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Tips For Helping Kids Have Fun Indoors

As winter lingers on for most of the country, many parents may struggle to find fun indoor activities to keep their kids busy and on the way to achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The unfortunate reality is that cold weather leads to decreased activity levels of most children. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can easily incorporate physical activity into your winter routine. Not only does this effort help your kids to be healthier overall, it also helps them burn energy, which makes for a much more sane season for everyone. Here are 10 tips for a more active winter:

  1. Play. Parents state the goal (e.g., “I want you to break a sweat.”) and let the kids decide on the activity. Kids are naturally curious and creative. With modern technologies and the advanced features of many toys, today’s kids often miss out on the opportunity to direct play. If parents share the goal and any necessary rules (e.g., you cannot throw balls in the house), the kids will come up with some surprisingly innovative indoor games. If they get stuck in a rut, consider suggesting a scavenger hunt or hide and seek, or set a timer to see who can run up and down the stairs the most times in one minute (check for safety hazards and age-appropriateness before implementing this one).
  2. Exergaming. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends two or fewer hours per day of screen time. Instead of sitting like zombies in front of the TV, kids can turn sedentary “screen time” into action-packed, fun-filled “screen time” with interactive, make-you-move video games from Wii, Kinect, Dancetown and Xavix. Research suggests that not only do kids enjoy the games and get a great workout, but they also are fun and effective for adults, too.
  3. Kid Gym! There is no better season to get in some evening family time by frequenting a gym that offers kids’ activity classes at the same time as the adult classes. Or, create your own in-house kid gym with a mini indoor trampoline, a hula hoop and a stability ball. You can even throw in some animal-inspired kids yoga.
  4. Join a Sports League. Winter is a great time for the kids to try out a new indoor sport like basketball, indoor soccer, volleyball or racquetball. Check out your local Parks and Recreation schedule to see what activities will best fit with your child’s interest and family schedule.
  5. Frequent the Indoor Playgrounds. Many malls and other public facilities have indoor playgrounds where children can jump, climb and meet new friends. They break a sweat and further develop social skills. Older kids may prefer rock walls and fitness facilities…

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