Next time it’s cold outside, use these ideas for winter activities for kids and tips for keeping your kids moving when it’s freezing outside!
I get it. It’s cold outside, freezing really. And no one wants to run around and play tag or go to the park when the moment you step outside your fingers go numb. But just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that kids need to be any less active than in the summer months, probably more actually because if you’re like me, you’re probably making more warm and hearty soups than light and fresh salads.
So what do you do? Bundle those kids up in three layers, two hats, gloves, and the warmest socks they own. Then force them to play outside while you sit in the warm house and watch from the window.
I’m kidding. But I’m not kidding about kids needing to keep moving in the winter. And hopefully your kid is like mine and sleeps really well when he’s been exhausted from a day full of movement. That alone encourages me to find ways to get my toddler out of the house and active.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas out there, but these are my top tips for keeping your kids moving throughout the freezing cold winter.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
I put this first because honestly, it’s the most important. If you don’t believe me, go somewhere with a toddler for a couple of hours without any food, then try and tell me snacks aren’t important. Just like when adults exercise a lot and need to eat more, kids need wholesome and nutritious snacks when they’re really active. I always make sure to pack a variety of snacks anytime we go anywhere, but it’s especially important when they’re running around! Our current favorites are fresh or dried fruit and crackers!
Find Local Indoor Places to Play
This has been an absolute life saver for us. Call around, search the internet, or ask friends if they know of any local places that have places that kids can play indoors. Some good places to start are:
- Recreation centers and YMCAs – a ton have indoor soft playrooms, weekly classes for kids, swimming pools, and more. Most are either free or relatively inexpensive (like $5).
- Malls – Every mall in our area has an indoor play area just for the kids. Let the kids go run, jump, climb, and do whatever they can to wear themselves out.
- Little gyms – There are tons of places tailored to getting the little guys up and moving from Little Gyms to bounce houses. Most offer you the option to drop in for one-time classes, try a class for free, or sign up monthly.
Plan Active Playgroups
Meet up with other moms at someone’s house or even possibly your local church building and each week plan a different activity that encouragements movement. My toddler is always more excited about things like that when he’s playing with other kids. If you can’t meet up with other kids, plan these same activities just for you and your kids at home. Some of your activities could include:
- Singing and dancing to songs that get the kids moving like Marching Dinosaurs, Do As I’m Doing, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, etc.
- Playing running games like red light, green light, tag, duck duck goose, etc.
- Setting up items to create an obstacle course
- Doing silly relay races
When I think of being active, I think of running around and really getting your heart beating, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Plan some bigger activities that will include a lot of walking and have your kids walk rather than ride in a stroller. (Don’t forget the stroller though because by the end of the day I’m sure they’ll want to ride in it!). This could include anywhere but some of our favorites are aquariums, botanical gardens, museums, and national landmarks and monuments.
Embrace the Drama
There are tons of puppet shows, magic shows, musical performances, kid’s plays, and more all over the country. And a lot of those types of shows actually allow the kids to get involved either before, during, or after the show. The last one we went to actually incorporated running games in the middle of each act because they knew the kids needed to get up and move.
Just Get Out
Above all, the most important thing is to just get out of your house. By leaving the house, you’re saying no to the possibility of just sitting in front of the TV all day. And I’m willing to bet that wherever you end up will be bigger than your house, which almost always encourages movement.
Staying at home and watching movies or reading books all day is fine every once in a while. For me, our week goes best if I plan ahead. Sit down on Sunday and decide what activity you’re going to do each day, making sure to incorporate active activities into your plan. Share your plans with your friends and invite them to come along; it’s a lot harder to stay at home when you have to bail on a friend who is meeting you somewhere.
How do you get your kids moving when you can’t go play outside?