Here in New York the winters are long and cold. Often the temperatures keep us inside for too long. As homeschoolers we need to be able to find ways to include winter physical education activities even if we can’t get outside.
In August I was featured at Hip Homeschool Moms with a post called Got Phys Ed? Summer Edition. As the weather here in the East gets colder and colder, we are starting to prepare for not only the outdoor cold weather activities, but the indoor activities that can still keep us moving during our long winter season.
I know many will debate about what should be included as a healthy lifestyle physical education program, and debate is not my purpose for this article. I am all for training the body with consistent target heart rate training, and muscle building activities. On the other hand I am also aware that this type of activity is not for everyone, and we need to get physical activity in any form we can. It is especially important for our children who want everything to be fun, and exercise doesn’t always seem fun. The good news is there are so many things we can do to combine what seems like fun playtime, with good physical activities.
If your children are anything like mine, especially my 9 year old son, they get a little, more like a whole lot, wiggly when they are short on physical activity! This happens very quickly when they can’t just pop out onto the trampoline, or run up and down the sidewalk. Thus, it is important to continue with physical activity even when the weather is cold outside, not only for your physical health, but your emotional well being too.
As with my post in August, I am going to keep my list of activities limited to include mostly free activities, and non organized sports teams. Our advice to you for fulfilling a physical education requirement and just plain getting in some healthy physical activity, is just to get up, get out, and have fun with your family!
Easy Indoor Wiggle Busters
DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), Wii Sports/Fit and other motion video games
Obviously this is only cost effective if you already own a game system. You can often find us pounding it out on our DDR pads together as a family in the evening!
Turn on some dancing music and boogie! We often turn on the Electric Slide, Hokey Pokey, Macarena, etc.
The kids and I help each other to do things like jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and leg raises. Counting for each other and increasing in number as we get better.
Outdoor Snow Activities
I think the real exercise is in getting back up the hill!
Snowboarding / Skiing
My 12 year old brings her snowboard to the local sledding hill as that is more than enough for her!
We have a couple of local nature places that “rent” shoes for a small fee and you can explore on their land with them.
Build a Snowman
Building a snowman is absolutely exercise!
Or for some indoor fun click the image for some fun snowman activities!
Snowball fights are the ultimate exercise in the snow. It requires lots of running to avoid the opponent’s snowball launch to squatting to build more of your own snowballs to launch. Exercise can be non-traditional, right?
Build an Igloo
For kids that have mastered building snowmen, they might enjoy the challenge of building an igloo!
Don’t neglect the value of helping around the community and neighborhood. For example, After a heavy snow, helping shovel sidewalks and driveways is a great opportunity to get some physical activity and be a blessing to others!
Local Indoor Activities
We go with our homeschool group during the day. For the kids to skate it is $2 each (with a punch card that saves you money so it is less than that), and I bought each of their skates for around $3 at the local thrift store.
Our local Community Education Program has open swim with a punch card that is less than $1 per person. If your kids already take swim lessons (which two of ours do), they get in free!
Local Community Center
They have great activities such as open gym time and an indoor track. It is free since we are residents. We have been going as a family and running 3 nights a week (that includes our 5 year old who is running 1 1/2 miles!)