It's not always easy to keep kids active over the holidays.  Everyone's out of regular routine, there's a chill in the air and can be awfully easy and appealing to hibernate indoors with movie marathons and video games.

Kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of vigorous activity a day, every day - even over the holidays.  It doesn't have to be continuous, so try out a few of the following ideas to break up the day and add some balance over the second half of the holiday break.  Get suited up yourself to take the lead and show them how much fun it can be for the whole family!

Take it outside
Not feeling motivated to bundle up to head outdoors?  It may help to know that you can actually burn more calories outside than inside in winter.   You carry more weight with clothing, your body has to work harder to get warm and you have the added resistance and instability created by snow and/or ice.  You end up getting fresh air, vitamin D plus an efficient and effective workout!

Here are some of your favourite winter “burns” when you have snow:

  • tobogganing  = 400-500 cal/hr
  • ski/snowboard = 400-500 cal/hr
  • cross country skiing = 500-600 cal/hr
  • snow shoeing = 500-600 cal/hr
  • build snowmen = 200-300 cal/hr

Outdoor options without the white stuff:

  • skating (lots of rinks with artificial ice) = 400-500 cal/hr
  • hiking = 400-500 cal/hr
  • cold weather Frisbee, basketball, catch = 400-500 cal/hr
  • the park  (great in ANY season) = 300-400 cal/hr

Indoor Outings
Be a tourist in your own town!  Community centres often have additional programs over the holidays and are low or no cost.  You may also find interesting indoor centres that specialize in sport and family activities like BMX riding, volleyball, trampoline's, paintball and more.  This is a great time and opportunity to check out a few of the following:

  • Play centres - mostly for kids under 10
  • Trampoline centres - for all ages
  • Indoor video game centres - for the older kids
  • Family fitness clubs
  • Community centres
  • Libraries
  • Museums/galleries
  • Rock climbing
  • Bowling

At home options
It can be far too easy to let a full day slip away with the kids glued to the TV, computer and games.  Balance that out with some more active options including:

  • Active video games
  • Board games - add an activity challenge component
  • Hula hooping
  • Indoor scavenger hunt
  • After dinner walks - make it an outdoor scavenger hunt or a check out the holiday lights
  • 10-min energy breaks - use FitDeck cards, make up your own mini workouts
  • Timed activity challenges - who can do 5 flights of stairs the fastest, the most jumping jacks, etc.
  • Pillow fights
  • Dance!

Parting tips for keeping everyone active:

  • Block time for the day alternating screen and active time - based on age and attention span
  • Use a timer for activity breaks
  • Make family gatherings more active
  • Be prepared to lead the way!

Use Lib's 3-jar system!

  • 3 time blocks - 5 min, 30 min, half day
  • choose a few each day
  • make filling the jars an activity
  • keep it quick and simple - low to no prep time

Take full advantage of your recreation time, burn off some holiday calories and kick your New Year off on an active note!  For more exercise ideas plus tips and tools to make your New Year's Resolutions a reality, visit