Monday, January 3, 2011
With the beach and hiking trails just beyond our doorsteps, it's usually pretty easy here in Southern California to keep kids active and moving. In the winter months, however, with rain drowning out local parks and sending mud down mountains, it's trickier to find ways to keep kids off the couch and logging plenty of playtime.
Here are 5 tips to get your little ones moving and shaking!
1. Get Active!
Forget that damp driveway. Grab those rain boots, pack some sneakers and head over to one of several indoor play spaces in and around Los Angeles. From the super-tall Adventure Room at Manhattan Beach's AdventurePlex to the multiple Climbing Towers at Pasadena's Kidspace (pictured above), tykes can burn off plenty of energy without getting soaked.
Consider these, too: Kuki's Playshop (Burbank), The Treehouse Social Club (Robertson Boulevard), Noah's Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center (just off the 405 in L.A.), The Coop (Studio City), Peekaboo Playland (Eagle Rock)
2. Get Creative!
CC and I spent one morning last week making paper animal puppets, which she then organized into a zoo on the mirror outside of her bathroom. Grabbing items like construction paper, crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks, straws and colorful confetti, we were able to stay active, both physically and mentally.
If you and the kids would rather get creative outside of the house, there are plenty of places that offer arts and crafts activities, including Scribble Press (Santa Monica), Froggy's Arts & Crafts (Toluca Lake), Bitter Root Pottery (3rd Street in L.A.) and Color Me Mine (various locations).
3. Get Your Game On!
OK, so you don't want the kiddos sitting in front of the TV all day, but you wouldn't mind familiar television characters encouraging them to kick up their heels. Check out "Nickelodeon Fit" (SRP: $39.99) for the Wii (hat tip: Savvy Sassy Moms), and see how kids can jump rope with The Backyardigans or go river rafting with Diego.
Consider these, too: DanceDanceRevolution, Racquet Sports
4. Get Cooking!
Whether it's adding sprinkles to cookies or placing chopped figs into pre-baked apples, CC loves helping out in the kitchen. We did just that during the holidays, baking Christmas-themed sugar cookies and tasty apples filled with fruit and nuts. Not only were they both super-tasty, but CC gained lots of confidence by having delicious desserts to show for her hard work.
Check out these sites for kid-friendly recipes: DisneyFamily.com, The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora, NickJr.com, Fizzy's Lunch Lab on PBS Kids Go.
5. Get Outside (after the rain)!
Once those puddles dry, rekindle your friendship with the great outdoors by heading over to Will Rogers, Zuma or Venice Beach. Take a ride on a kid-friendly roller coaster at Pacific Park in Santa Monica, or go for a lovely hike near Malibu that includes a gorgeous waterfall.
But, most important, get out and get moving!
BabyCenter has teamed with First 5 California to help prevent childhood obesity by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for kids. I have taken the Pledge to make sure CC gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. I hope you'll join me in that pledge, too!
Just visit BabyCenter's First 5 California Community, and pledge to keep your kiddos moving and shaking!
First 5 California is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of California's young children and families through educational programs and health services.
(Disclosure: This post was sponsored by a BabyCenter campaign. All opinions and information reflected herein, however, are my own.)