Get Children Active in Winter

By late January, it’s easy to get sick of the Wisconsin Winter and wish for hibernation.  When you have little ones at home, hibernation is not an option. It’s important to stay active for healthy development and to keep them from bouncing off the walls.

At Family and Childcare Resources of N.E.jW., we have been working with childcare providers in Northeast Wisconsin to provide low cost or no cost strategies and resources to promote at least 120 minutes of daily activity through the Active Early program.

Childcare providers have found that by incorporating more activity children are more focused and need less redirection. It’s also important to start healthy habits early to prevent childhood obesity. There are tips parents can use at home to make Wisconsin winters healthy and fun!

Fresh air benefits children even in winter so get outside and have fun. Ideas for getting active outside:

  • Sometimes the hardest part is getting on the mittens and gloves so make it fun with songs, stretches between mittens or a game of “Simon Says.”
  • Themed Walks: Focus on a particular theme such as colors, shadows, seeds, birds, footprints or discoveries under rocks. Or take a sensory walk where you focus on what you see, hear, smell, or feel.
  • Find activities that get everyone moving all the time! It’s no fair if one person just gets pulled in the sled or has to sit out an activity.
  • Fill a water bottle with water and a few drops of food coloring to draw in the snow. Have a theme or just get silly with it.
  • Can you find a blue house, a street with the letter “ s”, a tall oak tree, and a snowman in your neighborhood. Make a list of common things in your neighborhood then go on a scavenger hunt to find them. Who knows where the list will take you.

On days when wind chills get below 0 degrees it’s important to be safe and stay inside. Active ideas for inside:

  • Use paper plates as skates for an indoor skating party.
  • Have your kids help to create a story space at home. They can help move pillows or bean bag chairs and gather props to act out stories. Act out a favorite winter book such as The Mitten or Snowy Day.
  • Create an obstacle course with pillows, hula hoops and other items you have in the house.
  • Have a jar full of ideas of movements or characters to act out during transitions between activities.
  • Have a dance party, dress up and get down.
  • Play Quicksand. Pull all the cushions off the couch and chairs and jump between without touching the floor.
  • Build an indoor golf course with paper plates and paper towel tubes. Cut a hole in the center of the plate for the golf hole and use the paper tube to make a flag. Use balled up paper for the balls and brooms for the sticks.

Children learn by example so be active and have fun!

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