Courtney's Corner Physical Therapy

Courtney’s Corner: Staying Active This Winter

Bowling_1After the excitement of the holidays ends, the winter months can begin to feel somewhat daunting, especially in St. Louis, where the cold weather can last well into March. As my two children spend more time indoors, they become easily aggravated with each other – often fighting over nothing, and I find myself turning to screens for easy entertainment. Thus, each year around this time, I start thinking about what I can do to make these cold months pass more quickly and peacefully.
Keeping kids active during the winter can be hard, especially when weather limits the time spent outside. Indoor swimming can be a really fun escape from the cold, and community recreation centers, YMCAs and even high schools typically offer open swim time. If your family doesn’t have any of these resources nearby, consider calling a local hotel to see if they would be open to letting your little ones swim for even an hour during less busy times.
Bowling is another excellent indoor activity to consider! Don’t underestimate how young kids can be to start bowling. With bumpers, light bowling balls and bowling ramps, children as young as three years old can bowl.
Alternatively, the cold weather actually creates extra excitement at the zoo, making winter months an excellent time to visit. Animals from cold habitats are more active, and the crowds are much smaller. Before you visit, check your zoo’s website to see if they have any activities already planned, such as treasure hunts or specific lesson plans.
If the weather is too treacherous to leave the house, create activities inside. Obstacle courses are easily made with pillows, yarn and balloons. A dance contest gets everyone on their feet. Some board games focus on lots of movement, such as Hullabaloo. Simon says, hopscotch and red light/green light all work on motor skills as well as balance, motor planning and strength.
Beyond finding alternative cold weather-appropriate activities, try to embrace the slightly slower pace of the winter months. Remember that the warmer months are right around the corner!
Courtney Dunn, PT, DPT