Winter can be a great time to be active and take in the great outdoors
By Elwin LeRoux
Winter provides many opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities in Nova Scotia. Typically we have enough snow to play with, ponds and lakes freeze over to skate on, and ski hills and snowshoeing trails are ready for action.
Our schools view winter the same way: as an opportunity to get outside and participate in activities only available during this season. Physical education teachers, as well as classroom teachers, take students outside to play, discover, learn and be active during the winter months.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has been working on new Primary to Grade 9 physical education curricula. The curriculum encourages physical education teachers to consider not only school equipment and facilities for lessons, but also community resources and natural environments, such as local skating rinks, trails and hills.
I asked our own Susan Steele, Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence recipient, about her perspective on winter activity as a physical education teacher. Ms. Steele talked to her colleagues and shared some of the winter physical education class options.
• Snow soccer: Just because the fields are not green doesn’t mean you can’t play soccer!
• Snow golf: Kick a soccer ball around the snowy field and try to get the ball in the hoop/ target with as few kicks as possible.
• Sledding: This age-old classic is a great cardio workout. Some schools are lucky to have safe hilly areas away from roads and trees.
• Winter carnival/snow Olympics: These events are similar to the end of year field day where classes or mixed groups visit stations and play games outside in the snow.
• Ice-skating: Some schools are able to plan trips to the Halifax Oval for ice-skating. Other schools might plan to visit their local rink.
• Snow circuits: Students have various stations to complete including “vigorous” snow angels, snow ball target practice and snow relay races. Students love the challenges!
• Snowshoeing: Some schools have snowshoes available for students to use. They will go for walks or sometimes be really adventurous and have snowshoe races! It is quite the cardiovascular workout!
Ms. Steele also had some suggestions for families.
• Skating on local ponds/ lakes when the ice is safe or visit the Halifax Oval
• Build a snowman
• Build a snow fort
• Hiking trails are usually packed down
• Skiing or snowboarding
Over the next few months take time to have some winter fun. Build a snowman, go sledding or maybe hit the ski hills. Whatever you choose, being active in the winter is good for everyone in your family. So grab your toque, mitts and scarf and head outdoors.