By Holly McElwee
Winter has reared its ugly head with cold temperatures and plenty of snow. After just a few days of being stuck inside, you may be looking for ways to get your kids moving. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 60 minutes of exercise every day, and that can be a tall order to fill when winter weather keeps recreational activities at bay. Think outside the box to keep your kids active during the long days of winter.
Turn your house into an indoor gym. Create an obstacle course with chairs, pillows, sofa cushions, tables, and anything else that you can use to make a maze for your kids to crawl and jump through. Utilize the space in your basement or garage for kicking a soccer ball, having a “sword fight” with pool noodles, jumping rope, or creating the aforementioned obstacle course. Set up a fitness routine with a series of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit ups, and jogging in place. Time your kids and set goals for personal “bests.”
Bring technology into the mix with your video game system. Wii Fit games are a lot of fun, and kids love working out with other “Mii”s. Games like “Just Dance” provide a fun way to work out while dancing. Find workout DVDs that everyone can use. Kids enjoy using adult exercise DVDs because it makes them feel more grown up. Zumba DVDs incorporate dancing into the workout.
If you need to get out of the house, take advantage of your YMCA membership. Teens can visit the fitness room or shoot hoops in the gym. Get kids of all ages moving by walking on the track. Let kids use their MP3 players and headphones to motivate them while walking or running. Take the entire family for a dip in the pool and conduct family relay races across the pool.
If you don’t mind spending some money, then visit a local establishment with jumping inflatables. Jumpy’s in Troy is close to home and has multiple inflatable devices to keep kids on the move. Older kids will enjoy laser tag, and you could even stage a family competition. Scene 75 in Dayton also has inflatables for the kids and a host of other fun activities, such as sand volleyball, go karts, laser tag, mini-golf, and bowling. If you don’t mind driving to Columbus or Cincinnati, then a visit to SkyZone Trampoline Park might be in order. Jumping packages start at just $9 a person. Google search all three of these establishments for admission rates, directions, and hours of operation.
When those rare winter days with higher temperatures arrive, send your kids outside. Keep a few balls or other outdoor toys handy through the winter so that the kids can shoot a few hoops, take a spin on a skateboard or scooter, or swing on the swingset.
Don’t shy away from the snowy days, too. Buy your kids winter weather clothes so that they can go outside to play. If the price of snow pants and boots feels oppressive, check second-hand stores or consignment shops to pick up those clothing items for a lower price. At the end of the season, shop sale racks for next year’s winter gear. Being prepared for the weather means kids can get exercise outside more often than not, year-round.
Don’t let cold weather keep your kids stuck on the couch all season. Get creative and keep ‘em moving.
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