Keep kids active all winter long
During summer break, it’s pretty simple to make sure your kids reach the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But in the winter months, that task gets a bit harder and activity levels drop way off. Short days and chilly temperatures create the perfect environment for turning into a couch potato. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Making sure your kids move won’t just benefit their physical health, it also helps fight depression and improves performance in school. Follow these five suggestions and your kids (and you!) will stay active on even the coldest of days.
- Step away from the screens. TVs, laptops and tablets are an easy way to entertain kids, but they aren’t going to do much to help keep them active. Turn off the electronics and get silly instead. A few ideas: You can transform your living room into a disco and turn up the tunes for a fun dance party or get an indoor trampoline or basketball net for the basement.
- If they are going to play games, make them active ones. Investing in a Wii Fit Plus can help keep the entire family active. And games like Zumba Kids, Just Dance 2014, and Nickelodeon Fit are specifically designed for younger users.
- Explore your town. Chances are there’s an ice skating rink, kid-friendly indoor rock climbing wall, gymnastics studio, indoor pool or bowling alley just waiting to be discovered. At the very least there’s bound to be a killer sledding hill, like this one in Sturgis.
- Go on a nature walk. Create a list of things to find (pinecones, a bird’s nest, acorns, icicles, animal tracks), pile on the layers, and head out to explore a park or forest. If it’s especially snowy in the woods, strap on some snowshoes—they come in kids sizes too!
- Create a step-counting contest. Give each child a pedometer (some are made specifically for kids) and tell them that the house is holding a contest to see who can get the most steps every week. The child (or parent!) who wins, gets a prize like a free movie ticket or a cool new water bottle. Game on!
Photo credit: Marcus Hansson