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Indoor Activities to Keep Kids Busy Through Winter

Nov 28 2016 | Maple Crest

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Cold weather outside means that the kids are coming inside. It's now officially the time of year when parents must work a little harder to ensure that children get the exercise and physical activity that is so important for their growing bodies.

What can we do to keep our kids active when the temperature drops? Consider the following ideas:

1. Build an Indoor Obstacle Course

If you have a room or a basement with some open space, an obstacle course can be a fun cold weather activity. Use pillows to set up hurdles, and chairs draped with blankets to make tunnels. Include stations for activities like jump rope, ring toss, or hula hooping. You can even make a fun pathway by cutting shapes out of colored construction paper and taping them to the floor, and then trying to hop across on only one foot. Let your kids help with the planning and building, and everyone is sure to have a good time.

2. Play Freeze Dance

Turn on the radio or a favorite CD and get everybody dancing. Then, stop the music, and everyone has to stop dancing too. Catch somebody still moving? They're out of the game. Last one still dancing wins!

3. Toss Balloons

Blow up a bunch of balloons, and then see how long your kids can keep them in their air. For younger children, just one balloon can be a challenge, but older children may need to juggle three to four balloons to get them really moving. Sure, this game might sound easy, but give it a try before you decide. Your arms will get quite a workout. For more fun, make it a competition and see who can keep their balloons in the air the longest!

4. Play Video Games

Sure, parents are not supposed to encourage too much screen time, but there can be benefits to playing the occasional video game. New games for popular systems like the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 require players to get up and get moving. Kids can play games like tennis, baseball, and bowling, but they can no longer just sit on the couch and move their fingers. To win, they must swing their virtual rackets and roll their virtual bowling balls. They'll get the physical activity their bodies need, they never have to leave the living room.

5. Join the Meadows Rec Centre

The Meadows rec center can be a great resource during winter months. They offer a variety of classes, as well as access to indoor pools and athletic facilities. Your family can participate in activities like swimming, gymnastics, dance, or basketball. And, as an bonus, you just might find a few minutes to get on that treadmill while the rest of the family is busy with their own activities.

6. Find an Indoor Playground

Many malls have play areas for children, and while some are geared more towards babies and toddlers, others offer full-blown play structures that are complete with slides, bridges, and plenty of opportunities to run and climb. Companies that operate indoor playgrounds are also becoming more popular. Most of these businesses charge a small entrance fee, but if you're willing to pay, they almost always offer the necessary tunnels, balls, and trampolines that will make your visit worthwhile.

7. Sign Up for Classes or Sports Teams

If your child doesn't already participate in any extra-curricular activities, winter might be a good time to get started. For younger children, consider a mommy-and-me class. Older children might enjoy a dance or karate class, or if you don't mind spending a lot of time at games and practices, consider signing your child up to play on a basketball or hockey team.

8. Utilize Exercise Videos/DVDs

There are lots of exercise videos that are geared toward younger audiences. You can find videos that include aerobics, dance, yoga, and even martial arts on Amazon.

9. Go Ice Skating or Roller Skating

When it's cold outside, a few hours in a chilly ice rink will keep you in that winter spirit. Or, if you prefer to stay warmer, visit the roller skating rink. Either way, you and your kids will have so much fun that you won't even realize that you're burning lots of calories doing it.

10. Bundle Up and Go Outside Anyway

Yes, it's cold, but that doesn't mean that your children must spend all their time indoors. Unless it's truly freezing, dress everyone in coats and mittens and head outdoors for an invigorating walk or a game of tag or touch football. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine, and then head back indoors to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or spiced cider.

How do you stay active indoors at your house? What are your family's favorite winter activities?