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Need fun ways to keep your kids active when it's cold outside? From tots to tweens, Common Sense Media has active game picks that will help you get your kids up and moving.
Preschoolers (2 to 4)
Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! (2011)
Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! is focused on spreading positive messages about healthy eating and physical fitness (and the Wii version will actually get your kids up and moving). Each of the mini-games has one simple objective and very basic controls. Mistakes are shrugged off by the characters -- and there's no scoring, anyway. The Wii version allows for a parent to tag in with a second remote and assist if kids are having trouble. Parents can also change the difficulty level of an activity (which will automatically adjust as kids play).
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster (2011)
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is designed as an interactive adventure, in which players directly engage with many Muppet characters from the show. It is a very physical game that will require kids to be on their feet and moving around quite a bit. And it is designed especially with two-player cooperative play in mind. Rather than focus on "book learning" (i.e., ABC's and 123's), the game's stories promote positive life lessons, such as friendship, responsibility, and generosity.
Older Kids (7 to 8)
Big League Sports for Kinect (2011)
Big League Sports is a sports simulation game that requires the Kinect sensor to play. The game itself features six sports, each with a mini-game and two skill-specific games (for example, in basketball, there is a shoot-out competition and a shot-blocking competition). Up to four players can take part in the games. There is some mild cartoon violence in elements of the game -- such as in hockey where players will body-check opponents off the puck and send them flying.
Shawn Johnson Gymnastics (2010)
Shawn Johnson Gymnastics lets players follow in the footsteps of a young world-class gymnast and participate in their own competitions. Players can rise up the ranks from amateur athlete to global champion in a story mode that encourages practice to become the best you can be. The game also rewards players for good performance with unlockable content from Shawn Johnson. It is geared toward players with a genuine interest in gymnastics but can be enjoyed by anyone who wants an active gaming experience.
Active Life: Magical Carnival (2011)
Active Life Magical Carnival is a collection of fantasy-themed mini-games that are intended to keep kids up and active while playing. The game uses both the standard Wii remotes and a special floor mat that track their foot movements. One or two mini-games feature mild, very unrealistic cartoon violence. The games are set in themed worlds including circus, pirates, and wizards.
Want game recommendations for kids ages 9 and up? Click here.