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Students from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management's Developmental Games and Activities class practice the high kick.

UPDATE: Get outside and play

First ever UMWinterFest hit campus with fun outdoor games on the pedway

March 2, 2015 — 

The winter blahs are in full effect for many. Reading Week has come and gone and the stress of midterms and the never ending pile of assignments, winter and everything it brings continues to weigh heavily on us all. Despite this, some students in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management thought it might be best to tackle Manitoba’s annual polar vortex head on.

“We live in Winnipeg. It’s a cold place, so let’s get out there and forget about winter and let’s just have some fun,” says Alex Park.

As part of the Developmental Games and Activities course, co-taught by Joannie Halas and Sonya Schulzki, Park and his classmates organized an informal winter carnival for the U of M’s Fort Garry Campus. They’re calling the event UMWinterFest.

UMWinterFest will be stationed throughout the pedway and the quad, and will feature a number of winter activities, some of which are inspired from traditional Indigenous games. There will be snowshoeing, sloosh boarding, a snow snake toss, a high kick competition, a game like line tag called Métis wheel, and snow sculpting. It all goes down Tuesday, March 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Anyone can participate — whether or not they they are familiar with these games — but proper winter clothes are recommended. Park says the games aren’t overly competitive; they’re simply for people to get outside and have fun.

“It’s a bit of a celebration of the culture of Manitoba through game-play,” says Park. “It’s a bit of a break — when you’re playing these games you kind of forget everything going on around you.”

Melissa Blaine is also in the course. She says the class was originally going to take the activities to elementary schools in Winnipeg but thought the U of M community might benefit from an informal winter carnival.

“We thought it would be fun to get university students out and have a break from the craziness of school and exams and to have some fun,” says Blaine. “When we were setting things up and trying the games it was a lot of fun. It felt like being a kid again.

“I totally forget about the stress of school and just enjoyed myself playing outside.”

Despite the blustery wind and frigid temperatures UMWinterFest had a great turnout. Check out the photos and video below.


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