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How to keep children active during the winter months

It’s that time of year when the days are shorter and colder and, while sofa cuddles watching the latest Disney film with overflowing cups of popcorn is an obvious necessity during winter, you still need to be mindful that your child requires a good balance of exercise to keep them healthy!

The government now recommend that children between the ages of 5 and 11 should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day at a moderate intensity.  Plus, they suggest for three of those days, the activity should be increased to vigorous intensity.

With the introduction of the ‘Daily Mile Challenge’ plus, regular breaks where we see children still enjoying favourite childhood games like ‘tag’ and ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf’, it’s safe to say that most junior school children are getting a good amount of exercise Monday to Friday, term-time.

What about the weekends?  Are our children are as active as we would like them to be when they are at home during the colder winter weekends?

Some sports club still run during the winter months so those children who are part of a gymnastics; netball or football club will get some exercise at the weekend.

Children who are less sporty may rely more heavily on technology to keep them occupied during the weekend which often negates any desire to do something active which can definitely be more challenging as a parent!

We’ve listed a few of our favourite activities, inside and out, we do with our children to keep them active and healthy during the winter which doesn’t break the bank of mum and dad!

Head to the park

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean your children have to stay inside.  Fresh air is really good for your child as long as you wrap them up in layers and wellies (a little bit of mud never hurt anyone)!

The park is the perfect place to burn off some energy and is often much quieter during the winter months.  Maybe you are even lucky enough to have an outdoor gym in your park.  If so, make the most of it and show your children how it is done!  Chin ups and the monkey bars are great way of building your child’s core as well as your own!

Bubbles at the park

Take bubbles to the park

There is nothing better than seeing the laughter that blowing and chasing bubbles creates in our children.

Always take some bubbles to the park in the winter just in case the swings, slides and other equipment is too wet to use.  The children will have loads of fun and get some well-needed exercise by chasing bubbles!

Friday nights are for dancing

Clear some space in your living room or play room so your children can enjoy moving around without the risk of hurting themselves or breaking something.

Whether it is ballet; street dance or just a good old boogie… get into the grove and have some fun.

If you want to make it a proper party, turn the lights down low, get out the glow sticks and turn up the music!

Even the tech loving boys can get involved.  Invest in the ‘Just Dance’ game which is available for a wide variety of platforms.  This uplifting game turns physical activity into a fun competitive event for all the family!

As long as everyone is involved (mums and dads included) then everyone will get a bit of exercise whilst having a blast!

Create a move jar

This is the basis of a game very similar to charades and perfect for a Saturday night sleepover with their friends.

All you need to do is get the children to write down or draw some moves that they need to guess.  It could be an animal’s movement like a monkey or an elephant; someone washing up or, a person doing up their shoe lace.

Place them in your decorated jar and then start the game.  You can play in teams of two with the other team having to guess the movement using a timer.

Fun; easy to play for all ages and it gets everybody moving!

Leaf collecting for crafting

Back outside we are heading to the woods for more fun!  From puddle jumping to mud squelching, there is something for everyone in the woods.

If your child loves arts and crafts then a trip to the local woods is great to collect some leaves to make a leaf crown or a leaf animal.

If you need some creative inspiration, The Woodland Trust has some easy creative ideas in their Nature Detectives Blog.

Having fun in the garden

Just because it is winter, doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do in the garden.

Encourage leaf collecting and make a large pile of leaves to encourage visiting hedgehogs to nest.  Replenish the bird feeders as this is the time they need our help the most.  Turnover the vegetable patch ready for springs planting activities.  Or, just clear out the play house and wash down the bikes!

Go outside after dark

By the time our children are home from school it is already getting dark.  Rather than putting the TV on or letting them pick up their iPad, invest in some head torches; a couple of small flashlights and head outside into the garden.

It immediately becomes an adventure.

From flashlight tag to just a good old game of catch, your children will love the fact that they are allowed to play outside in the dark!

Combine this with learning about our wildlife and hunt for bugs and animals in the garden, you may even spot your regular hedgehog visitor!

SPR Juniors Programme is a highly active P.E lesson resource pack containing video and lesson plan resources that allow staff to deliver high quality Physical Education at the push of a button.

The programme for SPR Juniors is designed to offer each primary school a balanced education programme focusing on nutrition, fitness and mindset delivering Strong Powerful Resilient Juniors! Primarily, the programme provides progressive P.E. lessons for years 3 to 6 which help children improve their core fitness and develop motor skills that will underpin their sporting performance.

Each school has access to our SPR Junior Resource Centre. This is an online library for teachers to access nutritional guidance to support their curriculum plus it includes fun goals and milestones for pupils to reach that will support their nutritional awareness. These resources are designed to be used as part of the weekly parent newsletter. They help parents understand, in more depth, what their children are learning in relation to nutrition and fitness and give them the core information on how to encourage their children to continue their SPR Junior’s programme at home!

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