If winter break was any indication of how the next few months will go, I’m going to have to do some serious motivating to keep my kids off the couch and active in the cold weather months. If you’re in the same boat and looking for a few activities that will get your little ones moving when the temperature drops, consider these options that will get them off the couch and get their heart pumping.
Embrace the season
1. Sledding: When the snow begins to fall, what child doesn’t immediately beg their parents to bundle them up and send them out sledding? And if the hills are steep enough, the walking back up can be a real workout for everyone. If you want to make a day of it, why not have kids make their own sleds. Get the neighbors in on it too and see whose homemade sled is the most successful—winner gets extra marshmallows in their hot cocoa.
2. Ice Skating: It doesn’t have to be snowy, or even below 32, to enjoy a day at the ice rink. Novices and seasoned skaters can enjoy a public session at the open-air Mercer County Ice Skating Center at Mercer County Park in season. Or head indoors to Ice-Land in Hamilton for an indoor skating experience.
3. Skiing: Skiing is a family-friendly activity that will keep everyone busy all day long. Avoid hitting the slopes on holidays and weekends if you can—those are the most crowded and most expensive days—and look for package deals that will make the experience easier on your wallet. If you’re looking for a place to ski, we’ve already got you covered.
1. Trampoline parks: The latest in indoor gyms for kids, trampoline parks are a great way to get kids to bounce all of their energy out of them—the floors are basically wall-to-wall trampolines and foam pits. There are three Sky Zones in the area—Levittown, Pa., Moorestown, and Hainesport—and Rebounderz in Edison.
2. Indoor Inflatable Playgrounds: Continuing with the jumping theme, indoor inflatable playgrounds include an array of bouncy-style castles and climb-ons that will happily tire your kids out. These birthday party Meccas typically feature “open bounce” hours, so check out their websites for the best times. Two big chains in the area include Pump it Up and Bounce U.
3. Interactive Gaming: It’s amazing how video games can suck your children in, turning them into brain dead zombies who sit on the couch all day. And with tablets, smartphones and streaming devices all offering their own gaming options, it’s hard to keep video games out of kids’ hands. So, if they’re going to play, why not make it an active pursuit. (A recent study showed that kids who played active video games while on a weight management program lost more weight than those kids who didn’t. Xbox Kinect and Wii both offer plenty of active games. For little kids, there’s the LeapBand from LeapFrog, a watch-like device that requires kids to get active in order to unlock features on it, and the Fisher-Price Smart Cycle, which is a cross between a stationary bike and an arcade game.