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Children bundled up for winter playing outside on a swing

5 Ways to Keep Kids Active During Winter

Author: CHKD Medical Group, Dr. Cami Jordan
Published Date: Monday, January 28, 2019

By: Dr. Cami Jordan, Partners in Pediatric Care

Although winter temperatures drive many of us indoors, it’s important for parents to find ways to keep their children physically active. Curling up with a good book on a rainy afternoon is fine, but children ages 6 to 17 need at least an hour of exercise every day. Regular physical activity helps promote lifelong health and well-being and can prevent various conditions like heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.

Sometimes, the need to go outside and play is evident. Siblings start squabbling, and parents hear the refrain: “I’m bored.” Many children will lobby for extra screen time to get through the day.

To help parents cope, here are five strategies to keep kids active during the winter months:

Bundle up and head outdoors.

If your kids enjoy playing outside during the spring, they’ll likely enjoy playing outside in the winter, too. The key is to make sure they’re dressed for the weather. A comfortable jacket, a hat that fits over their ears, and warm gloves will go a long way to keeping a youngster warm. Once children start running around outside, many of them don’t even notice the chilly weather.

Head to the skating rink.

Roller-skating and ice skating provide great exercise for children and adults. If your child has never gone skating before, be prepared to assist them around the rink. If you have more than one child, enlist the help of another adult. Beware of trying to ice skate on frozen ponds or lakes near you. Children can fall through the ice and get hurt. For bodies of water in Coastal Virginia, the ice is never thick enough to skate on.

Go shopping.

Walking around the mall can burn just as many calories as walking around the neighborhood. Younger kids love walking around giant pet supply stores, where they can watch fish, birds, and reptiles.

Take your kids to the gym.

Many gym facilities have rock-climbing walls, indoor play structures, and heated pools to keep young children busy on cold, winter days. If you don’t have a gym membership, see if there’s a guest pass you can use for the day.

Create an indoor playland.

When the roads are icy or covered in snow, the safest place to play may be at home. Kids can burn off a lot of energy playing hide-and-seek or building a fort using blankets and chairs.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.