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Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Staying Active During Iowa Winters


December 18, 2023 | Katy Moscoso

kids jumping on a couch

I am not the biggest fan of Iowa winters. I grew up on the coast with mild winters. My first experience in Iowa, where the temperatures reached single digits and schools were still open, was an adjustment! One thing that has stuck with me since relocating to a colder state is ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’. Now that I have two young kids at home, it’s important to keep my family as active as I can during the winter to burn off their energy while increasing mine.

Each December I make a list of activities my family enjoys that we can easily adapt as winter approaches. Here are a few ideas we like to do at my house to stay active when the temperatures start dropping.

  1. Put on a short Spend Smart. Eat Smart. video to do at home. We love doing the stretching videos to add movement into our day.
  2. Have a dance party or create an obstacle course. My girls love to listen to music! When it’s too cold and windy to get outside we’ll turn on music and dance. Sometimes we create an easy obstacle course using chairs for tunnels, pillows as stepping stones, and other random household objects or toys to safely hop over. Get creative!
  3. Bundle up! Follow these guidelines from Iowa State University to stay safe outside during the winter. Even if we only make it outside for 15 minutes to play or go on a short walk, our moods are always elevated after we get fresh air!
  4. Visit local open gyms, indoor swimming pools, and play spaces. Check out this list from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for other indoor/outdoor ideas. I’m looking forward to adding some of these to my own household’s activity list this year!

As much as I don’t enjoy the colder temperatures, I am excited to have a list of activities that my family and I can do both inside and outside of the home to burn off energy. What other ideas do you have to stay active during the winter?


Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a mom to both a newborn and a preschooler, Katy loves trying new recipes that are quick and versatile. Cooking meals that can provide leftovers to fill her fridge and freezer is a win during this busy season!

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