Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to keep your kids inside. There are plenty of winter activities you can do to keep them moving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends kids from preschool to college get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate-aerobic physical activity, but vigorous-intensity physical activity should be included at least three days a week. Regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of childhood obesity and chronic disease. Plus, it helps build healthy muscles.
But when the temperature drops and the snow starts flying, it may be easier said than done. Even if your child may be reluctant to exercise, here are a few winter activities you can try to keep your kids moving, even when it’s cold.
Outside Winter Activities
You can go ice skating or sledding, decorate the front yard with a snowman and snow angels or have a snowball fight. In fact, depending on your weight, you can burn lots of calories during these winter activities and have fun, too.
In 60 minutes you can burn anywhere from:
- 500 to 1,100 calories ice skating
- 600 to 1,600 calories playing ice hockey
- 300 to 400 calories sledding
If your children don't have a full 60-minute winter activities break each day, the American Heart Association recommends providing at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods.
Winter Activities at Indoor Facilities
Your kids can do lots of great winter activities inside, too. You can get out of the house and go roller skating, bowling or find an indoor pool. A 160-pound person will burn about 550 calories during 60 minutes of roller skating, more than 200 calories bowling and an hour of swimming can burn nearly 600 calories.
Trampoline parks are all the rage. Jumping around for an hour gets your child’s heart rate up and burns about 40 calories every 10 minutes. Parkour for kids is also becoming very popular. The “American Ninja”-type exercises give the kids a chance to climb, jump and have lots of fun while they’re getting in shape.
Active Video Games
Your kids will love to hear that active video games like Wii make our list of winter activities. These are the games that get your kids off the couch and moving. They can be bowling, running in place, dancing or just being silly — it all counts. One recent study found 40 minutes of active video gaming, three times a week, can have a positive impact.
Winter Activities Inside Your Home
Get the kids up and moving inside your own home with classic games like:
- Follow the leader
Another popular game is called “Freeze Dance.” It’s like musical chairs (another great indoor winter activity), but without the chairs. Your kids dance until the music stops. You can vary the speed of the song and the length to keep the kids moving and having fun. Players are eliminated if they’re still moving when the music stops. The last person still dancing to the music is the winner.
Our free guide, Beating Cabin Fever, is loaded with more ideas for fun winter activities you can do with your kids.