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Outdoor winter activities for kids

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Mom-tested solutions for fun

Winter doesn't have to mean chilly afternoons huddled indoors. Instead, bundle up the kids for some fun outdoor winter activities (and exercise!) that will get their hearts pumping.

Sledding

Going down the hill is the most fun part, for sure. But the trek back up to go again? That is by far the best for your kid's body (and yours too!). Pick up a sled, available at most major retailers like Target and Walmart, and head out for some wintery fun the next time it snows.

Ice skating

Whether your kids are little or big, ice skating can be a ton of fun. With the winter Olympics just around the corner, kids will love the idea of trying out this major winter sport. Did you know that many ice rinks even have special contraptions to help little kids stay standing while learning to skate? Buy or rent skates for the whole family and give it a whirl (or a triple axel!).

Skiing/snowboarding

Have mountain, will ski. Skiing and snowboarding are fun wintertime activities. Find a nearby mountain, rent some gear and try out a lesson or two for the kids (and yourself, if you aren't experienced). If you like it, one or both could be an awesome winter sport for the family to enjoy.

Hiking

Think hiking is just for warm weather? Think again. "Discover local trails. Even around a large metropolitan area, many hidden trails can be found," says Pierce. Moms agree that winter hiking can be just as fun as warm weather hiking. "We have three daughters, aged 14, 12 and 4. We live in the Denver area, and every weekend our family (including the dog) goes hiking in the mountains, usually in the Boulder-Lyons area, sometimes closer to Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park," says Sherry Knecht. Knecht's family hikes all year, except when the weather is just too brutal.

Build a bigger snowball

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn't stop rolling that ball for the base of a snowman? Well, have your kids find out with this idea from Sneaky Fitness by Larysa DiDio and Missy Chase Lapine. Try exercise #17 in the book, called Snow Roll. Basically, kids roll snow balls to see how big they can make them. Then, whenever it snows, they roll them some more to see how big they can make the snowballs over time. Bonus: The kids can see how long the snowballs last before they melt away.

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