Winter is a great opportunity to get the children to do various activities and channel that excess energy which they all seem to have at this time of the year. You don’t have to go far or spend much money to try some of these outdoor sports and activities, but others require a little more planning and cash. Whether you want an adrenalin packed winter holiday or just something to try with the kids at the weekend then there’s plenty to choose from. Take a look at these outdoor sports and activity ideas to choose the best ones for your own family.
Ice skating is pictured on many a Christmas card and is well recognised as a great winter outdoor sport for all the family. If they have tried roller blading then it shouldn’t be too dissimilar but they might be a bit unsteady to begin with. You will be able to hire skates at the rinks, however remember other protection too such as helmets and pads especially for young children. Breuil-Cervinia, Italy not only has a lovely natural ice rink but also has snow parks and playgrounds perfect for young children. With lots of space and facilities this resort caters excellently for families with small children.
On a list of winter outdoor sports, skiing has got to feature somewhere. Although it can be a costly sport to try, if you are a keen skier yourself then you will want to peak your kids interests too. On family ski breaks children have dedicated lessons where they learn from qualified instructors so you know they are in safe hands. If they enjoy it, you know you will be enjoying ski holidays together as a family for years to come. For families the French Alps are the place to be, with dedicated family skiing holidays, chalets and resorts it is easy to enjoy skiing with kids here.
Too much snow for the skateboard? Kids who love skate parks and skateboarding will naturally like to give snowboarding a go. Lessons for this sport are a good idea and it’s worth a try on a ski holiday if your young ones would prefer snowboarding to skiing. You’ll also find snow parks with jumps and bends for them to practice their skills and play. Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets in the French Alps are all excellent places for children to learn to snowboard. With private lessons for very young children or groups for the older ones, these are great destinations for families to try snowboarding.
How exciting for children! An activity that includes both animals and snow is a dream come true for some kids. Dog sledding is a lovely adventure for kids of all ages, you’ll meet the dogs and go for a fun filled sleigh ride through the snow. Lots of family friendly ski and snow resorts will offer the opportunity to go dog sledding, however the best place to try this is in the Kuusamo region, Finland. Yes, it is an expensive place to visit but an exceptional experience, crossing frozen lakes and spotting wildlife such as reindeer and elk.
When you think of winter outdoor sports for kids you probably think of tobogganing. Short or long, slow or fast, this is a fun and thrilling winter outdoor activity to try. Another sport that is easy to get the hang of, you can either use proper toboggan runs or just ride down a gentle slope. Modern day children’s toboggans are relatively inexpensive or you will be able to hire them as designated resorts. Either way, the kids will love it! An amazing place to try tobogganing is Ellmau in Austria. Here they have a massive 11km floodlit tobogganing run which finishes in the village centre. The top has great views over the valley so both kids and adults will enjoy the ride.
Kids can experience a different way of seeing the world whilst hiking on snow. If your child can walk steadily, then they can snowshoe, so it is an activity for almost any age. All you need to take part are snowshoes, poles for balance and warm winter clothing. Most of which you can hire if you are in a resort. Trails are usually marked and well-groomed but you can try it on fresh snow too. Ski resorts in the Alps are a great place for the whole family to try snowshoeing. You can often find mountain guides and tours that will take you out on pre-fixed walks which means you don’t have to worry about navigating!
A fun and relatively cheap activity to be enjoyed by all is tubing. The great thing about snowtubing is you don’t need lessons, any expensive equipment or even much skill to give it a try. You basically sit in a circular tube and glide down the slopes. This is why it is an excellent family activity to enjoy together. Tubing can be appreciated in many places, but most ski resorts have the best facilities for you to take part in this fun winter sport. Switzerland seems to be the most popular place at the moment to enjoy this fun sport.
If the kids love their bikes then this might be the one to try. Hire bikes with very wide thick treaded wheels designed specifically for riding in the snow. An excellent activity for mountain bikers who want to continue their hobby in the snowy seasons, this trend started in the US has now become popular in Europe too. Gstaad in the Swiss Alps is where it all began in Europe and has lots of trails to explore which are shared by both hikers and bikers. This means it’s a great place for beginners and kids to give it a try.
An easy and fun winter thing to do that you can try anywhere there is snow, at home or away. Whether you are pulling along your little one through the snow or finding the biggest longest hill to slide down, it is all good fun. Most winter resorts will cater for those just with smaller children who want to try sledding. There are even some resorts that have dedicated slopes and areas for snow play with the little ones. Sledding can also be fun for the older ones too, just find somewhere that might be a bit of a longer steeper ride. Best sledding spots? The list is endless but some of Europe’s’ best include La Clusaz in France, Bramberg in Austria and South Tyrol in Italy.
Will you be trying any of these winter sports with your kids?
Winter is a time where you might think about spending more time indoors in the warm but there’s so much to do outside at this time of the year. So yes, you can enjoy some amazing outdoor sports in winter with your children, whether you plan to go away or stay at home.
Do you have any favourite winter outdoor sports with your children? Or are there any things you’ve always wanted to try as a family? If you have any other suggestions for children’s outdoor activities leave a comment below