Fun exercise ideas to keep kids moving all season long

Winter brings shorter, colder days and, typically, much more indoor family time. But that doesn't mean you can't keep your kids moving and having fun. With a little planning and creativity, you can help your family stay physically active all year long – no matter what the weather is outside.

Why is it important for kids to stay active in winter?

Exercise is essential, no matter the season. It helps kids maintain strong muscles and bones, builds cardiovascular strength, reduces the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes and improves mental health. 

How can families stay motivated to exercise during winter?

Don't feel pressured to block off a full hour for exercise, which can be difficult given families' busy schedules. Instead, aim for several 15–20-minute bursts of movement throughout the day – and keep it fun. Remember that most kids enjoy exercise more when it is part of a game.

See more fun and easy ways to keep kids active in the winter.

How can kids stay safe while playing outdoors this winter?

Kids should wear sunscreen and stay hydrated when playing outdoors, even in winter.

When playing outside in cooler temperatures, kids should dress in layers to stay warm. Encourage kids to wear hats and gloves, especially when the temperature falls below 40 degrees, Lorenzi advises. When children are playing in wet, icy or snowy conditions, make sure they come in frequently to trade out wet clothes (especially socks!) and warm up.

While in the summer, it's best to avoid the outdoors during peak sun hours, consider doing the opposite during the winter months. The sun can help keep you warm even on chilly days and also help with visibility. If your children are outside as it gets dark, make sure they wear bright or reflective clothing.