We know that children who are physically active are much less likely to be overweight. Exercise is a great way to promote cardiovascular fitness; increase coordination, flexibility, and muscle strength; and generally improve health and mental well-being. There are many well-known, well-publicized, and highly promoted benefits to exercise that go beyond any question of weight loss.
But when the weather outside is frightful and going outside to play is far from delightful, how can the kids get the exercise they need? Here are some wonderful ideas from Dr. Patricia’s book Fit Kids Revolution:
Indoor Activities for Rainy or Cold Days
- Play hide-and-go-seek.
- Follow a workout video (If you can, do it with your teens, who may especially enjoy this.)
- Play Simon Says with exercises.
- Practice hula-hooping.
- Jump rope.
- Imitate animals: bear crawl, hop like a bunny, alligator walk, crab walk, jump high like a kangaroo, spin like the Tasmanian devil, run like the roadrunner, fly like a bird flapping its wings, or frog jump (great for younger children).
- Play duck, duck, goose.
- Dance the hokey-pokey.
- Wheelbarrow with a partner.
- Stretch: touch your toes, be a flamingo, have an elephant trunk, pull your elbow behind your head with your other arm, or circle your arms.
- Make an indoor obstacle course.
- Play musical chairs.
- Practice balance activities: stand on one foot, stand on one toe, or do handstands.
- Have a pillow fight.
If you can get the kids bundled up enough to deal with the cold weather, try getting outside to make a snowman and snow forts or have a snowball fight. And there are always snow angels to make! Sledding is another wonderful family winter activity. Just find a hill, a plastic sled, and you’re set!