Hop, Ski, Sled and Jump (and more!) Through the Winter: Fun Ways to Get Outside This Chilly Season

As the weather has been getting chillier, I have found myself (and I’m sure I’m not alone) hiding away in the warmth of dorm rooms in an attempt to escape the enclosing cold. Needless to say, I am not a warm-blooded person. Weather below 60F gives me shivers, and don’t get me started on the lack of sunshine and earlier sundowns that are notorious during the northern hemisphere winters. However, I have also found that being cooped up inside, even if I do go to the gym regularly and get my exercise, simply doesn’t work. Being outside in the fresh air is super beneficial to our well being, and winter is no exception to that rule. Taking into consideration winter blues, as well as the sweeping epidemics of colds, the flu, and other bugs, getting outside can prevent you from being inside a sunless bacteria chamber for half of the year. So, in case you are now thinking- what can I do? Here is a list of a few activities that will take (and keep) you outdoors this winter.

  1. Sledding! While sledding might seem like a child’s pastime, I see no reason as to why we big people can’t do it too. Admit it, zooming down a hill full speed with your friend shrieking in delight behind you is one of your fondest childhood memories. It’s like a roller coaster, for free! For those of you that are adrenaline junkies, you can add jumps to your track, or sharp turns to test your control of the sled. Also, bringing your dog with you can be a great way to give your furry friend some exercise. Dogs love chasing after sleds, or even riding them! Just make sure your pup is comfortable with it first, there are always those that get scared or nervous when going too fast. 

  2. Snow sculptures and art competitions - have you ever been to a sand sculpting competition? If you haven’t, I highly recommend you go. Snow sculpting is very similar. Grab a pair of gloves, some sticky snow, and sculpt away! As for snow painting, you will need some acrylic paint diluted in water, and a pipette or some other dripping or pouring tool. Just drip the colored water over the snow to create beautiful, bright designs or write ominous messages outside your siblings’ windows. These activities are great for the holidays, when your family might be visiting with some younger cousins that need entertainment. It’s also a fun date idea if you and that special someone are snowed in and are in for some friendly competition.

  3.  Photo shoots - Ok, so it hasn’t snowed yet. Or maybe it has, but you don’t really feel like you’re up for games. Foliage time as well as wintery landscapes are perfect background for a photo shoot. Be it for the school newspaper, your own fashion blog, a portfolio, or senior photos, get outside for a breath of fresh air and inspiration. Who doesn’t love a wonderland-style photo for their Insta? For those of you applying for art scholarships, this is a perfect time to snag beautiful photos of nature in its most rapid stage of change. Finally, even without a goal, looking through a camera and trying to get that perfect shot will naturally guide you to take a closer look at nature and slow down enough to truly appreciate your surroundings.

  4. Outdoor ice-skating - This is by far one of the cutest date ideas, in my humble opinion. Low cost, so much fun, and a perfect excuse to grab on to that special someone’s arm when you teeter. Ice skating rinks are like a more fun version of taking a walk. If you throw the fairy lights, hot chocolate, and fuzzy winter hats into the mix it becomes a wonderful pastime. In some cases, if you are one of the lucky ones to live in a cooler climate and close to a lake or pond of some sorts, you might even be able to go for free and enjoy a much more nature filled experience. 

  5. Festivals and Community Events - Many countries have celebrations and festivals that are only possible in winter. For example, the Canadian Maple festival, or the multitudes of ice sculpting festivals around the USA. There are also sled races to attend, tree lighting ceremonies around Christmastime, as well as some cultural celebrations like the Chinese New Year. These public events are a great opportunity to get to know your community better, or learn something new about the cultures of others (even within the United States!), and broaden your horizons. Not to mention the food tends to be delicious. :) 

Now, obviously, there are many other winter activities you could partake in that are equally fun, such as cross country or downhill skiing, snowball fights, snowman building, hockey and more. I wanted to focus on activities that are not sports or physical activity in this article. The outdoors are such an important player in our mental state and health, and I would love for you guys to be able to associate them with fond memories and want to get outside as often as possible. The activities listed above are specifically not sports related because it is important to realize that being outside does not necessarily mean vigorous physical activity. Rather, it’s a good time to share with family and friends, or a peaceful getaway if you need a moment to yourself. This winter, I have decided to use nature as my booster and healer, and I encourage you to try it too!

 

 Sources: 1, 2, 3, 45