Staying Active Indoors During the Cold Winter Months
By: Josh Scribben, DPT
As many parents have discovered, keeping children active during the cold, gloomy winter months can be a real chore. Adding the restrictions placed on families by the COVID-19 pandemic has many parents around the country worried that their children are not getting enough physical activity. The American Pediatric Association recommends that children are involved in at least 60 minutes of physical activities daily. Here are a few suggestions for fun, easy and affordable activities that can be incorporated into any family’s weekly routine to help curb the down time.
An easy game that can be enjoyed by toddlers, children, adolescents and adults of all ages. All that is needed are the participants, a balloon and a barrier (pool noodle, sheet, piece of tape on the floor). The goal of the game is to have fun and keep the balloon in the air, for those whom desire a little competition, scoring can be added. The purpose of balloon volleyball is to have fun; however, the main outcome is an exercise that challenges the players hand-eye coordination, dynamic balance, and cardiovascular endurance.
For the outdoor loving families whom are stuck inside, fishing can be a great outlet. To set up the game a small whiffle ball will need to be tied to a stick (pool noodle, yard stick, hockey stick) with a piece of string (yarn, fishing line). The participant should stand on an uneven surface (pillows, life jacket, folded towels). Multiple colored cones should be set up around the child at varying distances (the farther away the harder the catch). The goal of the game is to have the child remain on the unsteady surface while reaching out of their base of support to knock down the cones with the ball. Not only will your child build upper extremity strength, core strength, ankle strength and static balance, they will have a blast trying to land the big one.
Indoor Obstacle Course
One of the best ways to incorporate the many aspects of a child’s motor development is to build an obstacle course. Jumping onto couches, climbing under tunnels, balancing on objects, sprinting around obstacles and tossing balls into a hamper are only a few of the ideas that can be incorporated into a fun obstacle course for your child. If a course is developed with some imagination; balance, strength, hand-eye coordination, cardiovascular endurance and sensory input can be challenged for your child. Don’t forget to have your child assist in picking up the remnants of course for a post exercise work-out.