child.
3. Cross Country Skiing
The speedy nature of downhill skiing and snowboarding isn’t for everyone. Some winter athletes prefer to slow down and appreciate serene winter vistas. If that sounds like your family, cross-country skiing might be just what you’re looking for.
Cross country skiing is basically hiking with skis. Unlike downhill skiing, cross country skiers propel themselves across a flat trail. As such, this sport is a great option for kids that want to explore nature and develop a stronger connection with the planet as they exercise.
Families with young kids will especially love cross-country skiing. There are fewer crowds than other winter sports, you can go at your own pace, and it’s much cheaper than its downhill counterpart because you can ski anywhere there’s snow. If you have younger kids who can’t yet ski themselves, you can even pull them along in a sled.
If your family is looking for something a little more chill this winter (pun not intended), try snowshoeing!
Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to get outside and appreciate just how beautiful winter can be. It’s basically hiking over thick snow with the help of wide footgear called—you guessed it—snowshoes. These shoes displace your weight across a wide surface area, making it so you can trek across snow without sinking.
Snowshoeing is fun, good for fitness, and great for families. It’s a relatively quiet activity, so you can use your trekking time to bond with your kids. Ask them questions about their lives, help them work through their problems, and tell them a few jokes in between. Don’t forget to take a few pics for the scrapbook while you’re at it.
There’s nothing quite like sledding. It’s exhilarating to speed down a hill at what feels like light speed, it gives kids some great exercise, and it doesn’t require as much equipment as other winter sports for kids—what’s not to love?
However, sledding can get pretty dangerous if you’re not careful. Before your child goes sledding, make sure that they’re using an actual sled. Saucers and toboggans are great options, while garbage-can lids, sleeping pads, and pool floaties are not. These homemade sleds aren’t made to slide down a snowy hill, and using them can lead to serious injury if something goes wrong.
Take a second to comb over your chosen sledding hill for rocks and ice before your kids sled. Once you’ve confirmed that the hill is clear of obstacles, set your kids loose to sled—or, better yet, hop on a sled and slide down the hill with them!
6. Ice Skating
I love the Winter Olympics for one reason: ice skating. It’s thrilling to watch the athletes leap, spin, and twirl across the ice as smoothly as a fish in water. If your child is like me and fascinated by figure skating, this could be the winter they finally learn how to do it themselves.
Ice skating is a wonderful winter sport for kids of all ages. Because it takes so much stability and control to skate successfully, it inspires children to develop a high level of fitness. Skating can also help kids learn how to set and reach achievable goals, leading to increased levels of self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities.
Before they skate, remind your child to check that their skates fit properly and to always keep a healthy amount of distance between themselves and other skaters. When they fall (because who doesn’t fall when they’re learning to skate?), they should quickly stand up and move out of the way to avoid tripping other skaters.
Finally, don’t let them forget the most important rule of all: have a good time!
Once your child has mastered the basics of skating, they may want to take what they know and apply it to something more competitive: ice hockey.
Unlike the rest of the activities on this list, hockey is a team sport. In addition to being fantastic exercise, playing hockey helps kids develop strong teamwork skills, both on and off the rink. According to Mile High Hockey, “children on hockey teams experience a team spirit that encourages trust, responsibility, and sportsmanship.”
Here’s some more good news: both ice skating and hockey don’t need to be limited to winter. Many skating rinks stay open year round, so your child can enjoy spinning, twirling, and zooming around the rink from January to July.
Wonderful Winter Sports for Kids
Starting a new hobby is always exciting. From snowboarding to snowshoeing, there are a ton of winter sports for kids that can inspire children to exercise, breathe in fresh air, and avoid the seasonal blues.
So, what are you waiting for? Help your kiddos strap on their skis, wax up their snowboard, or sharpen their skates to make the most of this beautiful winter season.