Walking in a Winter Wonderland…and Other Exercise for Kids! (Includes WMELS domains for Child Care Providers)

WinterActivity

When the winter chill hits and little ones are quite literally up to their ears in snow, your first instinct might be to run back inside, fire up the hot chocolate, and pop in a movie. While that might be great once in a while, winter doesn’t mean that children (or you!) stop needing exercise. If anything, little bodies are especially restless in winter being cooped up more frequently, and they need the energy and caloric release of physical activity. According to the Physical Activity Recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, infants need daily physical activity, while toddlers need at least 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity per day, and preschool aged children need 120. The amount of exercise that children require only increases with age. Fortunately, there are a ton of winter activities that you can do indoors, and with these winter safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no reason that you can’t go outside on some of those milder winter days. As a reminder for child care providers, the licensing requirements define inclement weather, when children should not go outside as “stormy or severe weather such as any of the following:

(a) Heavy rain.
(b) Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
(c) Wind chills of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children age 2 and above.
(d) Wind chills of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children under age 2.”

Luckily the activities below account for outside and inside days, so no matter the weather, you are set! Not only do these winter activities incorporate some physical movement into the day, these activities naturally integrate important pieces of child developmental support from the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS), which is noted beneath each activity or collection of activities. Just remember to keep Developmentally Appropriate Practices in mind, and tailor these activities to your children’s age and developmental stage.

So what are you waiting for? Parent or provider, don’t let a little cold weather stop you and your children from being healthy and happy! Check out these top ten great ideas and lists from around the web to keep children, and the adults who care for them, active through the winter.

Indoors:

  1. Getting Little Bodies Moving When It’s Too Cold (or Hot) Outdoors
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development)LittleBodiesMoving
  2. Wax Paper “Ice Skating”
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Motor Development)
    WaxPaperIceSkating
  3. Winter Olympics Yoga
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Emotional Development, Self-Concept)
    WinterYoga
  4. Roll Some Brain Breaks
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Listening and Understanding, Early Literacy, Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving)
    Roll_Some_Fun_Freebie2
  5. Pompom Hockey
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Mathematical Thinking (count the pompoms!), Motor Development, Sensory Organization)
    Pompom-Hockey

Outdoors:

  1. Winter Activities To Help Your Child With Gross Motor Coordination
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Motor Development, Sensory Organization) GrossMotor
  2. Top 10 Wintertime Neighborhood Games
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Social Competence, Speaking and Communicating, Listening and Understanding, Curiosity, Engagement and Persistence, Creativity and Imagination)
    Top10Neighborhood
  3.  20+ Fun Activities to Do in the Snow
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Sensory Organization, Curiosity, Engagement and Persistence, Creativity and Imagination)
    20FunSnowActivities
  4. FUN Ideas to Play in the Snow
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Sensory Organization, Curiosity, Engagement and Persistence, Scientific Thinking, Creativity and Imagination)
    FUNIdeastoPlay5. Winter Nature Walk Ideas
    (WMELS Developmental Sub-Domains: Physical Health and Development, Sensory Organization, Curiosity, Engagement and Persistence, Scientific Thinking, Diversity in Learning)
    WinterNatureWalkHave FUN, stay active, stay warm, and SHARE your favorite winter activities for kids!
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