Work out winter wiggles

Ten terrific activities to do inside when the weather's chillly.

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Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow, but we still have plenty of chilly winter days ahead in the Walla Walla Valley.

It's possible that pent-up kid energy has caused your couch or beds to see more trampoline action than you'd like lately.

But small bodies can only stand to play outside in the cold for so long.

Here are 10 terrific indoor activities you can do with your kids to burn off some energy, stave off the winter doldrums and keep your furniture intact, courtesy of Katie Christianson, former childcare provider and dance and movement instructor in Walla Walla:


  • Build an obstacle course out of boxes, books, exercise balls, materials in the recycling bin (old cereal boxes, milk cartons) and parent-approved furniture. Let kids design, build and play!

  • Make a fort. All you need is an old bed sheet or two and some chairs. Bring in board games, books, art supplies, flashlights and snacks.

  • Turn on music -- any kind. Have your kids listen to the tempo and move in different ways: slow, fast, lyrical, robotic. Play "freeze" by pausing music and stopping in place. Put on marches and have a parade.

  • Use shaving cream in the bathtub. Kids of all ages love this. Mix in a bowl with food coloring for more fun. Give them some rags and, as a bonus, you'll have a clean tub! (Always supervise young children in the tub.)

  • Get out your pots and pans, plastic or wooden spoons and measuring cups. Little ones can bang on them; older kids can play restaurant. Let them be chefs with cereal, crackers, fruit and other snacks and serve you their creations.

  • Make a chain drawing. Have one child draw a line of any type, then have other children add to it in their own style. Make up a story about what you're creating.

  • Make a bird feeder by spreading peanut butter on a pinecone, or in the bottom half of a milk carton. Sprinkle with birdseed. Place outside, watch for birds and have kids draw and write about what they see in a bird-watching journal.

  • Transform your windows into colorful canvases with washable window markers.

  • Have a pajama afternoon or day. Eat breakfast foods all day and see how many activities you can do in bed: watch movies; play cards; build forts for toy animals; have a tea party.

  • Encourage pretend play. Ask them to be a pack of wolves, or fairies or -- a kid favorite -- spies. If you play along even in passing, it's that much more fun.

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