Fun and Creative Ways to Get Your Kids to Move
One of the new realities we have come to realize in our paradigm with so many parents working from home is the fact that the children are behaving like the Energizer bunny - they keep going and going and going. While I'm sure your doggos are enjoying the extra walks as much as mine has, there's really only so much walking you can do to burn off the kids' energy levels. So what are some simple ways that you can work on getting your children to exercise more but are also fun and don't require too much fitness equipment? Below are 10 ideas I have to get your kids moving and, hopefully, help tucker them out.
Running - This one is easy. Get them out in the yard or out to the park and just let them sprint. It's a full body workout, gets the heart rate up, and it's just a natural activity for children. Maybe set up a cone/paper plate/marker and have them see how quick they can get to it and back. Set up a course for them to navigate. Just get those arms and legs pumping.
Chores - Give me a second on this one all of you rolling your eyes (while you are standing on one leg). Go about doing things around the house and challenge your little ones to do every day normal tasks around the house (sweeping, folding laundry, picking up around the house) while standing on one leg. This should make these tasks more … appetizing? And of course more fun!
Crawls - Get down on your hands and knees and maneuver around the house. Too easy? Take your knees off the floor but keep your hips low. Lift the hips all the way for a bear crawl. Children are really familiar with crawling but you can spice it up by taking cushions off the couch and building a crawling course!
Dancing - Put on their favorite song and have a quick dance break! Have dance contests! Find out if any of your favorite bands are hosting online concerts and teach them how to swing dance or two-step (I'm still trying to figure out the latter.)
Turkish Get Up - Now that's a fancy name for a fitness exercise. But for our purposes, have your kids lay down on the floor, make a fist with one hand, put a shoe on that fist, and then have them get up without dropping the shoe. It will be challenging. It seems so simple but it's another great full body exercise. Now, can they get back down to the floor while still balancing the shoe?
Plyo Boxes - I doubt you have a plyo box around your house (some of you may have some home gyms) but I think you could find plenty of things around the house that your children can jump over: cans, books, boxes, etc. Jumping is good exercise because it gets into those powerful muscles on the back of the body. Glutes are the muscles of youth (so maybe parents should regain their youth by doing some jumps, too?)
Carries - Carries are great because you are working out almost all the muscles in the body. Give your kid something heavy and have them walk around. Throw some books in a backpack, have your little one bear hug it, and see how far they can go. How about some cans in grocery bag? Yet again, really simple exercise that might really work your kids out.
Balance Beam - I have a 2x4 piece of lumber that I have at home. I walk backwards and forwards, try to squat on it and stay balanced, etc. Even being an inch or so off the ground will make the body behave differently. Don't have lumber laying around the house? Put some tape on the floor and have your kids walk it, while touching their nose, or with their eyes closed, or while carrying something.
Tosses - Do you have a hand-sized bean bag laying around? Or a baseball? Or what about some socks rolled up into a ball? Having a session of catch can be great for developing hand-eye coordination. Try different tosses - underhand, overhead, sidearm. What if you tried to toss to your child while they we were on a balance beam? Twofer.
Jump Rope - You should be able to procure a jump rope pretty easily. Or, you can just have them jump in place. Simple easy way to get the heart rate up and keep moving.
Be creative. You can combine these exercises and make your own family style boot camp class. The point is to stay healthy, maybe get outside a bit when you can, and just keep MOVING.
Shawn "Mr. Bean" Martin, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Director of Yoga and Fitness