Keeping kids active during winter

When it comes to keeping the kids active, summertime is a breeze here in New Zealand. The great outdoors, beaches, rivers and activity opportunities are in abundance. And who doesn’t want to be out in that awesome sunshine. In fact, you may find that you have to schedule the kids some downtime so they don’t wear themselves out or burn to a crisp! Winter … not so easy.

Winter challenges

Apart from organised sports, it can be challenging to keep the kids active during winter, especially when the weather is cold and wet. It isn’t impossible though and just requires a bit more imagination to get the kids moving … and possibly a few more clothing layers!

Because the New Zealand weather doesn’t always play nice, we’ve included both indoor and outdoor activity ideas.

5 indoor activities

1. Create an obstacle course

In fact, the kids can make one themselves! Take ‘the floor is lava’ concept to a whole new level and create some obstacles and challenges that would rival Survivor! Try creating a “laser” maze using wool – criss-cross the wool at various heights and angles between several weighed down chairs and challenge the kids to get through without touching them.

2. Get into yoga

Yoga is great for helping kids to develop flexibility and is also perfect for mindfulness. It doesn’t require too much space and can be done almost anywhere without heaps of equipment.

3. Get pumped up with balloon games

Balloons are often just used as party decorations. But there’s actually an immense amount of fun to be had from them too. Our ideas for balloon games aren’t just for parties – they can get kids moving on indoor play days too. For a simple idea, blow up two or three balloons and see how long the kids can keep them in the air – add extra balloons for older kids.

4. Change up an activity

Take something as sedentary as reading a favourite storybook or playing a game of Jenga and add a movement element.

Storybook: Choose a favourite book that has a repetitive nature. Choose a word and every time that word is read, the kids have to perform a new exercise, ie jumping jacks, running on the spot, hopping. This is great for little ones.

Jenga: Using a pencil, write an activity on each Jenga block, ie pushups, yoga poses, squats. Play the game as normal but every time a block is removed, everyone has to do the movement written on the block.

This concept can also be used for other games (ie, pick-up sticks – assign an activity to each colour). Try to come up with your own ideas for your favourite board or card games.

5. Go out

Isn’t this the indoor section? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay home for activities. Indoor playgrounds and trampoline parks are a great way to burn off a big chunk of energy. Ice-skating is a great winter activity but if you can’t stand the cold, rollerskating venues offer hours of fun. Try indoor rock-climbing, lasertag, or head to the heated indoor pools.

5 outdoor activities

1. Walking

I can hear my kids groaning just at the mere mention of the “W” word! But walking can be made into fun exercise. Get the kids to walk the dog, or if you don’t have one of your own, offer to walk the neighbour’s. Head out and explore local bush trails (just remember to take some weatherproof clothing), go geocaching, or rock hunting.

2. Get on your bike

Bike riding is superb exercise for the whole family and a fantastic skill for kids to learn. On dry winter days it’s also more enjoyable than sweating under the helmet on a hot summer’s day. Check out different trails in your area. Some local parks also have bike tracks for kids that are set out like a real road with crossings, roundabouts and signs.

3. Fly a kite

The perfect activity for the windy days of winter! Kites come in all shapes and sizes from simple single line kites to sport kites that can perform amazing manoeuvres.

4. Take to the trees

Climb a tree – yes, we said it! Don’t ban the kids from clambering up the backyard trees. Instead, teach them about limits, finding secure footholds and handholds, how high is too high and how to safely test branches for sturdiness.

5. Layer up and get outside!

Throw on some beanies, gumboots and gloves and a warm jacket and before they can utter the words, “I’m bored”, teach them a few games from your childhood to enjoy in the backyard:

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5 Comments

  1. felicity beets 30/06/2018 at 9:17 pm

    Great ideas especially the games in doors. Balloons are great for all ages. Also dancing to music is also great exercise for children.

  2. kymmage 27/06/2018 at 8:12 am

    We recently found some good videos on Youtube for kids’ yoga. I even do it. They tell a story, and all the exercises are part of you “helping” the characters through the adventure. Think the channel is called Cosmic Kids Yoga. I also love playing balloon volleyball. I get cabin fever bad though, so getting out and having a walk is my favourite way to get active with the kids.

  3. MuddledUpMolly 25/06/2018 at 9:35 pm

    Love these ideas and as it has been so wet lately it’s great to see so many great indoor options that I know our kids would just love 🙂

  4. Mands1980 21/06/2018 at 3:19 pm

    Love these ideas we do the balloon one keeping it in the air as long as possible and recently got jenga which all of us play it’s lots of fun. While outside the kids climb trees when they see them and go on there go carts after they have wrapped up warm with lots of layers. Biking and walking as well are great to keep them busy.

  5. Shorrty4life1 19/06/2018 at 6:42 pm

    Great ideas. I love the lazer maze idea how cool is this every kid would love this. I must try this in the school holidays. I love doing balloon games aswell that’s something the whole family can join in with and always fun. And definitely bike riding on a cold day as you’re always keeping warm while exercising.

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