The cold weather will strike with a vengeance for many areas of the country. This means more time spent inside without much access to the outdoors. Parents of school-aged children know that cold, rainy, and snowy or icy weather brings days of cabin fever and kids climbing walls.
While playing in the snow helps kids stay active and burn pent up energy, not all snow days are conducive to having fun outside. Sometimes the cold is too extreme or the weather is too wet. On days that don’t resemble a perfect Norman Rockwell winter landscape, parents need fun ways to keep kids active and happy indoors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, children and adolescents need up to one hour of physical activity each day. While an hour may seem like a long time, breaking down activity into 30-minute or 15-minute segments throughout the day helps make the recommendation less daunting. Today’s kids love their screen time, so scheduling activity breaks gets them off the couch and moving their bodies. Even little nerds need to get their daily dose of activity and give their eyes a break from fine print.
Not all children enjoy the same activities, and some exercises and physical activities are easier for older children because of better motor coordination. However, there are exercises and activities that are perfect for all ages and ability levels. When rainy, snowy, and windy weather keeps kids indoors, try these age-appropriate indoor activities:
In the Room’ Simon Said.‘ Clear some space in the fireplace or living room and play the fun indoor game ‘Simon Says.’ Make silly commands that allow kids to move their bodies and practice fine motor skills. ‘Simon Says’ touches your toes, runs in place or stands on one foot.
Red light, green light. Play this game in an area of the house with lots of free space… like the basement. Choose a different move for the player to use when the light turns green. For one round, have the children hop on one leg or somersault. Take this time to teach your child some easy gymnastic moves like how to do somersaults. Even if they don’t master it, they will still have fun.
Dance party. Everyone loves to dance. Turn on some fun sing-along videos and dance around. Feeling really brave? Add some karaoke to your dance routine.
Hula hoop competition. Children in elementary school have a little more control over gross motor skills. Find a spacious area in your home and grab some hula hoops. Turn on some music and see who can loop the longest. Practice ‘hooping’ on different areas of the body, such as the arms and legs.
Fitness-fueled video games. If kids really can’t let go of video games, embrace game consoles! Get out the Wii and challenge the kids to a game of tennis, bowling or virtual dance. The Wii burns energy… and calories: a 60 pound kid plays Wii Tennis for 15 minutes will burn nearly 30 calories. Combining a love of video games with fitness is an easy way for mutual benefit.
Cardio jump rope. Using a jump rope is fantastic cardio—and it’s so much fun! Turn on the music and jump rope with the kids. If there is room, use a longer rope to teach them how to double jump. Not only is jumping good for the heart, learning a new technique for jumping rope can also help improve motor skills.
yoga. Middle school aged children have more proficiency than their younger counterparts. Kids at this age can learn a lot more about sporting activities, and yoga offers a unique way to help them increase flexibility and strength. The new yogi has to learn easy yoga positions before moving on to something difficult.
Of course, middle schoolers will also embrace anything that has to do with screens. So the Wii fitness game also plays perfectly for this age group. Older kids can be a little more finicky about fitness at home, although many high schoolers get their fitness in through team sports.
As the weather turns colder and the milder hours diminish, make time spent indoors an opportunity to keep kids moving and active. Schedule activity breaks to rest your little one’s eyes from books and screens and get their body moving. Fuel kids’ bottomless energy by bringing activity and fun indoors.