It’s Time to Play
Maybe you’re looking outside right now and snow is falling on the ground. Or maybe you’re in a place where people are sweating and wearing shorts. You might have a bunch of friends available for playing, or you could be all by yourself. No matter what the weather is like or how many friends are around, there’s always a way to be physically active and have fun. Here’s how.
When It’s Just You
By yourself? Try hopping on your bike, strapping on your skates, or grabbing your skateboard. Don’t forget your helmet and pads! Or try jumping rope and counting how many times you can jump before you miss. Jumping rope is a great way to get aerobic exercise.
Sometimes being by yourself gives you a chance to practice stuff so you get better at it. If you play tennis, try hitting a tennis ball against a brick wall. If basketball’s your thing, try shooting hoops and seeing how many you can sink. Or if you’re into soccer, grab a ball, and see how long you can keep it in the air using your feet, knees, and head. When you play with your friends again, they’ll be amazed at what you can do!
More things to do when it’s just you:
- Practice hopscotch.
- See how long you can hop on one foot.
- Do jumping jacks.
- Invent some dance moves.
- Do sprints (short running races) and time yourself to see how fast you go.
- Use a pedometer to count the number of steps between your favorite places, like your house and the park.
When There Are Two
Just you and a friend hanging out, looking for something to do? Practice playing some Ping-Pong or start a tennis tournament between the two of you. Ever try badminton? It’s great if you have a net, but you also can play by just seeing how many times you can hit the birdie back and forth to each other.
How about a little one-on-one in basketball or a race to see who’s the fastest runner? Maybe you’re into cheerleading. If so, invent some new cheers together.
More things to do when there are two:
- Have a handstand contest.
- Invent dances to your favorite songs.
- Jump rope together.
- Ride bikes and don’t forget your helmets!
- Practice pitching and hitting a baseball.
When There Are a Lot of You
If there are a bunch of kids looking for something cool to do, you’re in luck! Lots of sports and games work well with a group of kids. Baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball are good group games. Or you might play follow the leader on bikes, blades, or skates.
More things to do when there are a lot of you:
- Have a skateboarding contest.
- Play tag.
- Play outdoor hide-and-seek.
- Dance to your favorite music.
When It’s Cold Outside
Brrr! It’s a cold day and you’re all bundled up, looking for some fun. Warm up fast and get those muscles moving by shoveling the snow off the driveway or the sidewalk. You might even offer to shovel the driveways or sidewalks for people in your neighborhood. Make some giant snow people or other snow creatures. Build an igloo or a fort, and store all your snowballs there.
If you live near an ice-skating rink or pond, strap on some skates and glide across the ice. If skiing is more your thing, put on those skis and go because both downhill and cross-country skiing are great ways to exercise. Or see the snow rushing past you from a sled, snowboard, or toboggan. It helps to have a grown-up around to keep everyone safe. Be sure to steer clear of obstacles like trees and to stay off roads and streets.
More things to do when it’s cold:
- Play tag in the snow.
- Take a nature hike and look for animal footprints.
- Pull a little kid around on a sled.
- Make snow angels.
When It’s Hot, Hot, Hot
Yikes — it’s hot outside, everyone is sweaty, and your legs are stuck to the seat of the car. What do you do? Swim, of course! Race your friends or show off your underwater skill by doing a handstand. But don’t forget the safety rules. Make sure there’s an adult around to watch you and no dunking!
On land, you can have a water balloon toss with friends. Catch that balloon, or you’ll get soaked!
When you’re exercising in the heat, it is very important to remember to drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Hot temperatures make you sweat more when you’re exercising, so you must replace the water you lose to prevent heat exhaustion.
More things to do when it’s hot:
- Take a nature walk on a shady trail.
- Wash your dog outside.
- Wash your parents’ or neighbors’ car.
- Turn on the sprinkler and cool off!
When You’re Stuck at Home
Maybe you can’t go out because the weather is rainy or too cold. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some exercise while you’re inside.
Turn on your favorite music and dance. Invite your dog or cat to join in the fun. Or grab a hula hoop and make up some hula-hoop dances. If there is enough room, you can jump rope and count how many times you jump without missing.
There are basketball hoops with over-the-door hooks and basketballs made from soft foam that are meant to be played with indoors. If you have them and there is enough room, set them up and shoot some hoops. Have a tournament with everyone in the house — may the best basketball player win!
More things to do when you’re stuck at home:
- Do some tumbling if you have enough room to do it.
- Set up a scavenger hunt.
- Bat a balloon back and forth and try not to let it hit the floor.
And here’s one thing not to do: Try not to say, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.” As you just found out, there’s always something to do!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013