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.
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
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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