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Keeping Kids Active Through the Pandemic Quarantines

by Richard Appler, Associate Director

Posted 1/7/2021

Being at home more than we窶决e used to, it窶冱 more important than ever to kids active. Of course there are many benefits to exercise: increased concentration, lowering stress and improved health. Here are some activities that are fun, motivating and simple to carry out inside, in your family窶冱 yard, or at a nearby park.

Children are likely to enjoy following simple directions while practicing gross motor skills. All you need is a dice to get started! Each number on the dice can represent a physical activity 窶 for example, if you roll a 1, that means do 10 jumping jacks. Other ideas include mountain climbers, sit-ups, and push-ups. Young boys and girls love to 'showcase' their strength by doing push-ups especially because it is often associated with an adult exercise.

The activities can be swapped out with things you know your child would have fun with. If you don窶冲 have a dice on hand, feel free to get creative and involve your child in making your own. Some additional easy activities to get your young children窶冱 wiggles out are Simon Says, Freeze Dance, Red Light/Green Light, and age-appropriate yoga. For the latter, YouTube is a great resource for free content.

You can also take board games and card games such as Uno, Candy Land or Jenga, and incorporate movement by assigning a physical activity to a specific card, color, or block. This approach gives your child the opportunity to practice reading skills and safely release built-up energy. For example, with Uno, anytime you play a blue card, your opponent has to do a star jump; anytime you play a yellow, your opponent has to do a push-up; and if you play a wild, your opponent has to do a silly dance. For Jenga, you can either write directly on the block or print out and tape different exercises on the blocks. Once a block is successfully chosen without the stack falling, you will then complete the activity on the block. Finally, for Candy Land, each color represents an exercise. Say you draw an orange card 窶 you then have to do six high knees. If you draw a double orange card, you have to do 12.

Finally, obstacle courses and relay races can be put together with many items that you already have in your home, and are great for all ages 窶 even adults can join in on the fun. You can use colored construction paper as leap pads, couch cushions or bean bag chairs for climbing, or baskets for tossing items.

While we all hope that we can soon return to the traditional methods of exercising, I hope you are able to find a way to enjoy the circumstances with your family while finding creative and engaging ways to stay in shape!