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 children active?
Our new normal for the time being is a learning curve for each of us. However, children still need to get at least an hour’s physical activity a day. It just means that parents and caretakers need creative ideas to keep kids moving!
Start each day with a walk
Before the home school bell ‘rings’ take your children for a walk around the garden, the block or just down the street. Take the family dog with you as well. Why not make it a challenge: who can make it to the last tree on the street first? Who can spot the most birds? Believe it or not, the morning walk will shift 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 lots resources online, including Cosmic Kids Yoga, a step-by-step session led by Jaime Amor that includes themes and stories that the kids ADORE.
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Choose a favourite from PE Class
Ask your children about what they do during their Physical Education classes at school. While you won’t be able to recreate the team-centred 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 favourite 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.
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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 PE with Joe. Joe Wicks is a personal trainer with a hit YouTube channel and offers daily 30-minute workouts you can do inside.
Back to basics
Toddlers to primary-school ages 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.
About the author
Armed with a practical approach, Stacy Flannery shares encouraging tips and “we-are-all-in-this-together” humour for raising kids in today’s world of high expectations. Flannery, an experienced magazine editor turned mumtrepreneur, never imagined her two toughest bosses would be under three feet tall.
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