Keeping Kids Active in the Winter Months

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Tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Play dress up!

Our friends at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation have given us these great tips for keeping active during the winter when it's cold and snowy.  We've thrown our own ideas into the mix and have come up with this great list of suggestions for you.  It's tempting to turn on the TV or computer a bit more when you can't run outside without putting layers of clothing on, but there are other things you can do that will get your kids and your bodies moving.  Here are some great ideas:

  • Look for an indoor facility.  There are great places, like the YMCA, who have year-round facilities such as indoor pools, basketball courts or skating rinks.  Go to their website to locate one near you.  Also look for gymnastics places that have free play time.
  • Dance your heart out!  Crank up the tunes or grab your musical instruments, even if it's a harmonica or recorder, but just something to provide a little sound to get you motivated to dance around the house.  You can pick a favorite song and sing it together and act it out!
  • Don't be afraid to go outside!  Even if it's cold or snowy, get bundled up and go outside to play in the winterwonderland of your backyard or park. Just walking around the block for some fresh air is enough to drive away the crankies in any child. 
  • Keep it clean.  You know you have chores to do around the house, isn't this a good time to enlist the help of your kids?  You can give them new responsibilities like making their beds, taking out the garbages, picking up their toys, etc and offer them a small reward for being such good helpers.
  • Don't forget the library.  Many libraries have children's rooms where your kids could sit and read or check out all of the kids only books.  It's a great stop on a weekend day and it's free!
  • Go sledding!  Check out our recent article on Sledding and Safety then hit the trails and take a winter hike or go sledding.  This will give you hours of good times and then you can actually justify the hot chocolate you must have afterwards!
  • Do the Zoo.  Most zoos are open in the winter, even if in a limited way.  It's a great place to go to show kids how life changes during the various seasons.
  • Group lessons.  See what your town or your child's school is offering in terms of extra-curricular activities and sign your kids up for something new and different.  Whether it's a craft class, drama or one that requires physical exertion, it'll give your child a chance to meet new friends learn something and if nothing else, get out of the house and run around for a bit!
  • Little chefs.  Cooking and baking can be fun even with little ones.  Check our Kids channel and Yum-o! website for more tips and recipes.
  • Dress up! Old clothes and jewerly should never be thrown away!  Instead, keep this stuff organized in a box and your kids will love playing dress up with all the various fun and mismatched grown-up wares.  You can also pick up a few extra dress up props at garage sales or dollar store-things like tiaras and boas will add a whole new element of glamour to the outfits!
  • Hair salon.  This may only make sense for girls, but if you've got time on your hands, then open a mini salon and seize the moments to curl, straighten, pin up and spray.  You will never go through this much effort on a school day, so why not have some fun now?

These are just some ideas we recommend trying while the cold weather persists.  Most important is to remember that it is not what you do with your kids, it's that you spend time together, even if you just sit around acting silly and building a pillow fort or drawing with chalk.  They will enjoy and remember the bonding experience more than anything else!