Brett Klika by Brett Klika

When the rain, snow, wind and cold keep kids inside, it can be easy to rely on television and/or computer games to keep them occupied. Helping kids stay active, however, even when they can’t go outside, is a powerful way to improve not only their physical fitness, but potentially their behavior as well.

Here are five fun, physical, winter activities for kids that require little to no space or equipment and are ideal for keeping kids moving when they’re indoors.

1. The Shoe Tie Challenge

Balance is an important motor skill that helps improve coordination and overall physical confidence. This activity provides a balance and fine motor coordination challenge.

  • Stand on one leg.
  • Without allowing the other leg to touch the floor, untie and then tie your shoe.
  • Repeat on both sides.

To make it more challenging:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take off the shoe and put it back on.


2. The Impossible Card Catch

Hand-eye coordination is the product of visual, spatial and even rhythmic ability. Developing this skill expands the number of physical activities a child is able to feel confident and competent performing. This activity provides a unique hand-eye coordination challenge.

  • Find a standard playing card.
  • Toss the card in the air roughly head high and attempt to catch as it falls in an unpredictable pattern.

To make it more challenging:

  • Toss the card in the air and clap before catching it.
  • Toss the card in the air and catch it with one hand.
  • Close both eyes while tossing the card in the air and open the eyes after releasing to try to catch it.


3. Letter Agility 

Agility is an important physical skill that helps children improve their overall coordination for sports and other physical activities. This activity provides a fun and unique agility challenge while helping kids develop spatial ability for creating letters and numbers.

  • Give the child a number, letter or shape.
  • Instruct the child to create the number, letter or shape by moving in that pattern as fast as possible. For example, for a letter “S,” the child moves his or her feet to follow an imaginary “S” pattern on the floor.

To make it more challenging:

  • Give the child short sentences instead of single words.
  • Instruct the child to do the activity with his or her eyes closed.
  • Encourage the child to move in different locomotion patterns, such as running, skipping, shuffling, etc.


4. Bean Bag Toss and Catch (Sit to Stand)

Providing activities that require a child to move his or her entire body weight in large ranges of motion against gravity help the child develop the strength and power needed to participate in a variety of activities. Additionally, these activities help children maintain a proper strength-to-weight ratio, providing them with adequate strength to efficiently move their bodies.

This activity, which can be performed with either a bean bag or a pair of folded socks, provides a strength and power challenge, as well as a hand/eye coordination challenge, using the child’s bodyweight and a simple implement.

  • Sit on the floor, crisscross applesauce.
  • Toss the beanbag in the air.
  • Attempt to stand up and catch the beanbag before it lands on the floor.

To make it more challenging:

  • Start in different body positions (e.g., lying on the floor, face down, on one side, etc.)
  • Begin with the eyes closed until the beanbag is thrown.
  • Catch with one hand.
  • Stand and turn around one time.


5. Math Race

Helping young children develop math skills is an essential aspect of their capacity to develop cognitive reasoning skills. This activity combines an aerobic challenge with a mathematical challenge.

  • Stand back-to-back with the child.
  • Perform a physical activity such as jumping jacks.
  • On your call, both you and the child turn quickly to face one another with any number of fingers showing on each hand.
  • The first to add up the total number of fingers shown between the two of you is the “winner” and gets to choose an exercise to do together for 10 repetitions.

When the weather or anything else keeps kids inside, try these simple, fun and effective activities before resorting to some of the less-active options technology has to offer. When kids move, both their bodies and brains benefit. Use the power of movement and play to inspire the kids of today to become the happy, healthy, active adults of tomorrow.

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