Winter-ActivityWow, it’s cold outside. When the cold sets in, my kids tend to hunker down and hibernate. And I don’t exactly set a different example. Who wants to leave the house when it’s so much easier to stay in your jammies all day on Saturday?

The winter weather doesn’t have to turn your kids into couch potatoes. Here are some tips to keep your kids (and your entire family) safely active this winter.

  • Keep track of their time. As you know, kids need at least an hour a day of active play, but it doesn’t all have to be at the same time, especially if it’s cold outside. Make sure they know when to come back inside. If they’re not within vocal range, give them a watch or text them to tell them to come home.
  • Bundle up. Kids tend to like the feel of cotton better than wool, but cotton can get chilly fast, especially when it gets wet. Wool tends to insulate well, so dress your kids in layers with a down or wool outer layer on colder days. Microfiber can be a good alternative if your kids don’t like the scratchiness of wool. And remember, even though they tend to shed them once out of your sight, hats, gloves, leggings, and scarves will help keep kids warmer longer.
  • Set the example. Downtime after a busy school week is important, but adults can set an example by getting out with the kids instead of spending every winter weekend in front of the TV. Get the whole family out of the house. The whole family can benefit from activity. It promotes better sleep, easier digestion, good moods, and, best of all, some happy memories.
  • Head for a gym, skating rink, indoor heated pool, or other indoor recreation area. The YMCA has winter activities for the kids and indoor pools. Many townships in the St. Louis areas also have community centers with activities. Even a walk in the mall can help break up the day.
  • Create outdoor adventures. Some food coloring in a spray bottle makes for a fun snow painting event. Build a snowman with a snow dog. Construct a snow castle using those beach toys stored in the basement. Walking up a sledding hill in the snow gets the heart rate up. When they were younger, my kids loved scavenger hunts in the snow.
  • Indoor games. If it’s too cold to get out, encourage in-house activities. No need to hold a soccer game in the family room. Kids don’t need to be running and jumping to be active. How about a dance party? Play hide and seek. Set up an obstacle course. Even lifting cushions and pillows to make forts or an obstacle course will do the trick. Have your kids take turns timing each other as they do their own mini American Ninja course. And you get some great videos!
  • Crank it up. Studies show kids and adults move more and sit less when there is music playing. So turn off the TV and turn up the tunes.

Check in next week and we’ll share some tips for avoiding illness. In the meantime, tell us what you do with your kids to stay active in the winter in the comment section below.