With playgrounds off limits, no playdates on the calendar, and all sports and activities postponed for most of the spring, what is a parent to do to keep these kids active?
Our “new normal” for the time being is a learning curve for each of us. But it can’t change the fact that children should try to reach their recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day. It just requires parents and caretakers to be a bit more…creative.
Here are some ideas of how to keep the kids moving during this unusual time in our lives:
Start each day with a walk
Before the home school bell “rings”, take the kids for a walk around the block or down the street. Grab the dog. Maybe make it a challenge: who can dribble the basketball around the block? Who can make it to the last tree on the street first? Who can find the most pinecones or spot the most birds? Believe it or not, the morning walk shifts children into the right frame of mind for getting down to the business of school.
Stretch it out with yoga
It is well documented that yoga for children develops and enhances cognitive function, regulates breathing, and can even improve sleep. Sounds like good practices for these days of shelter-at-home. Roll out your mat and give those sun salutations a try for a study break. Not a yogi yourself? There are a ton of resources online, including Cosmic Kids Yoga, a step-by-step session led by Jaime Amor that includes themes and stories that the kids ADORE.
Choose a favorite from PE Class
Ask your children about what they do during their Physical Education classes during school. While you won’t be able to recreate the team-centered sports they play, your family can be resourceful by substituting. Use a stopwatch to time the kids with a hula hoop. Use a skateboard as a roller scooter to kick a ball around to score goals at the end of the driveway. Grab a tablecloth or old bed sheet as a makeshift rainbow parachute.
A perennial favorite for all – host a dance party. Don’t just turn up the volume on your phone. Get the speakers out and commit! Bop till you drop with a round of freeze dance or musical chairs. Consider a dance memory game: choose one child to offer up a cool dance move, then move to the next child, etc., until everyone is performing the sequence. Lip sync, air guitar, or air drum battles are all keep ‘em rocking ideas, too.
Raining outside? There are a handful of online exercise options out there that keep children moving and mindful. One popular option among educators and children alike is GoNoodle, a free service created by child development experts. They expertly spin together academics, physical wellness, and social-emotional learning into one big online physical experience.
Back to basics
Toddlers to grade schoolers can all participate in games like London Bridges, Red Rover, Limbo, Tug of War, Follow the Leader, Tag, Simon Says, and so on. These games can be played outside or in. Remember, as a parent, YOU are the greatest learning tool for your child. Kids love when it when everyone in the family participates.
Go get moving!