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Ideas to keep your family active in the winter

Here are some ideas to keep your family active, inside and outside, during the winter.

Editor's note: This is the second of two parts.

Yesterday, I discussed strategies such as keeping your routines and habits, and planning ahead to stay active during winter. Here are some specific activity ideas for winter:

Go outside! Go for a walk to look at Christmas lights, build a snow man, go sledding, or have your children help with outside chores such as raking leaves. Try winter sports like snow shoeing, skiing, or cross country skiing.

Make sure you're properly dressed for the weather. The Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations when taking your child outside over the winter.

"Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.  Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don't forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions."

Find a class. Try a google search for active classes in your area. Look for classes that align with your childs interests such as a kickboxing class, yoga for kids, Zumba class, indoor soccer league, swim lessons, tap dancing, or ice skating lessons! A lot of centers will offer specials this time of year for classes and some places will even offer prorated winter sessions to help get your child through the cold months.

Use technology. Try active games using the Wii or Xbox Kinect such as Just Dance, Wipe Out, Zumba for Kids, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, and my personal favorite Fruit Ninja. There are also active DVD such as Adventure to Fitness series that offer active adventures without the use of a gaming system.  There are also multiple active apps (some are free) for all age such as NFL Play 60, Ninja Fitnesss, Yuvi, and Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest for kids and Nike training club, Sworkit lite, Couch to 5k, and Zombie's, Run for Teens.  There are also multiple resources for physical activity on the web such as or a various number of workouts offered on youtube such as Paul Eugene for younger children.

Get Creative. When the weather limits what can be done outside, think outside the box! Dance parties at night with glow sticks, a few games of Twister, park a little further away at the store, create a move jar with animals and movements like monster walks and have each family member pick a movement to do together before meal time. Try a family tennis lesson or check out your local rec center to see what classes are offered during the winter.

Life can get chaotic this time of year but take advantage of your child's winter break and look for some unique ways to get active with your family. The most important thing to remember is just keep moving! Happy Holidays!

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