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7th January 2015Stay active with your children this winter

Stay active with your children this winter

When December ends and we welcome in January and a brand new year, there's usually a feeling of freshness and looking forward to a new start.

However, here in Britain, the climate means we're actually in for more of the same for at least a few more months, at least weather-wise. Indeed, January and February can sometimes be chillier than December.

This can make that new year motivation start to dissipate and any good intentions about physical activity in particular begin to fall by the wayside. Don't be tempted to let the kids veg out on the sofa every day after school though - there are still lots of activities you can do together that will get the heart-rate up.

Although many youngsters do get exercise at school during PE and breaktimes, NHS guidelines state they should be achieving 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, so there's always room for more.

Here are some ideas you can do with little ones in reception class right the way through to older kids to ensure winter is still a time for movement.

Pick-up Challenge

This might be better for your younger offspring than the older ones, but you can make a game out of tidying up just like Mary Poppins did. Challenge them to see how many objects they can pick up and put in a toybox in the space of 60 seconds, then offer a reward for the winner. You also get the satisfaction of a tidier playroom.

Afternoon disco

When the weather's really foul outside and you want to stay in, get everyone moving by setting up a CD player, dimming the lights and hosting your very own disco. You can even invest in some cheap glow sticks and get dressed up if you want to go the whole hog and make it really realistic. Try making a CD of really lively tunes with dance routines for maximum physical exertion.

Circuit training fun

This might sound a little fierce, but it doesn't need to be as strenuous as the exercise you do at the gym. Instead, set up a circle in a room with plenty of space and place different activities along the 'route'. For example, you could put a hula hoop in one position, then a card instructing players to do jumping jacks. Spend a minute or two at each one, then move on. Kids will love having a PE lesson at home and it's fun for you too.

Get out on scooters

If it's not snowing or throwing it down with rain, do try to get outside for some fresh air whenever you can, especially at weekends. Rug up warm and take youngsters out on their scooters, even if it's just for a few rides around the block. It'll raise your energy levels to get some daylight and should tire little ones out.

Make the most of the National Trust

National Trust properties around the country always have lots of activities on offer for families, so head to your nearest one and see what you can get involved with. For instance, they sometimes do trails that incorporate jumping in puddles with your wellies on, which are sure to go down a treat.

Lively video games

We tend to assume that video games are bad for us, but don't forget that consoles like the Wii and Kinect can be as good as a workout, plus children will get so engrossed and competitive that they won't even realise they're doing something strenuous. Dust off those controllers, load up a game and get playing.

Hide and seek

If all else fails and you are running out of ideas, you can't go wrong with a good old game of hide and seek. Kids of all ages love it and a lengthy session can while away a dreary afternoon - just make sure you set boundaries so the players don't wander off into hiding places they shouldn't.

Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration and you're now raring to get moving, no matter what the weather's doing outside.