Now that the winter chill has well and truly set in, so can the boredom blues! When it’s cold and raining outside, it’s not always the best place for little people to play, but it is important for your child to stay active. It’s time to get creative with the following five ways to keep your children active over winter!

1. Animal Walks
Time to let your child’s imagination run wild!

Animal walks that will help develop your child’s strength in their arms, legs and core include:

  • Crab walks – Lay on the ground facing the ceiling, with your hands and feet on the floor. Then lift your bottom and back off the floor and try to walk side-to- side or forwards and backwards.
  • Frog jumps – Squat down with your hands between your knees then jump up as high as you can!
  • Duck waddles – Squat down and create your wings with your hands on your hips. The waddle around and remember to quack!
  • Snake slithers – Lay on your tummy and use your arms to pull yourself along the ground.
  • Wheelbarrow walks – Put your hands on the floor with someone else holding your legs. Try and walk around the room on your hands!
  • Bunny hops – Squat down with your hands on the floor out in front of you. The jump your legs towards your hands.

2. Obstacle Course
Get the kids to help set up the obstacle course with you. Create an obstacle course around the house that involves climbing up, crawling under, jumping, hopping, walking on a tightrope (i.e. tape on the floor), stepping over objects and rolling.

Here’s an example: crawl under the coffee table, walk over a pile of stepping stones (cushions), jump over a piece of string, tip toe walk along a tightrope, and finish with throwing a balloon into a bowl on the bench!

3. Musical Statues
Just like the common party game, play some of your child’s favourite music. Start dancing but remember to freeze when you stop the music! This fun game will help your child learn to control their movements, build up strength and balance skills.

4. Twister
The classic game of Twister ® is relatively cheap to purchase from a variety of toy stores. Your child’s aim is to stay standing as long as possible, no matter how twisted they end up! It a wonderful way of helping their motor planning and coordination, while building up their strength.

5. Simon Says
Take it in turns to be Simon. Simon should challenge your children to jump, hop, squat, and balance. You can add in movements that use two hands (bilateral movements) or crossing midline (using their hands on opposite side of their body). But remember don’t do it if Simon doesn’t say!

6. ABC Yoga
Challenge your child to try and make every letter of the alphabet with their body. It will help them to learn where their body is in space, build strength and flexibility, and learn the alphabet at the same time! Sometimes, looking in a mirror can make things a bit easier!

7. Masking Tape Ladder
Using masking tape, mark out the shape of a ladder on the floor. Your child can jump, hop, run, side step, tip-toe walk or do the grapevine, making sure to step in each square only once! For an extra challenge, put a beanbag or a ball in a square that your child has to stop to throw, then continue their way through the ladder.

These activities work on gross motor skills, strength, motor planning, coordination, balance and body awareness, all while keeping your little people busy! Have a go, be creative and prepare to get active!

by Amy Williams
Physiotherapist