How to Keep Your Children Active and Healthy While Inside
By Brooke Chaplan
Children naturally love physical activity while playing outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. But sometimes due to weather or other reasons, they have to stay inside. Parents can still help kids remain active indoors to promote good health and discourage a sedentary lifestyle.
Designate a Physical Space
If you’re worried about kids scuffing up wood flooring or jumping on the sofa, organize an area in your home just for physical activities. This could be a refinished basement or a clean garage as well as an enclosed porch or patio. Make sure the room temperature is adequate for the season when kids play there. Contact professional heating contractors like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. to upgrade your home’s heating and A/C system or to install smaller second units if needed for a comfortable play area for the kids. Remove tools, chemicals, or furniture that could pose safety hazards for active children.
Instead of letting the kids run around aimlessly to work off excess energy, set up some fun games and activities for them to do. A tumbling mat, plastic bowling game, or hula hoops will provide structured fun that can take the form of competition to keep kids interested and engaged. Parents can make a creative obstacle course where kids can jog, jump, skip, or climb over something in a pretend game of woodland animals, for instance. Soft bouncing balls can be brought in for dodgeball or soccer practice, depending on the kids’ ages.
Include Learning Opportunities
Encourage children to count through a series of exercises like jumping jacks and side bends. Play a marching song while kids march in place for three to five minutes, urging them to learn the words and sing along. Introduce them to the classic game of Simon Says, with an emphasis on physical movement, such as taking steps forward or backward and hopping up and down with specific numbers. For example, Simon could say, “Do twenty jumping jacks as you count them out loud.”
Parents can help children put on a mini-play by preparing casual costumes and minimal props. Kids can then act out favorite scenes from their books, memorizing or improvising dialogue in the story. Moving around on the faux stage or pretend platform will keep kids from sitting for too long. Charades is another creative way to get children to think about ways of explaining a concept or an object while standing up and moving around.
Give some ground rules for playing in a dedicated area to prevent accidents like broken windows or skinned knees. Join in the fun to feel like a kid again, delighting your kids even more.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan