Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keeping Kids Active Indoors

Winter is upon us and that means freezing rain, wind and snow. Unpredictable weather like this can make it unbearable for kids to play outdoors as often. You may hear your kids say, “There is nothing to do” or “I am bored”. On the contrary, there are many fun activities to do indoors. These cold months can be a great way to spend some quality time with the family and get kids to use their imaginations and be creative.

According to the American Heart Association, exercise and increased physical activity are important for kids not only for decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and diabetes, but physical activity promotes overall physical, psychological and social benefits.

It is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that kids get at least of 30 minutes a day of physical activity. This can be broken up into 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon, not all at once. One way you can make this fun for them, is to join in and be a role model. The more you are active with them and physical activity is valued, they will see the importance and start forming healthy habits. They look up to you, so be the change you want for them. The old adage holds true, “Like mother like daughter”. Still stuck? Here are some idea’s!

Indoor Activities at Home
• Build indoor forts with blankets, pillows and cushions. Gather empty cardboard boxes and let their imaginations run with it.
• Play “Follow the Leader” and lead them up the stairs, crab walk on the floor, jumping jacks and hopscotch, etc.
• “Duck-Duck-Goose” and “Musical Chairs” are fun with a few extra kids in the house.
• Hoola Hoop.
• Invest in a WiiFit.
• Have a Dance Party. (My girl’s favorite.) Make a dance routine to a favorite song.
• Play “Charades”. There is so much energy and fun trying to act out animals and objects.
• Have a Scavenger Hunt.
• Get creative and create an obstacle course for the family.
• Play Dress Up.
• Clean out a clothes closet or toy closet and donate any extras to charity.
• Set up a mini bowling alley or golf course in your basement or garage.
• House work help can be fun with music.
• Practicing T-Ball with squishy Nerf balls by hitting them against the garage walls.
• Play indoor soccer or hockey by setting up plastic cones or anything around as goals.

Indoor Activities away from Home
• Visit an indoor swimming pool for swimming or take swim lessons.
• Rock Climbing Gym
• Roller Skating Rink
• Ice Skating
• Check out your local gym youth programs.
• The library and library activities.
• Go to the movies.
• Go to the Mall and walk around.

Written by,
Crystal Kennedy
Seattle Athletic Club - Northgate
Wellness Director

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