It’s estimated that during the last few decades, the amount of time kids spend playing outdoors has decreased by as much as 90%. Throughout the winter months, the amount of outdoor play time children have is likely reduced even more, while the time they spend in front of a TV or computer screen goes up.
Surprisingly, it can be easier than you might think for you and your family to combat the winter woes. And by encouraging your kids to get outside, they might discover that they love the snow more than they think!
So this winter, strap on your snow boots and step out into the cold to enjoy these great family-friendly wintertime activities taking place all across Vermont:
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On Saturday, Jan. 31, ice-fishing a-fish-ionados will be able to legally ice fish anywhere in Vermont without needing a fishing license as part of the state’s second annual Free Ice Fishing Day. In Colchester, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, along with the Champlain Valley Hardwater Tournament Series, will be hosting a festival with plenty of ice-fishing activities that kids and parents alike can enjoy. The festival will feature knot-tying demonstrations, an underwater fish-observing station and much more.
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The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln features some stunning examples of sculptures. These sculptures look even better when contrasted against earth’s own blank canvas: snow. That’s why the museum is hosting 90-minute guided snowshoe tours throughout the park this winter. For just $20 (or $14 for kids aged 8 to 18), you can get admission to the museum, your snowshoeing equipment and the tour, which is led by an Eastern Mountain Sports instructor and a museum guide.
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Vermont is the ski capital of North America, with an amazing 43 ski resorts located throughout the state that have slopes for every ski level and preference. Taking the kids on a ski excursion is a great way to introduce them to an activity they can enjoy their entire lives.
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Camping isn’t just exclusive to the summer — you can go camping in Vermont all year round, and wintertime camping offers unique hiking and sightseeing opportunities that you can’t get at any other time of the year. With camping’s recent increase in popularity — three million more Americans went camping in 2012 than they did in 2010 — there’s no reason not to join in on the fun.
Let your dog become a sled dog for a day
When you take the kids out for the day, there’s no reason why Fido can’t join in on the fun! A new winter pastime, called skijoring, lets you bond with your canine friend while enjoying some fresh air. All you have to do is strap on a set of skis and attach yourself to your dog’s harness, and your dog can feel just like a sled dog. Gunstock Nordic Center offers skijoring lessons for $40 and has 10 miles of trails dedicated just for this purpose. Just make sure your dog is big enough and strong enough to pull your weight!
Vermont’s natural beauty certainly doesn’t lie dormant during the winter months. And with all these great activities and outings to choose from, you and your whole family can take in all the sights and sounds that the Green Mountain State has to offer!