The fun and excitement of the holidays have passed and that means, at least for us in colder climates, we have months of frigid, snowy weather to look forward. Did you know it is recommended that kids get 60 minutes of active play each day? When the weather is warm it is easy to do, but when it is cold and snowy outside, it can be tough for kids to get enough exercise.
That means that for those of us with small children need to get creative when trying to keep our preschoolers active, both for our children’s health, and our own sanity. Anyone who has been cooped up inside for a few days during a snowstorm with a toddler knows how important it is for kids to burn off some energy.
Kids need opportunities to burn off energy during the winter months without tearing down the walls. Thankfully there are few ways to do this without breaking the bank!
- Get Outside and Play. Unless it is truly dangerous to be outside, all kids benefit from playing outside every day. As long as you are dressed properly for the outside conditions, head out and ride bikes, kick around a soccer ball, or slide down your favorite sledding hill. The fresh air and sunshine is good for everyone.
- Weather outside too bad to go out? Then play inside. Build a fort, play Twister, set up a scavenger hunt or incorporate exercises into your day. My kids love to do exercises like push ups, jumping jacks and jogging in place. To them, it is FUN not work.
- Invest in some indoor toys like a mini trampoline, a mini basketball hoop, ring toss games and bowling are all great toys to play with inside. Don’t have an indoor bowling set? Then make one yourself! Just take water bottles, set them up like pins and take turns knocking them down with a soccer ball–it seriously is so much fun!
- Look for opportunities for classes around town. In my area, places like our local YMCA offer classes for preschool kids to get some exercise and for mom to get some adult conversation. Other popular options are places like MyGym or local gymnastic facilities that allow parents to pay for a specific session so that you can attend weekly classes. If you are unsure of where to find classes like this ask your pediatrician or other parents in your neighborhood.
- Finally, don’t forget to check with your local library. While libraries have the reputation that everyone must be quiet, in reality many libraries has special programs just for toddlers and they incorporate movement and activity into learning time.
It is important for young kids to get enough physical activity, whether it means you bundle up and head outside or you try and get active indoors. No matter how you choose to keep your child active, the important thing is that you offer them a safe way to stay moving and burn off some energy during the cold winter months.