The subzero temperatures and excessive amounts of snow are forcing parents to be creative to keep their kids entertained and occupied.
When kids—and their parents—start getting stir crazy, there are plenty of indoor options to keep kids busy and burn off energy.
For the preschool set, library story hours, children’s museums and restaurants with play spaces are always popular.
So is Bellaboo’s in Lake Station, where Kara Mackey, the general manager, said the facility is staying open as much as possible despite the cold and snow.
“On the super cold days, we had parents calling in desperation to see if we were open,” she said.
The facility, which caters to children aged 9 and younger, is always offering new themes and activities all the time. Upcoming themes include St. Patrick’s Day activities and a beach theme to coincide with Spring Break.
“People are still coming in, and it’s starting to feel like spring in here,” she said.
Many health clubs and gyms offer a variety of activities to keep kids busy during the winter.
At Summit Athletics in Crown Point, classes range from dance and gymnastics to trampoline and parkour.
At Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness, Jane Bogordos, exercise physiologist and fitness supervisor, said there are numerous offerings for children of all ages. Swim lessons are open to all age groups, and for children aged 7 and up there are offerings through Parisi Speed School. Children aged 12 and up can exercise in the fitness center, participate in group exercise classes and play basketball with their parents.
“With obesity trends on the rise, it is more important than ever to be active,” she said. “Children under the age of 18 should have 60 minutes a day, seven days of week of exercise.”
Many facilities also offer open gym time in addition to their regular offerings, and at Midwest Training and Ice Center in Dyer, hundreds of kids have been participating in the facility’s weekend open gym time as a way to socialize and burn off energy. Their open skate on their ice rink has also proven to be popular.
Michelle Damore, a spokesperson for the facility, said their Friday night open gym hours can attract as many as 200 kids looking to run and play in the 34,000 square-foot facility. The facility has a foam pit, a climbing rope, three tumble tracks and nine trampolines.
“We’ve been busy,” she said. “It’s the place to be, and we keep kids out of trouble.”
If the weather absolutely prohibits you from leaving the house, Bogordos suggests there are things you can do to keep kids busy and active inside the house.
She suggests putting on music and dancing, or renting exercise DVDs including zumba, yoga and pilates. You can also encourage indoor hopscotch or sack races, or set up an exercise circuit that includes calisthenics like jumping jacks, push-ups, dips, lunges and squats.
Other options include exercising during commercial breaks, or having exercise contests.
“Most importantly, have fun,” she said.