A young girl and boy sit inside an indoor fort made of blankets. They smile big as they play with puppets.
A surefire remedy to rainy days: indoor forts made from blankets, pillows and couch cushions. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

If we get the summer we want, we’re in for plenty of warm summer days filled with cool breezes and ample shade.

But it’s also inevitable that we’ll have to muddle through a few unbearably hot days—and some rainy ones, too.

It can be difficult to help kids maintain their healthy habits in the summer. On humid afternoons, it’s challenging for them to head outdoors for active play. On rainy days, the whole world is cooped up inside.

And unless you have a Cat in the Hat on call, there are no easy fixes.

Does this mean you and your kids can’t be active on hot or rainy days? The answer is an emphatic, “No.”

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All in moderation

If it’s hot out, you can still go for a family walk—just keep it short and take the right supplies.

Walk five or 10 minutes one way, so you’ll only have to walk five or 10 minutes back.

Take water bottles or squirt guns to keep each other cool. If it’s especially hot out, shorten the walk a bit.

Here are 10 fun and easy ways stay active indoors:

1. Get active.

Play an active video game such as Just Dance on the Wii, or Wii Sports, or a game on your Xbox Kinect.

2. Play “freeze” dance.

Each time the music stops, freeze and then start when the music starts again.

3. Set up an obstacle course.

Have fun! The course may be made from household items such as pillows, sweatshirts, shoes and rugs. Take turns going through the course and challenging each other.

4. Build a fort.

Yup, go old school by using blankets, the kitchen table and couch cushions. Take turns getting supplies and putting them away when you’re done. This could easily be 30 minutes of activity.

5. Play board games.

They’re fun, they lead to quality time together and they help with cognitive development. They may not lend themselves to being the most physically active, but get up between turns and encourage some victory dance moves.

6. Search YouTube for videos of exercises.

Zumba classes, yoga, indoor exercise and child activity tutorials are all available on YouTube. The videos are endless and you’ll have plenty of fun trying out new challenges. Just don’t get stuck watching cat videos for too long.

7. Move it during commercials.

Play hot potato at a commercial break during TV time. Stand up and take turns tossing a pillow or ball around to each other.

8. Get close with your stairs.

Walk up and down the stairs in the house. Try walking forward, backward and sideways. Do this five times throughout the day.

9. Don’t touch the ground!

Place different towels or T-shirts around an open space and play, “Don’t touch the ground.” Try to jump from spot to spot without touching the flooring.

10. Try some of these exercise moves, five times a day, 20 times each move:

    • Seated chair squats
    • Stand-up, sit-down
    • Wall push-ups
    • Arm circles

Think outside the box, work together and be creative. You may find resources you didn’t even know about. Spending time together—indoors and outdoors—is a great way to stay active and healthy.