Monday, February 4, 2013

7 Activities to keep your kids moving through winter

Cold weather and fewer daylight hours can make it difficult for kids to get the exercise they need during the winter months. In some areas, families also battle polluted air and inversions that create even more challenges with outdoor activities.

As a parent, you understand the health benefits of an active lifestyle for your kids. You’re also keenly aware of the direct correlation between your sanity level and the means by which your children choose to release their bottled-up energy.

So, how can they get the physical activity they need with the limited options of winter? Here are seven ideas to keep them moving during inclement weather.

Dance. Crank up the music and throw yourselves a dance party. Let them show you their newest moves and before you know it, they’ll be wiping sweat off their brows. By the way, they’ll enjoy it a lot more if mom and dad join the party. Not to mention, dancing is a great way for adults to burn calories, too. Who doesn’t want that?

Clean. Why should you have all fun? Get the kids involved in picking up their toys, sweeping the kitchen floor, vacuuming and anything else they can do to help clean up the house. Tip: music also makes cleaning more fun. If they’ve got the skills to dance while they clean, even better.

Aerobics. Dust off that old Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS and introduce your kids to the magic of Richard Simmons. While some exercises may be too advanced for your little ones, others will be fun for them to try. They’ll be excited to discover they can do the same things mom and dad can do.

Indoor blacktop. Turn your kitchen or front room into a designated play area. Set guidelines to make sure the games are within reason. Tape hopscotch lines to the floor, start a jump rope club or draw a line for Steal the Bacon.

Make a slide. Grab some sleeping bags or blankets and ride them down the stairs. As with any activity, there is potential for injury, so be sure to monitor them. The hike back up the stairs each time will definitely get their hearts pumping.

Build a fort. The beauty of a fort is that it can be made from just about anything. Be creative with this one. If you encourage them to make it big enough, you can join them inside when construction is finished.

Wrestle. Like all the others, this option is up to you. Some parents prefer to keep wrestling out of the house, if allowing it at all. This is also more challenging as your kids get older, bigger and stronger. Especially when they’re stronger than you. I have yet to meet a dad who likes to lose to his son in a friendly wrestling match. However, when they’re still little it is fun to stir up a good match of “Tickle Monster” every once in a while.

These are just a handful of ideas to keep your kids moving this winter when going outdoors may not be a reasonable option. I’m sure many of you use a number of others. We’d love to know what creative ideas you’ve come up with to keep your kids active.

What works for you?

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