Saturday, December 10, 2022

Keeping young kids active during winter

By Kat Harkins

Physical activity and healthy play are critical to the development of young children, but keeping them active when it’s cold outside can be tough. The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities (CHSC) program works to enhance nutrition and physical activity for kids by working with childcare providers across Franklin County to promote adoption of policies that ensure young children can thrive. With winter settling in across the North Country, we’ve partnered with Play ADK — a Saranac Lake-based nonprofit working to establish a children’s museum and family resource center serving the Adirondacks — to provide families with tips for keeping kids active.

We’re all familiar with winter-time outdoor activities — skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, building snow forts and snow people, looking for signs of animal life. These are tried and true ways to get kids outside and moving. But there are hurdles for some of these activities. Skiing and snowshoeing can be hard for some families to afford, and sometimes it’s frankly too cold to safely recreate outside, especially for toddlers. So what can we do indoors to promote physical activity?

Here are some ideas from our friends at Play ADK:


  • Indoor snowball fights. Use crinkled up pieces of paper, which is safer and can be reused.

  • Obstacle courses. Have your kids jump, crawl and balance their way through an obstacle course using pillows, tables, hula hoops or any object at your disposal.

  • Dance party — no explanation needed!

  • Hide-and-seek, a time-tested classic.

  • The floor is lava.

  • Keep the balloon in the air.

  • Indoor bowling. Try using empty water bottles or paper towel rolls as pins and a soft ball as the bowling ball.

  • Alphabet exercise. Work with your kids to match an exercise to a letter in the alphabet — w is for walking, j is for jumping — and write it on a scrap of paper. Then, draw a random letter and do the activity.


Kat Harkins is coordinator for The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities program. Photo provided by Chris Morris of The Heart Network.

We thank Play ADK and all the parents who contributed ideas — we can’t fit them all into one article, so head over to Play ADK on Facebook and Instagram and contribute your ideas. To learn more about what Play ADK is working on, visit


Investing in the life of a young child is the best way to set them up for success later in life. To learn more about how The Heart Network’s CHSC program can work with early childhood providers to promote nutrition and physical activity, please get in touch:


Kat Harkins is coordinator for The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities program.

Photo at top: Wikimedia Commons photo.

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

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