“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson.
No matter what Mother Nature brings, it’s important to note, however, that your kiddos need to keep moving. When they get enough active play, there’s a marked improvement in their cognitive abilities, academic behaviour and overall attitude.It’s more important than ever to encourage our kids to incorporate physical activity into their day. Pre-schoolers need at least 2 hours of physical activity each day, while kids aged five to 15 need 60 minutes of mild to moderate exercise a day.
Here’s how to keep kids active indoors, even if you don’t have much space.
1. Freeze Dance
Who doesn’t like a good dance party? Shaking it off to a few favourite jams is a sure-fire way to get your kids off the couch. To brush up on listening skills, try freeze dance. The rules are simple: dance when the music plays and when the designated DJ stops the music, everyone freezes.
2. Learn Some Moves
Thanks to helpful ‘how-tos’ on YouTube, it’s now easier than ever to learn how to properly learn a move. You can even try to teach your pre-schooler how to do the moon walk. The opportunities really are endless!
3. Balloon Volleyball
Make a net by tying a piece of string from one chair to another. Then blow up a balloon and start practising those serving skills! Change things up a bit by kicking or head-bumping the balloon.
4. Book-Worm Workout
Storytime doesn’t have to be just a bedtime ritual. Pick a book that has a word that’s often repeated. For example, choose the word “hat” if you’re reading The Cat in the Hat. Every time the word comes up in the story, get your kid to do a jumping jack.
5. Crab Carry
When bad weather has you dreaming of sunnier times on the beach, play crab carry. Teach your little one how to walk like a crab by placing their palms and feet to the floor while raising their stomach up to face the sky. Staying in that pose, let them see how long they can balance something like a bean bag on their belly. Crab races are also another fun option.
6. Yoga JENGA
Use a pencil to write down a yoga move on each JENGA block. Set up the tower and play the game as usual, but every time a block is pulled out, every player has to do the specific yoga move. If the tower falls, do the plank for 30 seconds.
7. Hula Hoop
As long as you make sure that you’re not too close to furniture or breakables, hula-hooping is a great indoor activity that helps strengthen your child’s core muscles. If you’re looking to switch things up a bit, try hula-hooping while walking backward, or spin the hoop around your ankle or arm.
8. Marble Toe Race
Find two large bowls, fill the first bowl with water and place some marbles inside. Ask your little guy to pick up the marbles and place them in another bowl by using only his feet. The first one who can get all the marbles in the other bowl wins. If you don’t want to get your floors wet, lay towels on the floor, or skip the water component entirely.
9. Set up A Maze
Turn the hall into a “laser” maze with string. Zig-zag string from varying heights and challenge your kids to get across without touching the laser.
10. Lime and Spoon
For this ultimate hand-eye coordination and balance game, give kids a spoon and have them balance a lime or plastic egg from one point to another either indoors or out in the garden. How quickly can they go? Can they dance as they move?
Children don’t only need a lot of movement, they also need a lot of variety of movement. So while it’s essential to make time for unstructured, active playtime, it’s also important to have plenty of fun, these simple activities that you do will help them get active and develop skills in a variety of ways.