In the winter, it’s tempting to keep your kids indoors in front of the TV or to let them spend a rainy day playing video games. There are many alternative cold weather activities for kids in Orange County, and it’s important that parents encourage their kids to stay active despite the rain or chill. Small lifestyle changes are what Linda Franks from Kid Healthy advocates to maintain lifelong good health.
Play games with toys
The Wee Loft
32585 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
Parents can turn inexpensive toys and household items into exercise equipment for their kids. Franks suggests taking a hula hoop and challenging your kids to circle it around their arms or ankles. Use it like a jump rope. Play indoor games with a plastic ball. It’s easy to be creative with simple tools and toys around the house that don’t cost a lot of money. If you don’t have anything at home you can use, pick up some toys at The Wee Loft in Dana Point. This local toy boutique features traditional and old fashioned toys, developmental toys, and fun and trendy things for older kids.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
18751 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Even on a chilly, sunny day in OC, kids can throw on a jacket and hit the many hiking trails throughout the region. Some of the best nature hikes can be taken in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The coastal trails lead to beautiful ocean views, seasonal waterfalls, and lakes. Choose from about a dozen hiking loops and enjoy the scenery or do some birdwatching.
Related: Best Hiking Trails In Orange County
Take a walk in the park
Orange County Great Park
Irvine, CA 92618
If recent rainfall keeps you off the hiking trails, Franks recommends taking a walk at a local park. Walking is a great form of exercise, and it gets kids outside and moving. The Orange County Great Park is a fantastic destination for walking families. It also offers many other outdoor activities. Kids can soar above Orange County in the Great Park Balloon, ride the carousel, walk the aisles of the Sunday farmer’s market, or play ball on the open sports fields.
Irvine Spectrum Center
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
If your kids are looking for some visual stimulation, instead of letting them watch TV, take them window shopping at the local mall. The Irvine Spectrum is an outdoor mall equipped with a giant ferris wheel, decorative carousel, and jungle-themed train for small children. This popular mall will not only provide your kids with stimulating sights and sounds, it will give them a good walking workout.
Indulge in nutrition
81 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
Franks says it’s important for your kids to eat right during the winter, particularly because the holidays in November and December are a time for sweets and over-indulgence. Mealtime activities are just as important as physical activities. Choose light and healthy meals that are low in fat and packed with whole grains. The Veggie Grill is a Southern California-based restaurant that specializes in vegetarian comfort foods. The nutrition-rich menu will help kids add color into their diets. A kid’s meal includes your choice of sweet potato fries, mandarin oranges or carrot sticks. For those kids with a sweet tooth, feel good about giving them desserts made without dairy, trans fats, refined sugars or cholesterol. Franks says portion control is also an important mealtime necessity for good health.
Truc Dever is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.