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Kids may jump for joy when news of a snow day hits, but there can be little physical activity after that. It’s easy for everyone in the family to climb back in bed and spend the day free from the cold weather with hours of screen time. That winter sluggishness can cause some serious cabin fever, especially in little ones who are full of energy that needs to be burned off.
It’s important that you don’t let the cold weather prevent your kids from getting the recommended hour of exercise per day. It requires some creativity to plan for snow day activities, so we came up with some suggestions for all those parents who are thinking, “How am I supposed to keep these kids entertained all day?”
The door still works. Yes, we know it is completely freezing outside, but some of the most fun ways to keep bodies moving on cold days will require you to venture out. Snow-day hallmarks like sledding and building forts and snowmen require a lot of physical exertion. They also happen to be activities that kids don’t even realize is exercise. You can also try some new activities like snowball tag or an outdoor treasure hunt. Make sure to supervise play, dress them in layers and have your kids take regular breaks inside to warm up and avoid any cold-weather related injuries like hypothermia and frostbite.
The weather is no obstacle. In most cases, your favorite outdoor activities can still be played with a little creativity and modifications on your part. Instead of building blanket forts, try building an indoor obstacle course that fits within your space. Gather up “course ingredients” like couch cushions, board game pieces, toys, scarves or anything you think of that can be thrown into the mix. Incorporate physical moves into the experience. Maybe one “station” requires them to dance, do jumping jacks or go up and down the stairs a few times. It’s a great way to combine physical and cognitive exercises to keep little ones engaged.
Embrace the classics. Think back to your gym-class favorites growing up and pass on that nostalgia to your kids. Not everything was a team-based sport. In fact, most favorites could be replicated with a few simple and affordable objects. Have a “snowball” fight with soft balls, introduce them to crab soccer for a good arm and shoulder workout or play some rounds of red light, green light from one side of the house to the other to keep their legs moving.
Talk to your pediatrician with questions or concerns regarding your child’s health, call 1-800-INSPIRA.
Inspira has partnered with Nemours Children's Health to provide around-the-clock pediatric care for children at Inspira Medical Centers in Woodbury and Vineland.