7+ ways to get the kids moving indoors

Wintertime doesn’t have to mean couch time — ways kids can still exercise

With chilly winter weather settling in, it’s often difficult to get our kids to head outside for some much-needed exercise and activity time. Never fear — exercising inside the house can be done, and creativity is certainly the key when it comes to planning a routine that will keep kids’ bodies active and hearts pumping.

When asked what they do to keep their kids from turning into the proverbial couch potatoes during the winter months, a number of Louisville moms offered up advice for getting their kids off the sofa.

Tammy Gnagy is the mom of three young children, so she is always on the lookout for indoor activities for her troop. She suggests a scavenger hunt.

“I hide objects around the house then take pictures of where they are hidden. Once they see the pictures they scurry to find them,” she said. “I did this with candy one Halloween when it was snowing and too cold to go out to trick or treat.”

A winter holiday theme could center on hiding presents around the house and giving the kids riddles to solve in order to discover hiding places. If your house has two levels and a basement, this will have the kids climbing up and down the stairs for a good cardiovascular workout.

Mom Jan Sohan mixes play time with crafting.

“My kids make zombies and monsters out of boxes then have ‘Nerf wars’ around the house,” she said.

Sohan admits it gets a little crazy, but she knows that her children are having fun and getting a good workout from running, hiding and playing with each other.

Prospect-area mom Emily Burrice adds that her children do the same, using old boxes and recyclable materials to create forts and stations where they can hide and play.

If cabin fever hits and you need to get out of the house for a few hours, look for a kids’ gym. There are a few in the Louisville area. Julie Halitzka of My Gym Louisville says gyms designed just for kids offer a multitude of activities and give children the tools to do the activities on their own time.

“We teach practice skills in classes that can be done at home,” Halitzka said.

Here are some ideas:

  • Hang a beach ball with some elastic to create your own bopper.
  • Beanbag toss or a ball toss: Oballs are great for indoors. They are not hard and less likely to break anything.
  • Scarves can be thrown up in the air and caught, or used for a game of “catch.”
  • Yoga balls are great for forward rolls, back walkovers, bouncing or rocking a little one on top of for core work.
  • And don’t forget about dancing — try a freeze dance.
  • Find “exercise equipment” around the house: soup or vegetable cans can be used as weights.
  • Use masking tape to create lines several feet apart from each other and have the kids jump from one to the other.

If the kids aren’t motivated to do their indoor exercising, a parent can become the coach. Purchase a referee shirt and a gym whistle, and lead them in knee bends, arm windmills, touching toes, running in place, and other tried-and-true calisthenics.

But, if they start to beg for computer or TV time, there is an abundance of exercise programming online, such as GoNoodle. Have fun!


More about GoNoodle

Jefferson County, Kentucky, school kids can sign up for a free GoNoodle account. This web-based kids’ exercise program is made possible by Norton Children’s Hospital and Passport Health Plan. Your kids will have fun moving and grooving to short videos that get their heart rate up. And there’s no reason you can’t join in, too!