Chilly weather keeping the kids on the couch? Lure them into the snowy outdoors with playful activities that’ll help them stay active and fend off the winter blues.
Gather the kids in your snow-filled backyard. (Make sure the snow hasn’t turned to ice—it should be soft enough to step into.) Choose a player to be “It.” She must chase the other players but can only step into the footprints they’ve left as they run from her. The person she tags first becomes It next!
Wearing waterproof gloves, collect enough snow to create a dense snowball the size of a small bowling ball. Poke three holes in it for a thumb, index finger and middle finger. Use items like water bottles and soft toys as bowling pins. Have the kids enjoy a round of bowling on a path where the snow’s been shoveled and the surface is smooth.
Fashion a parcourse track by shoveling a path around the yard. Set up the number of challenges and their order beforehand. You can include mini fitness segments like jumping jacks and hula hooping, even skip-hopping over small snow hurdles. Then add a wintry twist at the end—like pulling a sled across the finish line.
Here are more ways to get kids moving this season, from pediatrician Sejal Shah, MD, creator of the adolescent program PowerPlay at Medi-Weightloss Clinics.
Give active holiday gifts. Look for at least one gift that will get your child up and moving: a jump rope, a movement-based video game, even a hacky sack.
Schedule active family time. Replace sedentary indoor doings with outdoor fun everyone can enjoy, like an afternoon at a nearby ice-skating rink or a week-end ski trip.
Set up a scavenger hunt.** Little ones can race across the house hunting for stuffed animals, toys and trinkets. Hide them well to keep the action going.
Check out local centers. Visit an indoor trampoline house or playground that provides lots of open space for kids to run around.