Keep your kids active this winter, inside and out
This time of year – especially with the excitement of the holidays – children have a lot of energy to burn. It’s important for their sake and yours to find constructive ways for them to move around and play.
Even if the temperatures are cold where you live, don’t neglect dressing children warmly so they can go outside and play. Outdoor play is important for the physical and social development of young children. Studies show that children who play outside are healthier, develop stronger immune systems and have more active imaginations.
In addition, play is one of the best young children learn. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), when children play, they are thinking, innovating, negotiating and taking risks. They create make-believe events and scenarios as they practice skills they’ve learned. Through playing, children can learn social, emotional, physical and cognitive components of the real world around them, all the while retaining key information and refining skill sets as they have fun. As children play, they build important connections with both adults and peers and begin to grasp character values like respect and tolerance that prepare them for life.
If you’re looking for some ideas on activities your kids can do indoors or out, here are a few we’ve pulled from our Kiddie Academy Life Essentials® curriculum.
Transform your basement or another room in your house into an indoor physical development hub. Supply it with yoga mats, Hula-Hoops, play tunnels, a hopscotch carpet or even set up an indoor obstacle course to keep kids moving.
If you have a sensory table, you can use it with winter-themed items, such as snow, ice, winter animal figures, pine cones, etc.
And you can let children get creative by painting with ice. Dye water in an ice tray, with each cube being a different color. Freeze a popsicle stick inside, then use the ice cube as paintbrush as the colors melt on the paper.
When the weather permits, go outside and use balance beams and stepping stones to allow children to practice stability skills like turning, balancing, stopping and bending.
You can also let children use their imagination to turn outdoor playhouses into scenarios for socialization, language development and other learning opportunities. Simply change the props available in the playhouse to transform the structure into a boat, spaceship, igloo or train.
If you need more ideas, feel free to ask your Kiddie Academy educator to suggest some activities appropriate for your child!