Winter Physical Education Activities – Igloos and More

As I look out my window at three feet of snow on the ground, I realize that physical education teachers in cold climates have a unique challenge in getting students to participate in outdoor activities in the winter. Not all kids are interested in or have the monetary resources to participate in traditional winter sports like skiing or hockey. That’s where Igloo Ed enters the picture.

This morning I watched a short video about Igloo Ed on The Adventure Channel. In the video embedded below Igloo Ed shows us and explains the benefits of an Igloo shelter compared to a tent. While watching Igloo Ed, I thought “that would be a fun way to get kids outside in the winter.” After watching the video I set out to find directions for building an Igloo and other fun outdoor winter activities. Here is what I found:

1. NOVA, as a part of their program on Denali, has directions for building a snow cave and directions for building an Igloo.

2. Boys’ Life offers a list of outdoor winter games as well as directions for building igloos and snow shelters.

3. In this video BBC Survival Expert Ray Mears teaches viewers how to make an igloo and what igloos were traditionally used for.

4. How Stuff Works provides information about building igloos and a good article about the Inuit people.

Here’s Igloo Ed.

Applications for Education
Building an igloo could be not only a fun way to get kids outside in the winter, but also an opportunity to teach lessons about Inuit culture. You could also combine igloo building with a lesson about physics and engineering.

A word of caution about igloo and snow shelter building. Because of the danger associated with a collapsed snow shelter, make sure students are carefully supervised and don’t allow them to play in the shelter without supervision. Once the temperature starts to warm, it is probably best to demolish the shelter to avoid the risks of a weakened shelter.


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