As an adult, do you ever feel the need to get outside, go for a walk, or hit the gym to relieve stress and nervous energy? Well, children have those same urges to fend off cabin fever every day.
Thankfully, movement is one of the best medications, and physical activity can help prevent many adverse health effects later in life.
Studies show that active children have better focus and memory retention. Regular exercise can also help with mental health and clarity by increasing dopamine production. Not only that, but it’s also thought to improve blood flow to your brain, which may explain why it’s so great for learning and neural health overall.
No question about it: Physical activity is a great habit to establish early. Unfortunately, once winter rolls around, keeping your kids active requires a whole new bag of tricks. Here’s how you can keep kids entertained and moving when the weather outside is frightful:
1. Dig deeper into YouTube.
It can be easy to look at the video sharing site as an excuse to stay stagnant, not mobile. But instead of falling prey to the energy-sucking screen, you can use it to your advantage. Encourage your children to explore kid-friendly exercise videos rather than cartoons or video games. Plenty of videos are designed specifically to keep kids engaged and make physical activity fun.
2. Track down an indoor playground.
Jungle gyms and monkey bars aren’t just for the open air anymore. Indoor gyms are popping up everywhere, and many of them offer affordable monthly memberships. A quick Google search tied to your city will point you in the right direction.
3. Explore nature.
It may be chilly, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to bundle up and head out anyway! Experiencing the seasons is great for kids for both educational and exercise purposes. From jumping in the leaves to dashing through the snow, your children will work on their gross motor skills and development — all while getting their hearts pumping and having some fun.
4. Run, jump, and kick with indoor sports.
Just because the outdoor pools and baseball diamonds are out of commission doesn’t mean the sports season has to end! Plenty of local gyms offer affordable family membership plans that let you take advantage of indoor courts and facilities for all your swimming, soccer, or basketball-based needs. Many will even host leagues and friendly tournaments that the whole family can participate in.
5. Get out the activity-driven board games.
“Board” may be in the title, but these options certainly aren’t boring! You can choose from classics like Twister to more unusual options like a fitness-based game of Bingo. You can also create your own indoor hopscotch board or play limbo, follow the leader, or hide-and-seek. Anything is better than sitting in front of the television.
Whatever you do, just don’t let winter make you and your family sedentary. Every step you take will bring you all closer to a healthier, happier lifestyle.