by Rachel Wells
Winter break will be here before you know it, which means your child will be spending two cozy weeks at home. It may be easy to keep your child busy and active when the sun is shining, but if you live in a cold weather climate, keeping children active in the winter can prove to be a challenge. Having a game plan for those cold days when you are stuck indoors is key to making sure no one goes stir crazy.
Toddlers and preschool aged children should get 60 – 120 minutes of active play every day, while elementary aged children and teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This time should be a combination of planned, adult-led activities, structured activities, and unstructured free play. It is recommended that young children should not spend more than 1 hour inactive at a time, and school aged children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours (unless they are sleeping).
This winter break, when it is too cold to go outside to play, keep your child moving with some of these active indoor activities. Clear some space so everyone can move without fear of getting hurt or breaking something, and get ready to have some active, indoor, winter fun.
Plastic Cup Building
Children love to build and create, and if you have never given your child a hundred or so plastic Solo cups before, prepare to be amazed. Build walls, store fronts, castles, or any other structures their creativity can come up with. Try recording your child jumping through their creation in slow motion, and see them light up as they watch their video back. These are guaranteed to keep elementary aged children busy for hours.
Put on some music and have a dance party together. Take your kids back in time and teach them some of your awesome moves. Remember to let them teach you some current moves too. Extend the dance party into the night by picking up some glow sticks and having a family glow party.
Yoga Mat Hopscotch
Use electrical tape to create a hopscotch on an old yoga mat. Roll it out when you want to play, and roll it up to easily store it until the next time.
Is there anything not to like about balloons? Put masking tape on the floor to create a center line, and play a game of balloon volleyball. See how long you can keep a balloon up without letting it touch the ground. Set up some balloon relay races. Try a balloon and spoon relay race to see who can balance a balloon on a spoon, or put a balloon between your knees and have a waddling relay race across the room.
Pillow Obstacle Course
Use pillows, stuffed animals, and blankets to create a safe, indoor, obstacle course. Practice hopping over pillows, walking backwards between a walkway of rolled blankets, showing off your best dance move for an audience of teddy bears, and do as many jumping jacks and push-ups as possible throughout the course.
Build a Fort
Take off the couch cushions, grab some chairs, and gather up all the blankets you can find. Sometimes there’s nothing better than the classics.
Don’t wait until spring to go on an egg hunt. Go on a hunt around the house to collect hidden treats, or try something new like hiding puzzle pieces in the eggs. Have your child search for all the puzzle pieces, and then complete the puzzle together at the end.
Keep these active indoor activity ideas handy on days when it’s too cold and snowy to play outside during winter break. Every little way you can encourage your child to stay active will impact them as they grow up, and help them understand how important it is to keep their body moving. Even on those lazy days where your kids just want to watch TV, you can still find ways to keep them active. See who can do the most jumping jacks or pushups during the commercial break or have a stamina contest to see who can jog in place for an entire 30 minute show.