Winter is coming. We’ve already had some seriously cold days here in PA and the a Polar Vortex is predicted to visit later this week. Greeaaaat. I know I’m not alone when I say I’m already thinking about ways to keep my kids active in the colder months when it’s hard to get outside. And let me be clear: I’m not totally anti-screen. My kids have tablets and so do I. I think there’s educational value in them and they’re definitely handy when you’re traveling. But I firmly believe in limiting that time and trying to make sure your kids are moving their bodies as much as they can. Physical activity is good for the body and the brain. I know my kids are both more well-behaved, happy, alert, and sleep better when they’ve been physically active. Here are some ideas to help you find ways to keep your kids active!
7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Active This Winter
As long as it’s not frigidly, dangerously cold, get outside! This one is a no-brainer in the warmer months but even in the winter my family loves to go for a walk with flashlights at night, especially when it’s snowing. So much fun! My kids always find something interesting to get into in the yard: collecting rocks, building a fairy house, climbing trees, digging in the dirt, sidewalk chalk, etc. Imagination seems to blossom when you get out of the house. If there’s snow, snowmen, forts, snowball fights and sledding are things my kids enjoy. And moms, go outside with them! I try to play with my kids outside every day. I need the activity too!
Join a Team
My kids both play soccer, yes even in the winter. When they have a team relying on them to show up and practice and play the game it helps motivate them to stay active and work hard. And it doesn’t have to be competitive. Maybe your local gym or rec center has classes for sports or swimming that can give your child a place to go to move their bodies on a regular basis.
This one is my favorite, moms! I’m kidding, I’m kidding. A little. My daughter actually loves to vacuum (no clue where she gets this). My son isn’t so into the chores thing but if I join in and make it fun he’ll play along. We race to clean up toys, make beds, empty the dishwasher. If it’s a game, then game ON around here! And my house gets cleaned up so win-win, baby!
Active TV Time
There’s inevitably going to be some TV time. And as I noted early, I’m totally fine with that as long as it’s in moderation. But watching TV doesn’t always have to be passive DUH time, as I like to call it. There are a lot of engaging educational shows for kids that encourage them to get up off the couch and sing, dance, jump, etc. I know many of you have gaming systems with active games to keep your kids moving. These can be a lifesaver when it’s too cold to get outside. Also important: turn the TV off when the show is over. Don’t let one show roll into the next and on and on.
Turn on the music and dance! The rule? You can’t stop moving until the song ends. That’ll get your heart racing! I let my kids take turns picking songs. This is always interesting. You should try it. 😉
Limit Screen Time
When you do let the kids use their screens, set the timer. My kids will go play their games in their rooms and while I’m enjoying the silence they’re soaking up screen time. It can pass quickly and last too long if you don’t set a limit. I use the timer on the microwave to give them about 30 -60 minutes per day when it’s hard for us to get outside.
Things like hide-and-seek and building forts can keep kids moving. There are lots of games that encourage movement too. Something as simple as charades will have them up and out of their seats. If you’re out of ideas for physically active games, think about ways to keep their brains engaged. Puzzles, math games, and hands-on building toys are all good exercise for the mind and better than staring at a screen for hours.
What else? How do you keep your kids active when it’s too cold to get outside?