Making winter enjoyable for children

Children need 60 minutes of daily physical activity all year round, even in the winter months. Let’s look at some fun ways your children can be active in the winter.

Child sledding
Sledding is a great winter physical fitness activity

One of the best ways for children to be active in the winter is to play outside. Snow or colder temperatures should not deter families or young children from going outside. Making sure your kids are safe outside is important, but with proper winter clothing, children and families can enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the winter and get their 60 minutes a day of physical activity.

Here are some fun outdoor ideas to do in the winter to get your children active:

  • Take a long walk in the snow and look for animal tracks.
  • Build a snowman or snow fort.
  • Dance in the snow.
  • Throw snowballs at a target.
  • Follow the leader and march around to make tracks or patterns in the snow.
  • Decorate snow with a spray bottle, water and a little food coloring.
  • Catch snowflakes with your own homemade snowflake catcher.

Participating in these types of activities gets muscles moving and releases energy and stress. Before you know it, you will find you and your kids have had a full day of winter fun.

What if you are not able to get outside every day?

Since the need for physical activity does not go away when the weather is not cooperating, winter months can be particularly challenging for daily physical activity. Parents and caregivers can ensure their little ones are moving and developing their muscles indoors as well by providing large muscle play opportunities. Indoor obstacle courses, dance parties or action rhymes are great ways to get kids (and adults) moving.

What are action rhymes? These are songs or poems set to motion that tell a story, also called fingerplays. Some classic action rhymes include “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Motorboat” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” All three can be a great workout for a toddler’s body.

Michigan State University Extension encourages adults to participate in fun, healthy activities, especially during the winter months. Adults model healthy (and unhealthy) lifestyles; parents, caregivers and children all win by participating in physical activities every day of the year.

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