by Kate Chiodini, Certified Personal Trainer
It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring – and the kids are driving you crazy. On a rainy spring day, sometimes it takes some inspiration to plan out indoor activities so the kids are not glued to the screen watching cartoons or playing video games. But, bad weather doesn’t have to equal a day spent being lazy. Activities that encourage physical fitness and play will release endorphins, and endorphins keep kids happy and healthy!
Exercise has so many additional benefits. According to Medline Plus1, regular exercise helps children to feel less stressed, develop a positive self-esteem, perform better academically, maintain a healthy weight, sleep better, and build healthy bones, muscles and joints. So, what can you do to keep boredom at bay and get active on those days when the weather isn’t cooperating? Check out these ideas:
:: Whip out the hula-hoop or jump rope, or play “laundry basket basketball”
:: Do a little indoor bowling using half-empty water bottles or aluminum cans as pins, and a beach ball
:: Help kids to design their own treasure hunt or an obstacle course
:: Put in a children’s workout DVD that can help your kids try out yoga, dance, aerobics and more
:: Have a dance party or dress-up parade
:: Rainy days are a good excuse for the little monkeys to actually jump on the bed and have a pillow fight
Here are some playlist pointers if you want to put together tunes to add some music to your indoor fun:
:: Three Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
:: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
:: Under the Sea
:: Yellow Submarine
:: The Freeze Dance
:: Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
On a rainy day, you could also take the opportunity to throw on a raincoat, grab the umbrella and head out. There are tons of indoor play areas to take your kids, including the bowling alley, ice skating rink or roller rink. Most malls have indoor playgrounds where kids can burn some energy. You can also take a trip to an aquarium or museum, which are always a big hit with many hands-on activities to get kids’ brains – and bodies – active. Websites are a great tool to find new and exciting kid-friendly events that are going on in your town. Check out familydaysout.com to find fun places to visit for kids and things to do with children all over America.
It’s not only the short-term effects of exercise that are important for kids, but also the long-term effects which include a longer life and a lower risk of developing certain medical conditions. Children who are physically active are also more likely to continue exercising regularly as adults.
The possibilities are endless to turn a gloomy day into a day our children will treasure, so don’t let the rain keep your kids parked on the couch all day.
1. Exercise for Children: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). NationalLibrary of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. June 18, 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/exerciseforchildren.html