Barneblad: Fitness fun on a winter’s day

A monthly feature to share with kids and grandkids

fitness fun

Photo: Morgan Thomas / Flickr

Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

It’s wintertime, and sometimes the weather is so bad that it makes more sense to stay indoors than to go outside to play. It’s important to remember, however, that being stuck inside doesn’t mean that you can’t get moving and have some fun.

Fortunately for us, with their harsh northern climate, the Norwegians have a lot of good ideas on how to spend a cold winter’s day indoors and to still stay active and have fun. This week’s Barneblad offers some wintertime games from Norway that can be played right at home. These games require little planning, and you don’t need to break your piggybank to set them up: they are simple, old-fashioned, do-it-yourself fun!

Don’t Fall In

If you have ever been to Norway or seen pictures from there, you know that there is a lot of water and a lot islands, but did you know that you can create your own archipelago right at home? Ask mom and dad for some old pillows or towels and space them across the floor. Imagine that the floor is filled with water, and somewhere lurking below is the treacherous water sprite, waiting to pull you down in into the dark, deep waters. That’s why you must carefully hop from one island to next: have fun, but don’t fall in!

fitness fun

Photo: Kiley Rider / Flickr

Up in the Air

For this activity, you will need a balloon or two, or a light inflatable ball. The game requires at least two players, so it’s perfect for families. To get started, someone will need to simply throw the balloon up in the air, and from then on, it’s your task to see that it doesn’t touch the ground. To challenge older kids, you can throw several balloons up in the air at the same time, but again: don’t let those balloons touch the floor!

March of the Penguins

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, this is another game that requires some balloons or lightweight inflatable balls. Simply put the balloon or ball between your legs and start your march around the house: the point is to not drop the balloon to the floor. You may want to honk or squawk as you walk around, or you may want to put on some proper marching music. The last penguin left with a balloon between their legs is the winner, the grand penguin king or queen.

fitness fun

Photo: R.J. Oriez / U.S. Air Force

Homemade Hopscotch

Everybody loves to play hopscotch, but you don’t have to be outside at a playground to enjoy this game: you can make your own hopscotch court right at home. All you need is some masking tape or blue painter’s tape and a solid-surface floor (make sure to ask an adult first). Use the tape to create your grid, and hop away to your heart’s delight.

Potato Run

This old game, popular on Syttende Mai, the Norwegian national day, is fun any day of the year. Ask an adult to set up a course for you: masking or blue tape will work great for this. Everyone gets a spoon and a potato (make sure they are of a smaller variety so they fit on the spoon), and everyone will try to walk the course without dropping the potato from their spoon. You can have mom and dad time how long it takes for you to get from one end of the course to the other, as you keep trying to do it faster and faster. In the end, it’s the fastest potato that wins!

fitness fun

Photo: Magda Ehlers / Pexels

Find the Puzzle

If you’ve got an old jigsaw puzzle, you don’t have to sit around a table for hours trying to solve it, you can take the pieces and hide them around the house instead. The point of this game is to find all the pieces, so each player can be given a little bag to gather them in. After some time, each player can count their pieces, and the one who has found the most is the winner.

Hours will pass by quickly with these games. And once the day is over, there’s still one activity left that everyone can have fun with together: you can start putting that old jigsaw puzzle back together! Before long, you may find out if any hidden pieces went missing during your day of indoor fitness, and start your search all over again.

Ha det gøy – have fun – and stay safe & warm!

This article originally appeared in the February 22, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.