When Halloween passes by and the clocks turn back, it's official in our house: Winter has set in. In Seattle, that means rain for the next eight months.
But the question is: How do we keep our kids active in the rainy and cold winter months?
How do we keep fitness fun and exciting when nobody is in the mood for a rainy bike ride or a muddy hike, when even the dog wants to stay inside and keep her paws dry?
In our family, this is the time to pull out our Activity Jars.
We have three jars, each labeled with "Inside," "Outside" or "Road Trip." The Indoor and Outdoor jars each contain free physical games and activities that we can do on a rainy day indoors, or a cloudy-and-maybe-muddy day outdoors. The Road Trip jar has fun, active places to visit and things to do. Ours include roller-skating, swimming and a visit to the community center rock-climbing wall, among other things.
The rules are simple:
1. We draw one activity from a jar most days.
2. If it's rainy, we draw from the Indoor jar.
3. If it's cloudy but dry, we draw from the Outdoor jar.
4. If we have time to go somewhere, we draw from the Road Trip jar.
5. We do what we draw.
For years, it's worked for us, and there are two reasons why. First, we change our activities every year. When my kids were younger, Animal Tag was a big hit. As older tweens, they are, "So. Over. That. Game." But now they love to design their own relay races. The system changes with the kids' ages and interests.
Secondly, it continues to work for us because we each get to draw a favorite sometimes. My daughter doesn't always love Ski Training—my son's favorite—but she goes nuts when we draw Dance Party—which my son tolerates. And I'm thrilled when we draw Go for a Hike on a sunny winter day.
Find activities for kids near you.