Unplug from the Indoors, Reconnect Kids with the Winter Trails

238If we look at the statistics, one in five children in the United States [1], and one in ten children in Canada are considered obese [2].

Take a moment and think about that statistic. The number of obese children in the United States and Canada has changed drastically over the years.

In today’s world, think about the hours spent in front of video games, iDevices, computers and televisions. What we are setting our children up for in years to come?

Think about what you did as a kid before this technology was invented. Think about the hours spent outdoors whether the sun was shining, the rain was falling or the snow surrounded you.

What are kids missing out on today?

Snowshoeing Offers A Solution

Winter is perhaps the most difficult time of year to get kids outside. Besides the days getting dark faster and the cold temperatures, winter sports can get very expensive. From lift tickets to gear to transportation, winter activities come with a high price tag.

kids1More and more these days it is becoming easier and more acceptable to put on a video game or TV show, rather than bundle the kids up and take them out. The Public Health Agency of Canada suggests that only 1 in 10 children regularly meet the physical activity guidelines. Only 13 percent of kids are meeting the guidelines at ages 5-11, and only 5 percent for those ages 12-17 [3].  What this paints is a fairly bleak picture in Canada, and the statistics get worse when we look at the United States.

Snowshoeing may just be the answer. At a relatively inexpensive cost with little skill required, introducing our children to this sport could perhaps put them on the path of loving the outdoors.

The great thing about snowshoeing is the easy factor. Kids don’t get frustrated with snowshoeing because they aren’t “good enough”. They don’t tire as easily because essentially it’s like taking a hike.  There is really no limit to what you can do on snowshoes.

Motivate To Explore The Outdoors

Perhaps we as parents need to put forth the effort into re-introducing our children to the outdoors. Teach them what we were taught when we were young. Teach them how to listen to the birds in the trees, how to appreciate the turning colours of the leaves, and how refreshing it feels to embrace nature.

Let’s make being active and outdoors fun again for kids. Rent a pair of snowshoes for yourself and the kids and go out and explore nature. Build a fire and roast marshmallows. Step off the trail and let the kids lead you through the snow. Most importantly, teach them that the world begs to be explored.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 10.08.47 PMWatch the amazement on their faces as they climb up a hill and realize how much easier it is on snowshoes. Watch as they chase each other and fall over and get right back up, and watch as they examine the different patterns that their footprints now make.

Year after year, choose to embrace winter and choose to let your kids enjoy it. Don’t keep them cooped up inside in front of the screen. Let them be free. Get your kids on snowshoes at an early age and teach them to appreciate the outdoors. Build their self-esteem and let them connect with nature. Guide them towards a path that as they grow up will lead them to bigger and better things. Connect them with others that love the outdoors and that are doing meaningful things in our world.

For our job as parents is to guide our children to make great decisions, and loving the outdoors is one decision we should all encourage our children to make.

Vermont may assemble the best 7 and under race group in the country

A few great resources for kids and winter sports:

Winter Wildlands SnowSchool

Winter Kids

About the author

Lindsay MacNevin

First a mom… then a writer… then an avid traveler… then an outdoor enthusiast. Graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Lindsay’s love for writing, travel and the outdoors sparked a full-time career as a freelancer. In addition to writing for Snowshoe Magazine and its sister publication, River Sports Magazine, Lindsay is also a correspondent for Concourse Media’s EscapeHere.com. Beyond freelancing, Lindsay partnered with her sister, Jenny, to create 2HipMoms.com—a blog that combines their love for travel, adventure and motherhood.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.