What To Do Wednesday: Outside In Winter

Watching football on Sunday with my 6-1/2-year-old son (as I prayed he wouldn’t notice Viagra commercials and ask “What’s erectile dysfunction, Dad?), an NFL commercial told me what fun it would be for my kids to get 60 minutes of exercise each day. How exactly are you supposed to do that in the winter?

You would think that in nearly six years as an at-home dad, I would have figured this out by now.

Our school lets kids out at 3:45 p.m., and it takes about 15 minutes to meander the 3-1/2 blocks home. By the time we have a snack, it’s 4:15. Then there’s the problem of convincing the children what fun it will be to suit back up and head outside. Then, if we’re lucky, we get maybe 45 minutes before it’s too dark, too cold or both.

When my first-grader was not yet 2 – and started to founder on the afternoon nap – someone made me see the light on the sleep-inducing properties of fresh air and exercise. Ever since, I’ve been hard core about playing outside. Unless it’s below freezing, wet or windy (and really, it’s not that bad until it’s 2 out of 3) – I’ve got to get the kiddos outside. And the snow we’ve had in the past month has made outdoor play a lot more appealing.

But during the fall, I got so rigid on my son finishing homework and “afternoon jobs” (setting the table, etc.) before going outside to play, that I painted myself into a corner come winter. After “work” is done, it’s too late to get out, especially once the snow gets iced over and slippery or half-melted and mushy. The kids don’t mind, but it just makes me itchy to be inside all the time.

On Sunday after while my Lovely Bride went to the gym, I lassoed up the dog, put the snow boots on the kiddos (couldn’t find the 6-year-old’s shoes) and out we went. We took Roxanne, our energetic 12-year-old border collie-retriever mix up to the big field between the elementary and middle schools to the illegitimate dog run. (I saw the PTA president with her dog there, so I figure we’re safe from the cops.) Dog and children had ran and ran – I found a great thing! As a guy who latches on to one thing that works until I drain all the joy, I did the same thing Monday and Tuesday after school – I even remembered to bring a snack along. We broke the streak on Wednesday when a school pal came over to play.

So do I go back to my new rut?

What can we do outside in winter?


4 responses to “What To Do Wednesday: Outside In Winter

  1. Hi Will,
    I recommend taking the children outside for bicycling or roller skating/blading…you’ll have to bicycle or skate or jog alongside them to keep up!
    Otherwise, given weather limitations, opt for taking them to do some physical activity inside like ice skating, roller skating or swimming at a community center.

  2. There is so much information here! I’m trying to remember all of it so I can put it to work.

  3. This is an awesome article, Ill be adding you to my list.

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