Keeping your kids active during the cold winter months can be challenging, especially as streets and playgrounds get icy. The last thing you need is a trip to the emergency room!

Your kids need movement year-round to build self-esteem, confidence and encourage teamwork with their peers. But it’s not always easy to keep them safe while they play outdoors in inclement weather.

That doesn’t mean you have to keep your kids cooped up indoors in the winter months. It’s important to use language that encourages your children to play safely and empowers them to continue to explore.

Here are some mindful tips to keep your kids safe this winter while allowing them to enjoy healthy outdoor play and explore the world around them.

The Importance of Staying Active in Winter

You’ve likely heard that winter air can get your kids sick. But research shows that flu and cold viruses actually circulate in closed environments.

While it’s still important to keep your kids warm, playing outside can strengthen your child’s immune system away from indoor germs and bacteria. Getting outside also allows your kids to get physical exercise, work on gross-motor functions, and stimulate muscles that may be more inactive in the colder months.

Playing outdoors during fall and winter also helps your kids navigate new challenges — like frozen sidewalks, slippery surfaces, and things that might be frozen or covered in leaves. And extra sunlight also gives kids many healthy benefits from boosting mood and concentration to enhancing the ability to learn.

Keeping your kids active in the colder months stimulates imagination, too! Snow can provide a new playground of possibilities where they can build snowmen and create art in the snow.

Playing Throughout the Seasons

It can be easy to look outside and cancel a day of fun activities due to bad weather. In the winter that means heavy snow or chilly air, but the same can go for long hot days in summer.

But with a bit of extra planning and preparation, you and your kids can play outside safely throughout the winter. Here are some helpful tips for getting kids dressed and ready to play for every season.

Spring & Summer

Things to Do:

  • Schedule a day at the pool or beach
  • Set up the sprinkler and let the kids run around in it
  • Fill a kiddy pool with water toys and games
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Enjoy a botanical garden or zoo
  • Plan a day of volunteering in your community

How to Prepare:

  • Bring plenty of water and healthy snacks in a cooler
  • Apply sunscreen every hour
  • If going to a beach, bring large umbrellas to stay cool in the shade
  • Dress kids in hats and loose-fitting clothing


Things to Do:

  • Rake up the leaves in your yard and let them jump in them
  • Go to a pumpkin patch and carve or paint your favorites
  • Have a chalk art competition
  • Build your own scarecrow together

How to Prepare:

  • Make sure to dress your kids in plenty of layers for cold and warm days
  • Continue to apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days
  • Have a laundry basket at the door to collect dirty clothes and shoes as kids re-enter the house


Things to Do:

  • Make snow angels
  • Build an igloo out of snow
  • Make hot cocoa and enjoy it outside
  • Go snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding
  • Make a Snow Volcano

How to Prepare:

  • Make sure their winter coats still fit (kids grow plenty in between seasons!) and are water-proof and warm
  • Have hand and foot warmers ready by the front door when they go out to play
  • Stick under layers in the dryer for a few minutes right before they go outside
  • Have warm beverages (and water) ready for them
  • Keep tissues and Chapstick in the pockets of their coats
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently

The Importance of Empowering Language

Being mindful of language can help your kids understand the importance of staying safe while learning their connection to nature and the world around them.

To empower them to get outside and play (safely), try offering these alternative phrases:

Instead of… Use…
Don’t do that! Look at how ___ happens when you ___.
Don’t get wet. Let’s see if we can find the right gear for this weather and come back out later!
You’re so dirty! It looks like you had fun! Let’s get you cleaned up and ready to play inside.
You can’t climb on that. Let’s look for another surface to climb on that’s a little safer.
Don’t take your shoes off. Let’s see if it’s safe to be barefoot here.
You’ll hurt someone. Let’s think: what might happen to them if you do that?
The weather is bad! It looks like we need some more gear to play in this weather.

How you talk to your kids’ matters, especially while you keep them safe. It’s important to inspire your children to play outdoors, while also teaching them valuable lessons about personal safety.

Keep Your Kids Active This Winter

Keep your kids moving this winter — indoors and outdoors!

Mountain Kids is built for fun all year long! With kid’s gymnastics, dance, NinjaZone, and more, we keep your kids moving in a safe, encouraging, and warm space on those days when you want to stay indoors.

Explore our winter programming for kid’s gymnastics, NinjaZone, dance, and more >

FALL REGISTRATION: Priority registration for currently enrolled students opens July 17th at 9am. Registration opens to the public on Saturday, July 20th at 9am. Fall Classes Begin August 19th!