Keep Kids Active Year-Round With Indoor Play and Exercise
On average, children use screens for over seven-and-a-half hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Plus, a worrying 74%–nearly three out of four–children ages five to 10 get less than an hour of exercise per day, WebMD reveals. These numbers make it clear: our children need to be more active!
In order to make that happen, parents need to encourage children to play and engage in physical activity and to do it year-round–rain, snow, or shine. Here are a few ideas to get kids moving inside, too.
Encourage Active Play With Balloons
Fill up balloons with air, and let the fun begin!
Opt for air-filled balloons instead of filling balloons up with helium. Balloons filled with air do not float on their own, which makes them perfect for indoor activities.
Set up a makeshift net using chairs and string, and challenge your kids to volley the balloon back and forth. Do not forget about trick shots, like head-butting or spiking the balloon. Make tennis rackets out of paper plates, tape, and large popsicle sticks to challenge children to a game of indoor balloon tennis.
Take Part In Hallway Soccer and Hallway Races
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), children over age two need a minimum of one hour of exercise per day. The hall can be the perfect place to do it. If you have a long, clear hallway, purchase indoor sports sets–indoor sports sets have plastic pieces and miniature soccer balls for safer playing–and put them up on opposite ends.
Of course, a hallway can be perfect for indoor play without any equipment at all. Challenge kids to races down the hall. Mix things up by having crab walk races or getting out the balloons out again for balloon waddle races. Simply place a balloon between your child’s knees and challenge him or her to run with it long enough to cross the finish line.
Venture Into Indoor Playgrounds
Commercial indoor playground equipment is a great way for children to work off a little extra steam at the end of the day (or perhaps at the beginning, too!).
If the weather is not ideal, let your child enjoy the day playing on commercial indoor playground equipment. This type of play facilitates socialization and creativity. Your little one is bound to meet and make friends with others. The obstacles and mazes stimulate children’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills.
Compromise: Choose Active Video Games
If you cannot get out of the house and must choose video games, choose video games that promote movement–games on the Wii Fit, games with movement sensors, and/or games with dance mats. Although limiting screen time is best, blending screens with exercise and/or productive learning may be the best use of screentime. Above all, it is important to make exercise fun for children. That’s what will turn it into a lasting habit. If your child enjoys this type of exercise and sticks with it, that is what is most important.
Encouraging kids to play outdoors is great–but it is not always practical. Keep kids moving on rainy days and during cold winter months with hallway races, balloon-based games, and commercial indoor playground equipment.