Fun Indoor Activities for School-Age Kids ~ If You’re Stuck Inside, Get Some Exercise with These Ideas

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School-Age Kids Indoor ActivitesIt's snowing outside - again. With little ones - or big ones -- stuck inside and feeling trapped, it's easy to resort to TV and video games to pass the time. But after too much Mickey Mouse and not enough movement those young bodies will only gain weight and lose muscle.

What can you do? How do you stimulate your children to exercise - to move - indoors? If you are home with your kids, it's important that you are getting everyone off the couch and elevating heart rates - while still giggling and having fun, of course.

"The importance of exercise for youth should not be understated, says Dr. David Bernhardt who specializes in primary care sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Rather than getting your youngsters involved in a lot of structured sports, the focus should be on a variety of free play activities both in the home, and outdoors," he adds.

Indoors or out, making exercise fun can excite children to move around and get them physically vital, stronger and more energetic. It's a great first step on the road to cultivating a lifetime of health and fitness.

This is the third part in a three-post series from Care.com on how to get your kids up and moving with exciting, age-appropriate physical activity.  Last but not least...SCHOOL-AGE KIDS!  Keep reading to learn more!

The NASPE guidelines for activities for children aged 5 to 12 regarding exercise, sport, dance, and other movement state:

  • One hour or more of moderate and vigorous physical activity on most or all days.
  • Participate in several bouts of physical activity of 15 minutes or more each day.
  • Avoid periods of inactivity of 2 hours or more.

Dr. Avery Feigenbaum, a pediatric exercise scientist with 20 years of experience working with children and adolescents, and Professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department of the College of New Jersey inspired the following Balloon Move and Play. He added: "Children are not miniature adults, and need a completely different approach. Balloons invoke a natural desire to play in children. They provide essential fun, and a bridge between the skill and challenge that kids need to exercise. With balloons, it's not seen as exercise; it's a game."

Game: Balloon Move and Play

Description: Balloons are held (and used as playful props) while squatting, lunging, and moving in different directions to enhance muscle strength, agility, balance, and coordination.

TIP: Regular balloons are okay, but Punch balloons are even better, as they tend not to burst as easily and don't make a loud noise when they pop which can frighten children.

Activities:

  • Warm up. Use five minutes to march in place, do jumping jacks, or put on music and dance around.
  • Balloon Stepping. Put obstacle on floor and have kids hold balloon in one hand while they lunge (Take a big step) over object. Could use anything: plates, stools, tape marks. Five steps forward, five back.
  • Balloon Hop. Create stepping stones for balancing as you hop there and back, holding a balloon. Use rings, hula hoops, or tape marks.
  • Balloon Skip. Place chairs, buckets, or other objects out for children to run or skip around with balloon.
  • Balloon Sit-to-Stand. Child sits on chair holding balloon. Parent shouts 'Stand up' and child stands and taps balloon with their other hand, sits back down. Do this 10 times.
  • Balloon Sit-to-Stand with Jump. After child stands, child jumps up and reaches toward ceiling, lands back on his feet. Sits back down. Do this 5 or 10 times.
  • Balloon Core Balance. Child is on hands and knees, palms under their shoulders. Hand them a balloon and ask them to write their name in the air with it. (Or spell some words, cat, dog, etc.) Switch hands. Do this twice.

Game: Olympic Hot Spot Challenge

Children of this age have more developed skeletons and are more able to do bodyweight exercises. Clear out some space and create 'hot spot' stations with different activities for fun and variety. The children move from one to the next every 30 or 45 seconds.

  • Push-ups (against the wall, on their knees, or full push-ups)
  • Sit-ups
  • Jump rope
  • Step-ups (either with a 'step' or run up and down the stairs!)
  • Shuttle run (Back and forth between two points)
  • Circle jumps (small rings or hula hoops or tape marks)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Squats
  • Balance on one leg
  • Ball toss (with a partner)
  • Ball twist (with a partner, stand back to back and twist side to side as you pass a ball left and take it right)
  • Increasing time at each hot spot: so 30, 45, 60 seconds
  • Increasing number of times you do the complete hot spot circuit, so 2, 3, 4 or 5 times
  • Mixing up the hot spots or doing them in a different order
  • Creating new hot spot activities of your own
  • Adding new hot spot props like soup can weights
  • Letting them choose their own pump up music
  • Having them draw or paint signs for each station
  • Offering incentives: A penny, nickel or dime for each 'movement' minute, a favorite (healthy) dinner, prizes for completion or beating an old time.

Challenges Include:

  • Increasing time at each hot spot: so 30, 45, 60 seconds
  • Increasing number of times you do the complete hot spot circuit, so 2, 3, 4 or 5 times
  • Mixing up the hot spots or doing them in a different order
  • Creating new hot spot activities of your own
  • Adding new hot spot props like soup can weights
  • Letting them choose their own pump up music
  • Having them draw or paint signs for each station
  • Offering incentives: A penny, nickel or dime for each 'movement' minute, a favorite (healthy) dinner, prizes for completion or beating an old time.

Encourage Your Children By:

  • Letting them choose their own pump up music
  • Having them draw or paint signs for each station
  • Offering incentives: A penny, nickel or dime for each 'movement' minute, a favorite (healthy) dinner, prizes for completion or beating an old time.

 

These tips were published with permission from Care.com.

I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa
Melissa @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!
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