Q. My kids are jumping out of their skin and we’ve still got more than a week of break to go. Any ideas of ways to get my kids moving even when it’s cold and nasty outside?

A. Remember – school-aged children should be getting 60 minutes of mild to vigorous exercise in every day. Research has also proven a strong correlation between fitness levels and academic performance. Try some or all of the following ideas to assist your children when it’s cold outside and they still need to be moving.

Do try this at home

  • Put on some fun music and encourage the kids to make up their own dance steps or routines. The “new” shuffle is the latest craze with kids, support them to create their own dance.
  • Have your children set up a fitness circuit. Four- to 5-minutes of cardiovascular work followed by 1 to 2 minutes of muscular work. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Let your children be involved in making up the circuit. For the cardio portion, use some or any of the following: running in place, imaginary jump rope, step-ups on a step or stairs, jumping jacks, hop on one foot, jump on two feet.  For the muscular portion: sit-ups, push-ups, plank, downward dog, leaning T’s.
  • Have your child make their own playing cards. Each card will have a different exercise. They may even draw a picture or use a camera to show what the exercise looks like.  Allow them to also name their exercise using their imaginations. They have to do as many of that exercise as the card states.
  • Using common household objects, have your children come up with as many activities as possible to increase their heart rate. For instance a yardstick or a broom. Have your children jump back and forth over the yardstick, or forwards and backwards, also criss-cross. They can balance the yardstick across their ankles, holding their feet off the floor while they do curl ups for abdominal strength.
  • Practice any and all sports. Taking the non-equipment approach, have your children practice their favorite game. For instance with basketball they can dribble, shot and rebound. Visualization is helpful to the brain.
  • Balloons are a great cheap, indoor activity. Children can play with them for a long time creating many games and expelling lots of energy.
  • Yoga is a great calming exercise. There are many books and yoga cards that can assist your children in various yoga poses.

These are just some ideas to help keep exercise fun and enjoyable. When planning indoor exercise make sure that you include your children’s input. The more buy-in they have the more they will take ownership. Check out this video of expert Chris Strater demonstrating some of these moves.