Having your kids at home is a mixed bag of emotions. One moment they are doing something adorable and beautiful enough to want to record worthy and the next, they are being little, (replace with your own suitable word). As much as we’d love kids to sit still and cause no trouble around the house, we all acknowledge how weird that would be if it actually happened.
They are more likely to run around the kitchen, jump off heights and play tag in the hallway. In fact, it’s all part of their growth and developmental process. Regular physical activity promotes growth and development and has multiple benefits for physical, mental, and psychosocial health that undoubtedly contribute to learning in children.
In fact, it is recommended that kids get at least an hour of exercise a day; through structured exercise or play, the benefits are immense. Another issue that encouraging physical activity in your children will tackle is obesity. Childhood obesity is on the rise and puts children at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and even some cancers. Reduced childhood physical fitness and activity is an early indicator that child could develop diabetes or arthritis later in life.
HOW SHOULD KIDS EXERCISE LOOK LIKE
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), at least three days of the child’s week should include exercises that help to strengthen muscles, such as gymnastics or crawling, exercises for bone strengthening such as jumping rope. Aerobic activities for cardiovascular endurance like running laps should make up majority of the one hour or so of your child’s recommended exercise time.
Bone health is a very important part of childhood development and exercise has been shown to not only improve bone growth and mass, but also help to prolong how we get to keep our peak bone mass as we age before it starts to decline. Get them exercising from a younger age and the are likely to stay healthier for longer is the message.
As parent, you should understand that your motivation for exercising would be different from your kids’. They don’t care about their protruding gut or love handles or being able to fit into that wedding dress in one month. With that in mind, exercises for kids should be about getting off the couch or away from their control pads and keyboards. Only one thing can make that happen: FUN. According to experts in childhood development, integrating play activities into exercises for children from 3 to 10 years also improves problem solving abilities.
We put together a couple of exercises that you could try at home with your kids. Most of them involve the typical play activities children would want to involve in. Make these activities structured by adding goals, targets or rewards to increase motivation and awareness. They can all be done in the comfort of your living room and we can guarantee a lot of fun and laughs and possible fatigue if you’re not in the fit parent category.
- Headstands: A great activity for your core muscles and to get blood going to the brain. Kids are often naturals.
- Obstacle course: Create a furniture course in your apartmentor take chalk and make a course outside. Add in specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing.
- Wheelbarrow, crab, and bear-walk races: Holding one of these tough positions gives you a real workout.
- Animal races: Hop like a bunny or frog; squat and waddle like a duck; and so on.
Balloon tennis is a simple game that’s fast and easy to set-up. Photo by Ally Noel
- Balloon ball: There are endless ways to play with balloons indoors. Try to keep it off the ground or just play catch. Mix it up with balloon tennis.
- Freeze dance: When the music stops, freeze in your pose and hold it until the music begins again.
- Scavenger hunt: Write up clues and hide them around the apartment. Kids can race to find each clue for a small prize at the end.
- Jumping jacks: Simple but good for coordination and they get your heart going. When my kids can’t sleep, I have them do 25 to tire out.
- Clean-up race: Misplace a couple of items in the room and eet a timer or put on a song to see who can fix up the room of to the fastest.
- Tickle tag: Chase your children. When you catch them, it’s tickle time.
- Hallway bowling: Fill up water bottles and use any ball you have.
- Hopscotch: Use chalk or tape to make a game on your floor or outside your building.
- Bubble bashing: Blow bubbles and let your child try to smash them.
- Pushover parents: Plant your feet and see if the kids can budge you. If you move your feet, they win. Stand on one foot to make it easier for little kids.
- Popcorn pushups: Put a small bowl of popcorn on the floor. Lower yourself down and stick out your tongue to get a piece of popcorn with each thrust.