Fun outdoor activities to keep children active this winter!

Want to have fun outside during the winter months with your children? Here are some fun activities along with safety tips to keep everyone safe!

Before you venture out into the cold make sure everyone is wearing appropriate attire. Wear gloves and ear warmers, a scarf or neck warmer, a coat and warm socks, along with winter boots. Cover exposed areas of skin to avoid frostbite. Signs of frostbite are whitening of the skin along with complaints of burning, aching, pain or numbness. Common areas are the hand, feet, or the ears. In addition to dressing warm keep your kids hydrated with water or fluids while playing outside. This is just as important as it is on hot days. A small tip: just because your child is playing outside in the cold doesn’t mean they will develop a cold. Have fun!

1. Build a snowman.  A day with fresh packable snow is perfect! Venture out and build a snowman with your kids. Let them get creative with the nose, eyes, arms, mouth, and winter accessories!  We might need to wait for the next snow (at least here in Omaha) for this one!

2. Go sledding or tubing.  Sledding and tubing are sure to be fun activities for the kids! Select a hill that isn’t too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom away from any hazards such as trees, water, streets, or other obstacles. Make sure the entire hill is visible and free from icy or slick patches.  I bet there's enought snow on some of the hills to get this one in yet this weekend!

3. Go on a Scavenger Hunt.  A scavenger hunt can be a great learning experience for kids. Explore a local park, the neighborhood, or your own yard. Have them look for certain objects that begin with a specific letter, shape or color, animal tracks, an object made of wood or other relevant material, something you can sit on. Get creative with your search!

4. Go hiking.  A great cardiovascular activity for the little ones and yourself! There are plenty of places to check out right here in (or near) Omaha:  Chalco Hills Trails, E.T. Mahoney Trails (Ashland), Fontenelle Forest National Recreation Trail (Bellevue), Platte River State Park (Louisville), Schramm Park National Recreation Trail (Gretna), or Zorinsky Lake.  If you dont mind driving for 30 minutes or so, I've heard nice things about Hitchcock Nature Center, north of Council Bluffs in Honey Creek, IA. Enjoy the benefits of walking in the snow and exploring!

5. Take them Ice Fishing.  A great activity for spending quality time! Let the kids help select the location and be part of packing for the trip. Let them have fun reeling in the fish. To add to the experience, if you have an underwater camera, bring it to show them what is occurring under the ice.  Always safety first with ice fishing, check out these tips before you go:  http://ncn21.com/local-sports/ice-fishing-safety-tips/ 

6.  Road Trip to the Okoboji Winter Games.  If  you'd rather leave the safety checks to the professionals, consider planning a roadtrip for next year to the University of Okoboji Winter Games - there you can enjoy a bonfire on the ice, fireworks over the frozen ice of West Lake Okoboji, bowling on the ice, dog sled and snowmobile races, and LOTS more!

One way or another, we hope you can get outside and enjoy some safe, fun in the snow this winter!

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