You wake up to your children at your bedside at an impossibly early hour. They are already bouncing off the walls and are ready to start their day. This has become a regular occurrence since they’ve been home from school. You come to the conclusion that they have all of this pent-up energy because they have far fewer outlets to get it out during the day.
Does this routine sound familiar? Then it’s very possible that your kids aren’t getting as much physical activity as they need! Children ages six to 17 should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This activity should be moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which means it should be enough activity to get their heart pumping faster than usual. Three days out of the week should include vigorous exercise. Those activities should really get them moving, and effectively tires them out.
It’s no easy task to keep a young person focused on a single exercise, but coordinated physical activities aren’t the only ones that count toward the 60 minutes. Here are a few out-of-the-box ways to keep kids moving:
Jump Rope Competition
Jumping up and down for long periods of time can count as vigorous exercise. You will need at least three people for this challenge: two to spin the rope, and one bouncy challenger! Rotate through all of the players, and use a timer to see who can jump rope the longest.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
If you live nearby a park with enough space for social distancing, bring a list of items for your kids to find while on the walk. Can they spot a bright red cardinal? How about pointing out an oak or a dogwood tree? Can they find a mushroom along the path? How many squirrels or other wildlife can they count? If you can’t get to the park, try a neighborhood scavenger hunt instead!
This one takes a little more concentration, but can help kids work on their balance, focus, and coordination. Spread out a yoga mat, or if you don’t have one, layer two towels on top of each other and lay them on the floor. Put on comfy, stretchy clothes, kick off your shoes, and find your om together with an online yoga video.
Place five objects on one side of an open area, and an open container, such as a bucket or bowl, on the opposite side. The goal is to put all of the objects, such as five tennis balls, into the bucket as fast as they can. The player behind them must then take the balls out of the bucket, and place them back at the front of the line. Line up each player behind the five objects, count down from three, and off they go! Time each round and see who completed the relay the fastest.
Family Dance Party
Put on a playlist with a great beat, and bust a move! Turn the party up a notch and challenge your kids to a dance off. Don’t forget to warm up first so no one (including you!) sustains a not-so-groovy injury.
Keeping children active at home can help ease their stress and anxieties, put them in a positive mood, and help them settle into a new routine. Regular exercise combined with a balanced diet also ensures that their bodies stay strong and healthy.
Which one of these fun activities are you going to try today?