Health & Fitness

There's plenty for kids to do during the holidays

It's that time of year when kids are free from school and have lots of free time. But it's also cold outside and money is short because of all that holiday shopping.

What's a parent to do?

There are so many free and inexpensive things to do around Wichita that will help kids stay active and healthy during the holidays.

One resource is goPLAYkansas.com, a website for finding an activity, park or trail around the city. Just type in your address and how far away from home you're willing to go. You'll find helpful info such as a Google earth map, hours of operation, amenities and planning aids.

The city of Wichita website — www.wichita.gov/CityOffices/Park/ — is another website that can help you find free or low-cost activities. If you look at the 2011 winter schedule, you will see that there are numerous activities such as aerobics, dancing, photography, basketball, Zumba and Spanish classes.

The city also offers free youth programming. After-school recreation is for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. It gets kids involved in organized sports leagues or open recreation.

Grade school night is for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, and includes supervised activities such as crafts, table games, gym games and contests.

Teen night is open to sixth- through 12th-graders and allows kids to participate in pickup games of basketball or play in a game room. You can also call your neighborhood recreation center for times and start dates.

Even if you aren't a member, the YMCA provides wellness activities the second Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at all YMCA branches. On each wellness day, blood pressure, body fat, BMI and blood work are offered. The next free class is on Jan. 11.

Check with your local YMCA for more details.

If traditional exercising isn't your thing and you like to hunt, fish or camp, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website at www.kdwp.state.ks.us.

You'll find information on things to do around the state, tournaments to sign up for, and how to get licensing and permits.

If you would like to do something new and adventurous this holiday season, all it takes is a little time and creativity to find the activity right for you and your kids. Get started today.

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