Keeping kids active isn’t a new challenge for parents. It’s particularly challenging during winter when our natural urge is to curl up on the couch and stay warm. Combine that with our increasing need for screen-based entertainment, and the outlook looks grim.
It needn’t be, though. If you get creative, there are many fun ways to keep kids active during winter. And not all activities need to happen inside, either. Perhaps your little men have outgrown their training wheels and are ready to transition to boys bikes. Whatever the case, here are six simple ways to meet that challenge.
1. Pay Attention To The Details
Before you suggest activities to keep kids active during winter, pay attention to what they enjoy doing. If they don’t like physical activity, don’t worry. For now, it’s more important to note what makes them happy. For example, if they love science, think of physical activities that draw on their scientific knowledge like exploring a museum or trying some at home experiments. Finding the essence of why they like something will help inform your suggestions.
Also, if you have more than one kid, pay attention to their ages. Not all activities are suited to all ages. The last thing you want is one of your kids hurting themselves by doing an activity suited to older kids.
2. Negotiate fairly
As well as paying attention to the details, you must know how to be a fair negotiator, particularly if your kids don’t like physical activity. Forcing them to do something is a recipe for arguments and tears, and no one in the family wants that.
Instead, to get kids active during winter, offer to meet your kids halfway. Suggest they switch between physical activity and a screen-based activity. By showing them that you’re prepared to compromise, they’re more likely to help you reach one. And if you’re lucky, they may even grow to enjoy the activity you suggest.
3. Join In
Kids need role models, whether they understand it or not. And one way to be a healthy role model is to lead by example. If you lead an active life, they will likely follow your lead, especially if you enjoy your lifestyle.
Activities like kicking the footy at the park or a family bike ride are a perfect way to show your kids the benefits of being active. By doing things together, you’ll also be sharing the benefits. And the more you share those benefits, the happier and healthier you’ll all be.
4. Get The Party Started
Now for the real fun. Every kid loves a party, and winter is the ideal time to take advantage of this fact. Again, their ages will decide what party you host for them. Aside from that, only your imagination will limit how much fun they have.
If you’re stuck for ideas, start with a classic dance party. Invite your kids to choose the theme, the music, whatever. The more involved they get, the more excited they’ll get. It’s as simple as that.
Dancing is an ideal activity to keep kids active during winter because it releases energy, which is vital if they’ve been lying on the couch all afternoon. It can also be in short bursts, making it the perfect activity to interrupt any chores you set for your kids.
5. Reimagine Your Home
If the forecast points to a week inside, it’s time to take the fun to the next level by turning your home into something else. Like the party, your imagination is your only limit. If you hosted a themed party, you’re halfway there.
How long you’re stuck inside will decide how far you want to go with this activity. If you only have an afternoon free, stick to one room in your home. Otherwise, why not use the whole house? That way, you can push the theme as far as possible.
Transforming your home into an obstacle course or an escape room is another activity that benefits from your kids' input. The reason is simple: they’ll be exploring your reimagined home. Choosing a theme or design they approve of is the way to win them over.
6. Excursion Time
If your kids show symptoms of cabin fever, it’s time to get them out of the house. Once you’re out of the house, take them to the local museum or science centre. What is it about these venues that enchant kids? Often, they’re allergic to lessons; in a museum, though, they welcome learning like an old friend.
Rather than solve that mystery, enjoy the effect it has on your kids. While they enjoy counting dinosaur bones, you can enjoy counting their steps, which makes it a win for both sides, without a doubt.
Conclusion: Keeping kids active during winter
Getting kids to keep active during winter is trial and error. You may not find the best activity the first time. Or the second time. The trick is to keep trying and not lose heart.
Do so, and you’ll soon find an activity that satisfies and occupies them. Then you can put your feet up and enjoy a well-earned rest.
Further reading: How to make walking outdoors fun for kids.