Fun Ideas for Teaching Kids to Move on Snow and Ice
The cold weather is coming (Shhhh don’t tell Saskatchewan!) and it’s time to think about different ways to get our kids outside during the winter months. There’s lots of great reasons to get the whole family outside in winter; breathing fresh air, staying active, soaking in some vitamin D, building confidence in all weather and preventing injuries. If we can run, hop, throw, catch, jump, and balance our bodies in various ways, then we can learn to push, glide, and stop on ice, as well as slide, jump, and climb in snow. But before our children can fully participate in fun winter activities like skiing, skating and hockey, we need to first develop their fundamental movement skills specific to moving on ice and snow. Here are some “Bowenized” fun ideas, to do inside in preparation for the good times:
These are the basic movements of ice skating, but they also apply to skiing. Have your child mimic these movements on a smooth floor while wearing socks, or try a pair of plastic bags over socks! Have them lean forward slightly and push their feet across the floor. Then once you get to the rink, they’ll be better prepared to move on ice. Have them hold onto you or a skate trainer for the those first sure-to-be wobbly steps on ice skates.
The next step is learning to stop. Start with your knees bent and feet together and push them out to one side and step with the inside foot in the opposite direction. This hockey-stop movement works for both skates and downhill skis. Be sure to practice “stopping” on both sides equally, on and off the ice/snow.
Building a snowman is a fun winter activity that doesn’t require much. You just need outdoor space and some good snow. Taking big steps and learning how it feels to move and balance in snow are great skills to navigate the winter months and the earlier kids learn them, the better. So strap on a pair of winter boots and bring Frosty to life!
When kids learn to master moving on ice and snow, winter opens up a world of fun for the whole family. So let’s embrace the cold and enjoy activities that can lead to a lifetime of fitness and fun!