It’s that time of year again, you know the one, the kids are restless from unused energy and they’re driving you nuts.  Here are 10 ways to keep kids active when it’s cold outside while saving your sanity.

Keeping kids active when it's cold outside.
10 tips on keeping kids active when it’s cold outside. Let them burn off some energy and keep you sane.

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This is how it goes down in my house:

About this time every year the kids have played with all their Christmas toys and are getting a little restless with so much indoor time.  My oldest is doing her thing hanging with friends, son is content to be on electronics all day every day, but my youngest Kitty (8) is begging for some outside time to play.

They’re bickering more than usual.  They’re changing activities every five minutes.  You’ve run out of art projects and chores for them to do.  They’re bored!

The thing is we live in Oklahoma and although the temperature may say it’s in the 40’s, that damn wind never stops.  It may not be like the snow covered playground all the time here, but that windchill will certainly take a bite out of you.

So what’s a mom to do?  (Besides go slowly insane from refereeing her kids 24/7.)

10 Tips to Keep Kids Active When It’s Cold Outside

 1-  Dance Party

Turn on some tunes and have at it.  There are plenty of Apps that are free to stream music.  IHeartRadio Family is obviously family friendly for little ears and is available on iTunes, Google, and Amazon.

Now just get your groove on, see who can make up the silliest dance moves, or play freeze dance.

**Bonus**  Dance with them and you can get in some cardio while having fun.

2-  Workout

Getting kids to workout with you when it’s cold outside is a great way to let them burn off some energy.

A lot of kids (mine included) are interested in what kind of workouts mom and dad do.  Kids can start learning movements really young too.  (Ever seen a baby squat?  Perfect form.)

For toddlers and young children (2-5ish) with small hands they make children’s dumbbells* that only weight 1 lb.  And for older kids (6-12ish) you can use 2-3 lb dumbbells*.  For teens start with 5 lbs to get form down.

For learning barbell movements my kids (8 & 10) use dowels.  You can get these at Home Depot for about $4, you are looking for 1 in diameter & 48 in length, and you may have to sand any ridges it has to prevent splinters.  My oldest daughter started with the barbell at 12, but I’m a coach so you may want to wait longer if you’re unsure of their technique.

The most important part of working out with kids is getting the correct form.  Weight always comes after form, even for adults.

**Bonus**  You can get your workout in while they imitate the movements.  The “weights” for them are really necessary, but I’ve learned that they want to imitate exactly what you’re doing.


Get the kids active when it’s cold outside through activities they’ll love.  You can use free stuff online to give yourself a break for a few minutes. gives kids active breaks.  It’s made for use in classrooms, which is totally cool.  But you can use it at home too!

And it’s free!  Check out a few ways that you can use GoNoodle to to take an active break.  Then sign up for a free kids account.  It says parent or kids, but once you click on it it only says kids, weird.

But you just create a kids username and password, then enter a parent email.  You’ll receive a verification email and you’re all set.

The kids can go in and choose what activity they want to do or you can.  The verification email stuff did say that it emails you weekly activity reports.  So maybe I’ll write up another post about this after I did around a bit.

**Bonus**  You can also find free stuff for kids fitness on Youtube look under kids “yoga, zumba, dance” whatever, Kitty has even done beginning ballet.  But if your kids are like mine, they tend to wander on Youtube and inevitably it’ll end up on Minecraft videos.

4-  Obstacle Course.

Build an obstacle course throughout the house.  Lay pillows on the floor you have to jump over, build a blanket tunnel, masking tape hopscotch (on the carpet).  The possibilities are endless.

5-  Games

Active games balloon juggle, hot potato, Simon says (Coach says in my house), and even duck duck goose are all great indoor games to play when it’s cold outside.

6-  Mini Kidd-O-lympics

Come up with a list of 10 kid friendly indoor activities and hold your own little decathlon when it’s cold outside.  You can do this one of two ways for time or performance.

If doing it for time you move from station to station as quickly as possible and complete all the tasks.  For performance use a stopwatch for 10-20 seconds at each station, total actions repeated is the score for that station (this allows for rest between stations).

An example would be 1 plank 10 seconds, 2 push ups, 3 frog squats, 4 skaters, 5 air squats, 6 windmills, 7 jumping jacks, 8 1-leg hops (4 each side), 9 high knees, and 10 invisible jump rope.  Do this for time.

**Bonus**  You could do this as an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) for cardio.  Let this kids time you or even compete with you.

7-  Video/Board Games

So I know the point is to get them off of video games for some physical activity, but stay with me here a minute.  There are plenty of games out there for Wii and XBox that require movement.

Okay, so you get that, but what about those that don’t and how are board games supposed to help kids be active when it’s cold outside?

Well, you remember the drinking game where every time some said the key phrase you drank.  See where I’m going with this?  Every time some performs some specific action in the game, then everyone has to do some exercise movement.

Just remember that the more often the action is performed, the easier the movement should be.

So you could play an standing game of go fish and every time some says it every one has to do 1 air squat.

And yes, I know that’s kind of evil.

8-  Indoor Playground

Find a local indoor playground for when it’s too cold outside or it’s raining on the weekend … again.  Some are free to play and some are paid so be sure to check out your local area.  Malls often have play areas geared toward younger kids, but I’ve heard a few have amazing playgrounds.  Just remember that if you take the kids to Chik-fil-a for the play area, they’re going to want to eat.

9-  Indoor Active Amusement

These services are great for when it’s too cold outside, but your kids are bouncing off the walls.  Ha, see you can take them to an indoor trampoline park or and indoor bounce house place.

You could always feel like a tween again yourself by taking them roller skating.  That was way more popular when we were kids, but my kids love it.

Or you can take them to explore at a museum that offers children’s activity areas.  Many even have free admission days.  Just be aware that in some of them they can’t run around.

If you really want to be a hero and get an early bedtime check for indoor pools in your area.  Some parks and rec departments have free or low fee options.  Or maybe your own gym offers open hours.

Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff is not free.  But definitely scope out your options through local publications and groups like Oklahoma City Moms Blog (they have lots of sister sites).  If you live in the OKC area a great resource for family activities is MetroFamily.  Most cities should have something similar.

10-  Go Outside Anyway

When you feel a little stir crazy and just really need some sunshine your just going to have to suck it up and go outside anyway.

Just remember:

  • Layers to stay warm, but easy to take off if they start to get sweaty.
  • Sunscreen is still important, especially in the snow.
  • Moisturizer to keep your skin from chapping.
  • Lipbalm with SPF, I’ve sunburned my lips it’s not fun.
  • And keep hydrated.  You can still sweat when it’s cold out.

Go out, have some fun, and burn off some of that extra energy.  Even when it’s cold outside.

What do you do with your kids when it’s cold outside?  Any tips or hidden gems that you’ve found?  Share below in the comments, I’d love to hear about them.

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