Heart Smart Fun

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Hearts on a RopeFor more information, contact the author – Jamie Goffena, (jgoffena2@unl.edu) Extension Educator

Looking for a way to say "I love you" to your kids or grandkids this Valentine's Day? How about a way that's better than candy, and improves their grumpy winter doldrums? Get the kids off the couch and do something active that's good for your heart and theirs. Kids are always hungry for attention, so play!

If it’s too cold to go outside sledding, skiing, skating, snow shoeing or looking for animal tracks in the snow, get off the couch and do some heart smart activities inside.

Active Indoor Fun

Before you start, store away any precious or breakable items around the house. These are a few indoor activities that your family may enjoy:

  • Hearty ball tag – Use a small heart-shaped bean bag, balled up sock, or stuffed animal for the ball. The person who is “It” throws the ball to tag another. Once a person is tagged, they are “It”. Keep playing until everyone needs to “catch their breath”.
  • Indoor soccer – Two or more people can play this. Use a small (about 5-6”) sponge or stuffed ball with vinyl covering that doesn’t go more than a few feet when kicked. One person defends the goal (refrigerator or piece of furniture) while the others try to kick the ball to hit the goal.
  • Balloon volleyball – Use a balloon for the ball and a couch for the net. Or you could tie a string from one chair back to another creating a net line in the middle of the room. Teams hit the balloon back and forth across the “net”.
  • Indoor snowball fight - Create “snowballs” by wadding paper into balls. Each team picks a side of the room and gets an equal amount of “snowballs”. Start throwing!

These activities are sure to increase your heart rate which is good for your health. Don’t stress about competing, just enjoy the fun and enjoy each other. Time together is a great way to speak love and these indoor activities are good for your heart (in more ways than one)!

Health Benefits of Active Play

  • Improved moodBalloon Ball
  • Less stress
  • Sharper thinking
  • Stronger muscles
  • Healthier blood flow
  • Improved relationships
  • Enhanced coordination
  • Better balance

Resources:

  1. Fitness, Nebraska Extension
  2. Healthy Kids, American Heart Association
  3. Move More Everyday, eXtension's Families Food and Fitness