When cooler weather sets in, you can't rely on taking your child outside to run and play in order to keep him or her fit and active. Regular activity, however, is critical for keeping your child as healthy as possible. Making exercise part of your routine could even help stave off some of the cold and flu germs that are so prevalent in the winter months. Figuring out how to keep your child active when it's so cold that you don't want to be outside for more than a few minutes is a challenge that many parents struggle with all winter long.
Break Out the Video Games
Wait, what? Yes, that's right! There are video games that will help keep your child active during the cold winter months. From the Just Dance games to the Wii Fit line, there are plenty of video games that are designed to encourage regular movement and keep your child active. For an added incentive, try issuing your child a challenge. Which of you can get the highest score? Who has the best Wii Sports golf swing? The more you play together, the more active everyone in the family will be.
Use the Garage
If you have a garage, you've already got an advantage in keeping your child active. Once you pull your car out, you have a huge space that's perfect for a variety of games and activities. Try some of the following:
- Jumping rope
- Taping a line on the floor and dancing, hopping, or doing funny steps down it
- Playing indoor basketball with laundry baskets and crumpled paper or rolled socks as the ball
- Breaking out a workout video that your kids will enjoy doing with you - yoga and dance videos are popular with many kids
- Put together a game of balloon volleyball
- Create a beanbag toss game
Play Active Games
Get the kids off the couch and try playing games that will get everyone moving. Animal charades is one great way to get the kids moving and giggling at the same time. You could also try having a "freeze frame" dance party, where you play music and dance crazily until someone stops the music. Then, everyone freezes where they stand. Or try the old classic, "The Floor is Lava." Fill your living room with cushions and towels and jump from one to the next, trying your best not to step on the floor. If all else fails, just turn up the music and get silly and dance together. You don't have to head outside to get moving together as a family!
Get Out of the House
If you're starting to feel more than a little stir crazy, bundle the kids up and get out of the house. There are plenty of great indoor activities in your neighborhood, which may include:
- Visiting a gym where you can play a game of pickup basketball
- Checking out an indoor bounce house
- Heading in for a game of laser tag
- Going bowling together as a family
- Finding an indoor rock climbing wall
- Visiting a local roller rink for a few hours of roller skating
As the temperature drops, it can be tempting to huddle indoors around the television or snuggle up with a good book. Keeping your kids healthy and active, however, means finding creative ways to keep them in motion throughout the winter months. No matter how cold it is outside, you can warm up together and keep all of you moving and grooving with some of these great strategies. Here's to a healthy, active winter!