Winter is upon us and that means less daylight to burn, especially here in the north. The days may be getting longer but it’s likely you and your kids are leaving for school or work in the dark and returning home close to dusk. You may be frustrated or about to lose your temper because your rambunctious little ones are terrorizing the family dog or tearing apart your living room. If you’re anything like me you’re probably wondering how to survive the next month or two until you can have access to the parks and trails and sunshine again. Never fear, I’ve found some solutions!
Option number one: Balloons! Balls are fun but they’re just as likely to take out a window or your new plasma screen from Santa. Balloons are lightweight, easily replaceable, and unlikely to damage your house or your children. Kids can bat a balloon back and forth, toss it in the air and catch it, try to juggle several, or make up any number of games. The best part? No electricity required and your kids just might be occupied for hours despite the lack of animation and catchy tunes.
Option number two: Pretend to be penguins. Cut butcher paper into the shape of icebergs or lay down blankets a foot or two apart. Let the kids make up fun games about what’s in the ‘water’ that they’re avoiding and watch as they wear themselves out jumping from ‘berg to ‘berg! You could even let them make paper beaks and wings or dress in black and white to keep the creativity flowing.
Option three: Crab race! I stole this one from my elementary school Phys Ed class. Get down like a crab and see who can make it from one end of the room to the other fastest doing the crab walk. Or bring the balloons into it and let them play crab volleyball! A blanket or string hung between two chairs makes a great net!
Option four: Set up a mini-Olympics. Have a long jump area, a shot put toss (bean bags or those very awesome balloons), a javelin throw (leftover Christmas paper tubes cut down or paper towel rolls), a balance beam walk (just put a piece of tape down along the floor). Feel free to make up your own or let your children make up new ones as they go along.
Simple household items plus a big imagination can go a long way in keeping your kids active and healthy this winter. Most children need an hour or more a day of vigorous physical activity to meet recommendations for health. It’s easy to overlook these requirements when you can’t just send them to the backyard to play. However, combining physical activity with creative play will keep your kids satisfied (and you from tearing your hair out) while waiting for the return of the endless days of summer!
How do you keep your kids MOVING during the cold winter months?
This is a guest post by Sara Brunazzi.
Sara Brunazzi blogs at www.endorphinmom.com. She’s a wife, mother of two girls, employee, and student. Running is her passion and she hopes to create a career mixing blogging and fitness someday. You can find Sara on Facebook or on Twitter as @warriorprncss3.