Fun ways to entertain your kids and get them moving during colder months!
Per tradition on Groundhog Day, we all waited with bated breath for the infamous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, to tell us if another 6 long weeks of winter was in our future or whether spring was right around the corner. It seems like Phil’s prediction of just a little more Jack Frost was right on target as a wintry storm and an Elsa-worthy icy blast touched down in the South and Northeast soon after his famous prediction.
Whenever the day feels cold and dreary, there’s a good chance you’ll be tempted to snuggle up under a blanket (and we can’t blame you!). But there are lots of ways to stay active in your very own wintry Arendelle - a mental and physical win for both adults and kids! Health experts recommend the following amounts of physical activity by age group:
- Infants: Around 30 minutes spread out throughout the day. Don’t worry-those tummy time sessions absolutely count!
- Toddlers: 3 or more hours daily. While this sounds like a lot, it actually comes down to about 15 minutes of active play time for every hour that your tot is awake (a little neighborhood walk or some free play in the backyard is a great way to get your child going!).
- Elementary and middle school-aged kids: Around 1 hour of physical activity most days. Being a bit older, physical activity for this group should include both muscle and bone-building activities at least 3 days a week. Intramural sports or special interest activities (martial arts, dance, etc.) are great ways to get your kids active and socializing with their peers. Also, don’t forget that you can always shoot a few hoops with your kids at a nearby park as well!
If this seems like a lot, we’re here to tell you-”don’t worry!” (take a deep breath and say it with us one more time). Chances are your kiddos are already meeting the recommended physical activity levels just by using their imagination and happily exploring their surroundings. So take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back for giving your littles a plethora of opportunities to get moving-because you are!
During the gray, colder days that come with winter, it can seem more difficult to come up with ideas on how to get active. Once again, don’t worry because we’re here to share some ideas for you and the family to try. The best part? You can use many of these ideas ALL YEAR LONG to create core memories and celebrate being active with your kids!
Outdoor Activities for When the “Cold Doesn’t Bother You Anyway”
We’re starting things off with the elephant in the room: Don’t rule out enjoying the outdoors because it’s cold outside. An outdoor scavenger hunt or a walk around the block are both great ways to take your kids out and show them all that nature has to offer during the cooler months.
Little ones are more than happy to spend some time outdoors (even in winter!) and in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, it’s common for a tiny tot to take a cozy stroller nap outside (all bundled up and snug as a bug, of course). To ensure that your kiddos get to enjoy the great outdoors, dress them warmly in layers with a hat, scarf, warm socks, mittens or gloves, and boots if the ground is muddy or snowy. When it comes to gauging if your child will be warm enough, here’s a pro tip: Older babies, toddlers and young children should wear one more layer of clothing than an adult.
Outside of the tried and true nature walk, there are a lot of fun activities you can do with your kiddos:
- If it’s recently snowed, make a snowman, snow fort, or snow maze with your little ones. Invite your kids to have a snow angel contest or make some fun-shaped snowballs with this kit to add a creative spin on the good ol’ fashioned snowball fight.
- Take your neighborhood walk to the next level by collecting leaves, neat-looking rocks, etc. and making a fun collage once you and your mini-me get home.
- Introduce your kids to a new sport or one that you particularly enjoy like skiing, skating, or the neverending fun of sledding.
- Remember that playgrounds are around all year-long. Visit a playground closest to you and if weather conditions allow it, enjoy a fun game of tag, shoot some baskets or kick around a soccer ball.
Bringing the Fun (and Imagination) Inside!
As we saw with the latest ice storms, colder weather usually means more time indoors. The good news is that you can still have a ton of entertainment and fun with your kids inside your humble abode. Here are some of our favorite indoor activities for you and your family to enjoy:
- Have a Dance Party (or several): Break up a day of chores and to-do’s and throw a 15-20 minute dance party with your kids. Play your or your kiddos’ favorite tunes and just dance away! You get to enjoy a break from washing the dishes and your kids get to spend some quality (and active) time with their favorite people-it’s an absolute win/win and you can throw a mini dance party any time you want throughout the day. To add a fun touch, break out a few glow sticks!
- Host a (Clean-Up) Sprint: Did you know that your little ones observe how you do household chores? Here’s a way to make a chore fun and entertaining for them. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and encourage your kids to pick up and put away as many of their toys as possible before the timer runs out. You can even make it a fun challenge and see how many rooms you both can tackle within a set time period.
- Get in the Kitchen and Make a Char-CUTE-rie Spread: An active day requires some delicious eats-so turn snack and meal prepping into a fun activity for your little chef! Set up a little station in your kitchen with child-safe cutting utensils and let your kids help cut up yummy snacks for you both to enjoy. You can make a traditional snack board or you can use GoBe’s Snack Spinner as a mess-free way for your little ones to carry their snacks with them as you continue with your fun-filled day.
- Camp & Enjoy the “Great Indoors”: You’ve cleaned up around the house, made the snacks and guess what’s next? A fun little “glamping” trip right in your own living room! Clear up an area and have your kiddo help you prepare your “campsite” with a tent, getting marshmallows ready to be roasted and your handy Snack Spinner nearby. If you missed an opportunity to go on a short walk earlier in the day, arrange some plushies around the house for an indoor nature hike where you and your child can identify all the fun animals you find.
- Build a Blanket Fort Primed for Story Time: You and your kids have had an activity-packed day of fun and now it’s time for those incredible snuggles with your little ones. If you decided to camp indoors, you are already well on your way to an amazingly comfy and cozy blanket fort for story time. Make sure you and your kids grab lots of blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and their favorite books before tucking in for some quality time together. For an extra magical touch, add a string of fairy lights to mimic an idyllic star-lit sky.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
No matter the weather, season, month or day of the week, remember to keep things positive and fun. Trying out different activities, foods, and games are all fantastic ways to broaden your child’s mind. However, don’t forget to live in the moment and watch your child develop a skill, broaden their imagination, or have a brand new experience. You are doing an incredible job raising these little humans-so take a moment, enjoy the core memory that’s being created in real time, and celebrate your wonderful family.
- Alissa, from the GoBe Team