Winterize Your Family’s Movement

Whether you’ve got a whole family to keep moving or just yourself, the winter can be a challenge for daily movement.

The cold, rains, wind, and snow tend to keep us not only indoors, where it’s cozy, but also keep us more sedentary.

Luckily, our friend Heidi has some great tips to winterize your movement!

Winterize Your Family’s Movement

How to help your family move more this winter

by Heidi Goodreau, our friend, a busy mom, and a longtime Eat Move Live 365 Community Member

I was born and raised in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

When you grow up here, you understand the word ‘cold’ in winter means anything from single digits to below zero.

There is a Scandinavian adage that works anywhere you have a real winter:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”

So, let’s start there!


Dress for the weather tips

Tip #1: Layers and warm socks

Wool is popular for a reason, and merino wool is easy to care for. The SmartWool  brand is a family favorite.

Tip #2: Warm + waterproof boots

I cannot stress this enough. I wear Manitobah Mukluks. Seriously great, even at -25 degrees.

We do compromise our “barefoot/minimal” footwear for warmth and waterproof in the winter. I do my best for the kids, which has been the Merrell Snow Bank 2.0, which are flat, warm, and waterproof.

Tip #3: Windproof clothes

A windproof, down insulated cover the butt parka for deep winter so you can keep walking outside. (Add in a hat, waterproof mittens, and a scarf.

Tip #4: Warm pants

Warm pants are often overlooked. Layers are key, but so is keeping mobility, so I like to add a wool base layer, fleece-lined leggings).

Snow/Ski/Snowboard pants are great for added warmth and waterproofness.

Now, how to get the kids outside!

Bribe them…

I know, I know. Not ideal, but you’re trying to make the good outweigh the ‘bad.’ Eventually, they’ll just enjoy the outdoors!

Hot drinks

My preferred way is to bring them cocoa or cider.  This is pretty much foolproof.

Add graham crackers or a healthy side for the cocoa.  Ginger thins go great with cider.

You can do this post-walk or activity OR even more fun is to take cocoa to go in a hydro-flask or something that will keep it warm on the go.

Night walks

Night walks can be way more exciting than day walks. Plus, if you are in the north, it gets dark at like 4pm, so take advantage of it.

Name your walks, and do them often so it becomes a ritual.

We call them ‘night walks’ or ‘danger walks.’ I borrowed the danger part from friends with kiddos in Colorado, even though there is literally NOTHING dangerous about the walks.

Add flashlights, lanterns, twinkle lights. candles in a jar, Jedi lightsabers. Make going for walks cool.

Anytime walks

Let the kids lead. They can choose the way, find snowballs, sticks, etc. to play with, or find their favorite trees or spots.

Scavenger hunts are always fun, night or day!

Take a break to build a snowman, snow sculpture, or snow fort.

Make outdoor time normal

Keep walks short, but frequent.

Take short walks even if it is below zero so you don’t go bat-s%%% crazy in the house.

You can literally just go around the block if it’s really, really cold.

Walk them home from school

Setup lights in the backyard so you can have nighttime play.

Remember, a little bonfire can add to the magic, and keep everyone outside more/longer.

Ideas to move more inside in the winter

Indoor movement is often a challenge, but adding a few tools to the house can go a long way!

  • Indoor monkey bars (add TRX straps or ninja line)
  • Create obstacle courses, pillow trains
  • Balance boards
  • Mini trampoline (rebounder)
  • Hanging bar
  • Build pillow forts or blanket tents
  • Play games on the floor instead of at the kitchen table
  • Play games that have movement built in like Twister or Silly Street.
  • Go Noodle – check it out on youtube, below


Tips for managing screen time

Reducing screen time can be super hard especially if your child is not doing in-person learning from school.

  1. Give/set time limits and be firm. You are the boss mom and dad.
  2. Screen time only on weekends (non-school days/nights).
  3. Break up screen time with movement breaks or change seating style.
  4. Movement first, screen time after. Or make a movement ‘intermission’.
  5. Chores/homework before screen time.

Is it possible to build in a ‘recess’ or walk before/after/during the virtual school day?

Hikes/walks/outdoor adventures for a large portion of the day make movie time, video games, or tv shows afterward more satisfying and rewarding.

Video games, tv, etc can still be off-limits during the virtual school week and saved for weekends, but I know this is dependent on your family’s needs/circumstances. Give yourself some grace during this pandemic.

Reducing screen time can be harder in the winter

Remember that you (the adult) also need to manage your screen time. 😋

Take screen (eye) breaks as often as possible to look around the room and out the window.

Get up and move around the house or go outside even if it’s just 5 minutes for fresh air and a stretch.

If you have kids, don’t send them out to play when you can play with them!

I hope this helps generate some winter movement ideas

These are some things that I do with my family, and they’ve worked well for us.

By all means, we are not perfect. My kids, like most, love to gorge on Minecraft and Netflix kids programs.

But, since we’ve started our night walks after dinner, they’ve become a family tradition. We try to do them every night during the school week.

Enjoy your winter of more movement!


How about 10 more great tips to get outside this season?

Get the tips here or with the button below.

If you want to get to know Heidi, you can find her in our Eat Move Live 365 Community or follow her on Instagram!

Heidi Goodreau on Instagram

Our Eat Move Live 365 Community

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