The weather has cooled down, and winter will be here before we know it. While bundling up and walking in a winter wonderland can be great fun this time of year, frigid, snowy, slushy or stormy weather can also put a damper on outdoor plans.
The good news: taking shelter indoors can be just as exciting — and healthy — as getting outside provided you keep in mind these important numbers: 5-2-1-0. This is shorthand for some key guidelines for living healthy as a family: eating 5 servings of veggies and fruits daily; having no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day; spending at least 1 hour being active every day; and consuming 0 sugar-sweetened drinks.
Here, 10 boredom-busting activities to help transform a blah day inside into a memorable adventure:
- Get creative. Make your child’s favorite outdoor games indoor-friendly. Play basketball and baseball with a soft (or paper) ball. Make your own bowling alley with a decent-sized hallway and mostly empty water bottles for pins (adding a little water helps provide stability). You can even challenge your child to a game of hopscotch by using masking tape or duct tape to create the squares.
- Go old school. Games like red light/green light, Simon says and hide-and-seek are not only fun, they also teach kids self control.
- Turn on the tunes. Dance, dance, dance. Then, when the music stops, freeze in position (think musical chairs but without scrambling for a seat). For a greater challenge, ask kids to freeze in the shape of a specific animal, letter or yoga posture.
- Create an indoor circuit or obstacle course. Run up and down stairs, hop through hula hoops, create a balance beam out of duct tape, and come up with stations throughout the house for squats, push-ups, pull-ups and jump rope. Not only will the course get your blood flowing, it will burn calories to boot!
- Build a fort. Grab some sheets, pillows, blankets or whatever your heart desires and build a fort. A bonus: Once complete, a fort makes a great napping or quiet reading space.
- Have fun in the kitchen. Teach your child to roll out dough, chop vegetables and grate cheese for a healthy pizza. Air pop popcorn for a quick and tasty treat, or make your own granola bars with wholesome ingredients. You can even challenge kids to create faces out of fruits and vegetables against a canvas of whole-wheat bread, brown rice or whole-grain pancakes. Olives make great eyes, carrots are good for noses and roasted beets can double as lips.
- Foster your child’s inner da Vinci. If you have a long hallway or wide-open space, roll out butcher paper and then break out crayons, magic markers and colored pencils. When the artwork is complete, let your kids roll around in the crumpled remnants.
- Play dress up. This age-old classic appeals to boys and girls alike and encourages imagination and creative play. Once children are dressed up as their favorite superhero, princess or cartoon character, they can create a skit or improvise on the fly with a self-created storyline.
- Stick with the tried and true. Cuddle up with a pile of books for an extended story time, work on a puzzle on the kitchen table or break out a board game to play as a family. Even with an only child, games like Chutes and Ladders, Uno, or Connect 4 offer loads of fun indoors.
- Try a new craft. Decorate pinecones and build a centerpiece, paint your hands and create family T-shirts featuring each member’s print, or construct an intricate house out of toothpicks.
Looking for a healthy way to use your child’s two hours of daily screen time? Download our new app — 5-2-1-0 Kids! The app provides healthy indoor games and teaches children the importance of healthy habits. Whether you choose the 5-2-1-0 app or come up with your own creative games, choose indoor play that involves physical activity or allows kids to experiment with fruits and veggies. The goal, of course, is to get fit, have fun and inspire kids to use their imaginations.