Depending on where you live, December and January can provide challenges to staying active.

The days have gotten shorter, so there is less time to play outside after dinner. The temperatures have dropped quickly. Not to mention the busyness of the holidays.

These obstacles to activity pose extra reasons to be mindful that everyone, young and old, needs to get a daily dose of active play. Turn the screens off—TV, iPods, computers and the like—and enjoy a Five Senses Walk.

Five Senses Walk
Take a walk focusing on one of the five senses by asking some of the following questions as you go.

What do we hear? Is it loud or soft? Can you mimic the sound? These can be natural sounds as well as man-made sounds.

Can you touch something tall, round, or yellow? Is it rough or smooth? Is it warm or cold? What is the temperature today? Is the wind blowing?

Play the game “I Spy…” or ask wondering questions like, “How can you see if the wind is blowing?”


What do you think _____ tastes like? Does the air have a taste?


What do you smell? Does this have a smell?

More Ideas
Add movement to your Five Senses Walk by turning it into a fast-paced game. Challenge your child by saying, “How fast can you bring me something soft, green, brown, and rough?” or “Run, skip, hop, or jump to touch something blue, warm, wet, or tall.”

As your walk ends, bring some outdoor objects inside, such as leaves in all colors and shapes, branches, dirt, nuts, and rocks. Find a shoebox and cut a good-sized hole in one of the short sides and smaller ones in the other short side and in the lid for viewing holes. Invite your child to arrange the objects from outdoors inside the box, and replace the lid. Look through the viewing hole at the beautiful nature display inside.

The cooler weather can be more inviting and fresh than the summer heat. While creating some fun activities and memories, you are also helping your young child build his brainpower and stay healthy.

By Jolanda Hengstman – Jolanda is an Adapted Physical Education Teacher and an organizer of the Special Olympics in the Charlotte area. She has written a book entitled Movement ABCs that provides developmentally appropriate movement activities for children ages three to six.

What are your ideas for staying active in winter? – share in the comments below.