Fun Fitness for Kids: Getting Exercise in Unexpected Ways
Get Your Child Active!
Some kids are naturally active and it’s easy to keep them moving. Take my own kids for an example. I have to try my hardest to keep them from bouncing off the walls, running through the living room, and turning the kitchen into a dance studio. But over the course of providing in-home childcare I have seen many kids who won't budge unless it's to make it to the restroom! I watched these "lazy" and overweight kids, who would rather sit on the couch staring into space than move their booties to a dance beat, with a heavy heart. I knew if I could ignite the spark in them and get them moving in a fun, creative way they'd learn to love it and lead a more active lifestyle. So I set out and made a fitness goal for my childcare center and I will share it with you today so you can hopefully get your own children moving and grooving and feeling healthier in no time!
Childcare Fitness Goals
My center's goals:
1. Get each and every kid moving for at least 35 minutes a day through play and fun games
- The 35 minutes do not need to be consecutive minutes
- Exceptions will be made for ill or injured children
2. Each child who participates in the 35 minutes of active time will receive a sticker to place on his or her Movement Mayhem Chart
3. At the end of a month the children get to vote on a reward for participants with a certain number of stickers (the number will depend on the total days of attendance at the center for each child)
Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 1 - Indoor Ice Skating
This is only an option for your center if you have hardwood or tile floors. AND safety must be the first priority and THEN fun at a close second for this little game.
Extra pair of men's-sized clean socks for each child
Can of dusting spray, furniture polish, or floor wax
Bicycle helmets and perhaps knee and/or elbow pads depending on your relationship with your clients
Clean the floors the night before ice skating and remove any extra furniture or debris to minimize accidents. Just before activity-time spray the bottom of each sock with the spray you chose and slip the socks onto a child's feet. Set the kid loose to slide and glide across the floor in his or her new slippery footwear! If you floor is big enough you can set loose more than one child. But if it's a smaller area you may want to make the children take turns. I can let all three of my daughters skate in my kitchen because I only have myself to hold liable for any accidents. Please keep that in mind when choosing this activity. Although we want to prevent ALL accidents for the kids' sakes we also want to avoid any legal issues.
Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 2 - Dance Party!
I know, I know. I JUST said I have to fight to keep my own kids from turning the kitchen into a dance studio. But what I really meant to say was "I have to fight to keep my own kids from hogging the kitchen that we turned into a dance studio." I simply forgot a few words. The supply list for a dance party is super short and easy.
Assorted dress up clothes for boy and girls
To have a rocking dance party you have to dress the part. Let the children dress up in princess dresses, old heels, floppy hats, top hats, and men's dress shirts (these can all be bought from a thrift store at minimal cost). Find some appropriate music and crank up the speakers. I have yet to meet any child who can hear music and hold still. Some of my favorite children's music CD's include Laurie Berkner Band and Dan Zanes. The songs are cute and light but not too babyish for the older children. And don't hesitate to jump in there and dance with the little ones! It's a great form of exercise for adults as well.
Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 3 - Scavenger Hunt!
This is one of my personal favorites. You can set up teams and/or times to keep the game moving at a decent pace. The kids are actually running around trying to find clues and you're sneaking in their 35 minutes of active time. To make the game more difficult place clues in areas that are far apart and watch the kids run back and forth.
Grocery sacks or baskets to hold collected items
Prizes/toys to scavenge
Write clues on the note cards to lead the children to hidden items around your yard or home. Hide the trinkets in the specified areas and hand each team or child a sack or basket. Set a timer and tell the children that the first team or child to find all the hidden items gets the big prize. Any other teams or children who find all the items before the timer goes off get a second, smaller prize. This way all the kids can get a prize - even if you need to help the stragglers towards the end of the game. Prizes can be small trinkets or special privileges. For example, the overall prize could be the opportunity to wear the special winner's pin you made the night before or a small bag of pretzels. The smaller items could be stickers or small coloring sheets. The idea of this hunt is to get the kids moving, not to send you to the poor house buying prizes.
Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 4 - Obstacle Course for Kids
Drag out the furniture to set up an obstacle course fit for any kid. Use regular household items to make things for the children to climb over, under, around, and through. Let the kids go through the obstacle course as many times as they want. They can race each other, race a timer, or try to beat their personal best time.
Dining table chairs
Any other household items you can play with!
You can add super silly things to the obstacle course such as:
- a high wire act by placing a jump rope along the ground for the kids to pretend to cross
- a balancing game where children must balance an egg on a spoon while running from point A to point B
- water balloon toss (good for hot days) where the kids have to move from point A to point B while tossing and catching their water balloons without dropping them
I hope you enjoy these ideas and use them in your home or childcare center. It's important for children to get into a healthy and active lifestyle starting at a young age. It's also important for the kids to realize exercise and physical activity can indeed be fun! Thank you for taking the time to read this hub. Here's a toast to healthier children!