Four Games to Keep Your Kids to Stay Active this Winter

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Jill Vialet, Founder and CEO of Playworks, has been a recognized leader in the physical activity and play for the past 15 years. She recently addressed TEDxABQ on the moral imperative of building schools where all parents would send their children. Vialet is a proud mother of five.

Play supports children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Research on play concludes that play isn’t just fun; children literally can’t do without it.

Playing with your child is great for them, healthy for you, and one of the best ways to ensure that they will come to love being physically active. Try these fun games this winter indoors or out to stay active and fit.

Hopscotch

Create a hopscotch design with chalk or tape. Begin by taking turns jumping through with one foot in each square. When two squares are side-by-side, land with two feet, one in each square. If you loose your balance, go back and try again. Now for a challenge, find a small object and toss it in the first square. Jump over that square down to the end and turn around to return. In the square before the object, lean down (without putting down your second foot), pick it up and return to the beginning. Repeat in each consecutive square.

Up, Down, Stop, Go

A game of listening skills and movements, this tricky game requires a leader. Start as leader and explain the four commands. When you say ‘up’, everyone must crouch down touching the floor. When you say ‘down’, everyone reaches up toward the sky on their toes. When you say ‘stop’, everyone runs in place. And when you say ‘go’, everyone freezes with their arms out to their sides forming a ‘T’. Challenge your children by speeding up commands or adding new ones. Or ask your kids to become the leader and challenge you.

Helicopter

A fail-safe tool for fun and activity is a jump rope! Jump rope games take practice, focus and get hearts pumping. In this game, there will be one spinner and all others become jumpers. The spinner stands in the middle with one end of the rope, jumpers stand in a wide circle around them. The spinner begins turning the rope in circles on the ground and says “Helicopter, helicopter over my head, I choose a color and the color is… (insert color).” If the jumpers are wearing that color, they must come into the circle and attempt to jump over the rope. Repeat with new colors and new spinners.

Shadow, Shadow

This game requires pairing up. Each pair determines a leader and a shadow. The leader makes funny and exaggerated movements–running, skipping, walking, jumping–around the room. The shadow must follow their every movement while the leader can attempt to shake them. Continue for a designated time and then switch roles.

Games are fun ways to bond with your children, create everlasting memories and are healthy for the entire family. To find more games, see the Playworks games database.

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