Every other Thursday morning, I sit in a patterned turquoise chair working on my laptop while my son Alex, an active 9-year-old with balance issues, navigates a swinging obstacle course, bounces balls two at a time, and plays board games while sitting on a one-legged stool. Guiding his fun indoor activities and keeping him focused in this brightly colored room is Alex’s amazing physical therapist, Kim, who seems to have endless energy and mountains of patience.
Therapy in disguise
At Blank Children’s Pediatric Therapy clinics, therapists like Kim evaluate and work with children of various abilities on a wide variety of issues, from balance and strengthening, like my son, to handwriting and self-care, speaking and swallowing, hearing aides, or even incontinence. They use play and fun to build strength and self-confidence.
Alex looks forward to his sessions with Kim and is always disappointed when his sessions are over. He doesn’t think of his sessions as work because Kim “hides” the work in the games. We have “homework” to do between sessions, but it’s all fun and games—activities we can easily do at home that help build Alex’s coordination while keeping him physically active.
One thing I appreciate about Alex’s at-home pediatric therapy activities is they are things that can be done either indoors or out. With the arrival of winter, it’s not always easy to get outside, but as Kim points out, “Exercise and movement are important for everyone during all seasons of the year. We tend to be more sedentary during the colder months when we are indoors more often. There are creative ways to stay active, move our bodies, and keep healthy for the entire family during these winter months.”
Fun Indoor Activities for Home
You do not need to be an expert like Kim or have special equipment like the Blank Peds Therapy clinics to incorporate movement into your daily life. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor activities for the whole family this winter:
- Body movement games (Twister, Simon Says, Hokey-Pokey)
- Scavenger hunt around the house (look up high, under the table, down the stairs, around the couch)
- Dancing or tumbling (put on your favorite music and have a dance party)
- Obstacle course (crawl under a table, roll over blankets, wiggle around a chair)
- Ball activities (catch a tennis ball in a cup, bounce or toss softer balls between partners, try to keep a balloon from touching the floor)
- Follow the leader (walking backward, jumping jacks, standing on one leg, going down the stairs)
- Animal movement games (walk like a crab, crawl like a bear, stand on one leg like a stork, gallop like a horse, hop like a frog)
- Children’s yoga (search for websites or YouTube videos to follow)
- Incorporate exercise in your daily life (crab walk on your way to bed, stand on one leg while brushing your teeth, race to see who can put toys away the fastest)
As we head into winter, try to get outside when you are able. Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or go sledding at your local park. On days when it’s not possible to get outside, enjoy indoor fun with your family this winter!
Melissa Sonnenblume has been a childbirth educator with Blank Children’s Hospital for 8 years. She is passionate about supporting and empowering pregnant women and new moms. Melissa has three children: an elementary kiddo, a tween, and a teen (heaven help her). She loves lifting other moms up by sharing her motherhood failures and triumphs with humor and honesty.
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This post is part of a series of sponsored posts by UnityPoint Health Des Moines.