Fight Boredom And Get Active

It's important to keep kids active all year round. But when the temperatures plummet, it becomes a greater challenge to convince the fam not to just sit it out. We asked experts Missy Chase Lapine and Larysa Didio, authors of the new book,Sneaky Fitness: Fun, Foolproof Ways to Slip Fitness into Your Child's Everyday Life, for advice on indoor games to get kids moving.

Painting with feet

Ever feel like your kids might just become part of the couch if they sit there any longer? It seems like a common trend. In summertime, everyone is up and going outside -- biking, playing, gardening and the like. But when winter hits, activities tend to be less active -- board games, video games, television. Sure, some kids might hit the slopes or go sleigh-riding, but those are more the exception than the rule.

Don't worry -- your kids can be active indoors and out year-round. In their new book, Sneaky Fitness: Fun, Foolproof Ways to Slip Fitness into Your Child's Everyday Life, authors Missy Chase Lapine and Larysa Didio detail activities for kids of all ages that will encourage everyday movement that kids will want to do.

The book also has 50 new recipes from Lapine, who is also author of The Sneaky Chef.

Why get sneaky?

Sure, we'd all love our kids to beg for exercise and devour a rainbow of fruits and veggies ... but that doesn't always happen. "People would say to me the food is one thing, but how do I get them off the couch," says Lapine. "You can't have fitness and you can't have good health without the exercise and the food component. It's about good health. ... I'm really bringing together a sneaky lifestyle now where food and fitness go hand in hand."

The tactic is simple: you plan fun activities that your kids will enjoy and they naturally get moving. Lapine and Didio say that while the allure of modern entertainment is strong, parents can overcome the challenge with the right tactics. "We are slipping so-called fitness into so-called fun activities. Kids just want to have fun. It's all about how you present it and how you package it," says Lapine. Didio says that while the changes are small, they add up to bigger results in the long term.

So, how can you get your kids moving? Here are three fun activities from the book.

Game #1: Hop away

There's a reason people say that good things "put a hop in your step." Hopping is fun. It's joyful. It's something that people do when they are happy. That's what makes #60 in Sneaky Fitness, dubbed Hip Hop, so great. This one is best for grade school kids and tweens.

The tactic is pretty simple: you use masking tape or chalk to draw a hopscotch board indoors in place where your family least expects it. Every time someone passes through, they have to hopscotch. Why is this so good? "Hopping burns twice as many calories as walking," says Didio.

Game #2: Budding artists

What kid doesn't like to paint and create? Splashing colors on a page is a fun and magical experience for kids ... and it's even better when you get up close and personal with the paints. That's what kids do with #13, Muscle Murals. Parents spread paper all over the floor and let little kids paint with their feet. Perfect for preschoolers and kids in grade school, this one builds balance while giving kids some cardio exercise.

The exercise is a favorite in Didio's household. "They have such a fun time running up and down and just painting with their hands and feet," says Didio.

Tip #3: Get sliding

Kids love to slide around. How many times have your kids dragged their feet to feel the hardwood slide beneath their socks? Stop discouraging them! This can actually be a great exercise, Lapine and Didio say.

Dubbed Slip and Slide in the book, #79 is all about embracing kid's natural desire to slide. Simply have kids put on some old socks and slide around on non-carpeted floors. Grade schoolers and tweens will have a blast with this one. Lapine says that while everyone tries to get their feet as dirty as possible, there is also another hidden benefit: kids get exercise and also help clean all at the same time. Gleaming floors? Yes, please!

More indoor games and crafts for kids:

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