Dull Days of Winter? Bring the OUTSIDE energy INDOORS!

The days of running around neighborhoods freely and walking to school have become a thing of the past. Instead, children tend to sit in front of a phone or computer screen for hours each day. When the weather outside is bad, time on electronics increases even more! Because of this, children have become more sedentary than ever. Parents must make an effort to provide daily physical activity opportunities for their young children: 60 minutes per day is the recommended minimum! Here are five fun indoor fitness activity ideas for young children using basic items from around the house. Remember, have fun and be safe!

Paper Path: Place 10 paper towel squares in a line on a carpeted floor. Have children jump from square to square. Separate the squares further. Jump again from square to square. Continue separating the squares to encourage the child to jump further distances. Try playing the game hopping on one foot or coloring the papertowels for a real-life game of Candy Land!

Paper Cup Conditioning: Gather at least 12 small paper cups. On a carpeted surface, place 4 paper cups next to each other upside down. Several feet away, place 4 more paper cups in a line. Repeat. You have set up a small hurdle course. The child can practice jumping over the paper cups. Place the paper cups in a line with each cup about 2 feet apart. Try weaving in and out of the cups. Stack the cups in a pyramid shape and throw a soft ball at them. Use the cups as bowling pins. When done, try smashing all of the cups with your feet or hands.

Time It: Using a stop watch or kitchen timer, time how long it takes your child to complete various tasks. For example, ask your child to walk upstairs to your bedroom, come back down touch the couch and skip back into the kitchen. Go for the best time over three trials. Try different movements such as hopping, jumping, crab walk and crawling.

Dance Party: Crank up the music and dance. Here are some variations on just dancing: play freeze dance, invent a new dance and teach it to a friend and put on a dance show.

Shoe Box Trail: Gather up old shoe boxes. Scatter them around a carpeted floor. See if the child can step from one side of the room to the other only stepping in the boxes. Try pretending to skate or ski around the room wearing the shoe boxes as skates or skis. Use the boxes as targets and throw wadded up pieces of paper into the boxes.

Written by: Melissa Lazar, OTR/L