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Get Your Toddlers MOVING, too, Mama!

This week I'm participating in a 10,000 step a day challenge with a few of my Stroller Strides friends. This would have been a piece of cake several months ago, but now that it is COLD outside, I just want to cuddle up under a fuzzy blanket with a warm cup of tea and watch my kids play.

So last night I was dismayed, but not surprised, to learn that I only had about 5,000 steps by 9pm. I really didn't want to fail the challenge so spectacularly and on the first day. With some encouragement from my friends, I laced up my sneakers and dragged myself onto the dreadmill. I mean treadmill. I do love to run, but the lack of fresh air and changing scenery makes clocking miles inside a little less appealing. But after the first mile, I was able to settle into a nice run. Listening to Ruth Ozeki's intriguing book A Tale for the Time Being also helped the miles pass quickly. And before long my FitBit buzzed, signaling that I had reached my goal.

As the weather has forced me to rely on the treadmill to stop my FitBit from angrily chirping at me to "get moving," I've been wondering about whether my kids are getting enough exercise. Several studies suggest that toddlers and children should actually accumulate at least 11,500 steps a day for optimal physical fitness. Now that we aren't running around for an hour or two each day at the park, are Asher and Annabelle getting enough steps?

Fortunately, Boise is home to a number of wonderful indoor facilities that help my whole family stay active during the winter. When the temperature starts to drop and it's too cold to bundle up the kids for the park, Fit4Mom Boise's Stroller Strides program moves inside to the Boise Towne Square Mall. After the moms spend an hour strength training and speed walking, the kids are free to hop out of their strollers and hit the indoor play area. There is a slide, a playhouse, and structures for the kids to climb all over.

For the three weeks before Christmas, though, the mall opens early so we need to find a different place to work out. This year we are at JumpTime Boise. And it has been awesome! After the moms exercise, the kids get to jump. If you've never been there before, just close your eyes and imagine a warehouse filled with massive trampolines, a huge foam pit, and tons of rubber balls for playing trampoline dodgeball. Basically, it's a kid's dream come true. Why wasn't this around when I was a kid? At least now I can have fun jumping with my kids. And even though Asher and Annabelle are just little tykes, they have a blast. We are usually there around eleven, and there are only a handful of kids playing. This is the perfect place to bring toddlers in the morning and early afternoon.

If you're looking for some fun, indoor options for your toddlers in the Boise area, too, I highly recommend the following places to get your toddlers moving:

JumpTime Idaho

This indoor trampoline park will get every muscle in your tot's body moving and exercising. You can purchase one hour increments for mommy and me jumping for just $7.50. If you are a Fit4Mom member, check out this month's newsletter for a special deal! JumpTime Idaho - Boise also offers fun birthday party specials. For more information, visit http://jumptimeidaho.com.

Discovery Center

Discovery Center of Idaho is also a big hit with my kids. If you haven't been there in the last year, you should definitely check out their new toddler space. Asher does miss the play grocery store, but he and Annabelle love running through the hanging foam sticks, playing in the ball pit, and feeding scarves into the vacuum tubes and chasing after them as they fall to the floor. As they get older, I'm looking forward to watching them interact with more of the regular exhibits.

Boise Public Library System

The Boise Public Libraries offer free programming throughout the week. (Libraries really are the best!) Many branches hold a thirty-minute music and movement session each week as well as other interactive programs for babies, toddlers, and kids.

Planet Kid

Planet Kid Indoor Soft Playground (Wings Center) is another fun place for kids to have a great time while exercising. There are tubes and tunnels and climbing webs for them to explore. And while Asher scales the equipment, pretending to be Spider-Man, Annabelle loves the special area reserved for the toddlers. She swims in the ball pit and goes down the little slide. After an hour, they are both exhausted and ready for nap time!

Bodies in Motion

Bodies in Motion also houses an indoor play structure. I think it's best suited for kids who are at least three because the climbing elements are a bit more challenging. However, there is a little playhouse and some toys geared for the younger crowd. And I especially appreciate their delicious smoothies.

I'm a big-time homebody, but I'm determined to get out of the house each day with the kids to explore all that this amazing city has to offer--and get our steps in while doing so!