Indoor Playgrounds and Sledding Hills for Cold Weather Physical Activity

Central Indiana is forecast to get more snow this weekend – possibly a lot of snow.  Some weather forecasters and predicting up to 10 inches!  And then the temperature is predicted to plummet, making for a blizzard-like, bitter cold few days. Naturally, staying safe is the most important thing to prepare for in extreme winter weather, but we at Jump IN also want to be sure you have some good resources for getting some fun, physical activity as well – indoors or out. 

Urban Wilderness Sledding Day
Above: It looks pretty tame, but the snow is camouflaging the massive hill behind these guys at Graham Martin park right of west 16th Street in downtown Indianapolis. Thanks, Urban Wilderness, for organizing the neighborhood flash sledding day last Saturday. 

One way to blow off cabin fever and to make sure your kids get plenty of activity is to visit one of the many indoor playgrounds around central Indiana.  Indy’s Child has helpfully compiled a list of several options, many of which are free.  Indoor playgrounds give kids the opportunity to climb, run, bounce, slide, and develop coordination regardless of the weather.  These places can fill up, particularly when schools are out (as they will be on Monday for MLK Day), so be sure to plan ahead and get there early.

For outdoor fun, take advantage of the snow!  When the snow piles up, what is more fun that finding a good sledding hill?   This list of locations from the Indianapolis Star is from 2017, but it still holds up.  You can also visit this page of the Indy Parks website for ideas on all kinds of winter sports – it lists good sledding spots as well as cross-country skiing, ice skating, hockey, and broomball spots.  Last weekend, our friends at Reconnecting Our Waterways put together a sledding get-together for the public at Martin Park, just north of downtown Indy that included a nature walk through the snowy woods along Fall Creek.  Follow our friends at the Urban Wilderness Trail and at the Indianapolis Greenways Partnership to learn about similar events.  

Kids playing in the snow

Of course you don’t even need to leave your own yard to take advantage of outside fun while getting good physical activity.  You’ve probably heard that shoveling snow can be a vigorous cardio workout.  The whole family can help out even if you don’t have enough snow shovels by using dustpans or light plywood.  After shoveling, have a snowball fight, make snow angels or build a snowman.  If you’re not interested in leaving the house at all, building an indoor obstacle course with things to jump on, climb over, run around, and slither under.  And one thing everyone can do when the weather is bitter cold: crank up some fun tunes and have a dance party  – great for getting your heart rate up and burning off energy.  

Winter weather doesn’t mean you have to miss out on getting plenty of physical activity.  Indoors or out – there’s something your family will love.  Be sure to bundle up, stay safe, and have fun.