In addition to the many challenges associated with distance learning, you’re likely feeling cooped up in your house, too. This cooped-up feeling is even more difficult for kids who have a lot of energy to burn off. For them, the novelty of staying home from school has probably worn off and now they are looking for entertaining things to do with their time. Keeping kids moving during this time of isolation is important for their mental and physical well-being.
Whether you are a parent who does these type of movement activities with your own children or a teacher who suggests these for your students, we’ve got a few simple, practical, and free ideas to get kids moving!
1. Get creative with playing outside
Schedule a time of day when the kids can go outside for an hour or so for fun activities. If you have an area near your home with open space, you can stimulate them by playing old-school outdoor games with your kids. Think games like tag, hide-and-seek, Simon says, double-Dutch jump rope, hopscotch or dodgeball.
Try taking some of these items and creating your own, new outdoor games. Children have great imaginations and can come up with fun and creative games to play. You could also create a fun obstacle course that includes many types of exercise! For example, you can place hula hoops in a row and have kids jump the rings. Plastic buckets and bean bags make a fun bean bag toss. Challenge the whole family by timing each other or having contests. Playing outside is a great way to take a break from all the screens and technology.
2. Get kids involved in chores
As parents, we tend to do most of the housework, or at least the more complicated tasks! I know I did – I wanted stuff done and done right the first time, so I tended to give my child the easier chores.
Want to take this idea to the next level? Since most of us have more time at home now, it’s a great opportunity to have your children help with more and/or different chores than they were helping with before!
Chores are educational in a way because they teach kids about responsibility, cleanliness and neatness. In addition, chores like vacuuming, dusting and bringing things up and down stairs are great ways to get children moving! Some children may balk at these tasks in the beginning, but it’s a great way to help the household, exercise, and learn some valuable life skills.
One day, when they are grown and out on their own, they may look back on this time and appreciate that they were taught how to keep a room or home looking its best.
3. Spring cleaning
Spring, and the fact that we are home more, is a great reason to clean up! Taking time to sort out toys, books, and closets not only gets children moving, but these cleaning and organizing tasks could help in other ways. Parents whose incomes were affected will definitely be hitting garage sales and thrift stores to find items for their growing children for the next school year. And if you’re donating gently used books, most schools and classrooms are happy for the donation!
So, having your children help with the sorting, collecting, lifting, and hauling will get movement into their day. If you have a yard, cleaning up outside is also a great way to get your house ready for when this crisis is over!
4. Create a movement path
One idea is to use electrical tape on smooth-surface floors to create movement paths for children to follow. You can change the colors or the tape of the patterns that cue children to jump, tip toe, or skip. If you are looking for ready-made movement paths, we have two to choose from: the EZ Stick Sensory Path Rainbow and EZ Stick Sensory Path Get Moving.
Is your house carpeted? We have paths for that, too! (Our Carpet Mark-Its™ – Get Moving Activity stick best to tightly-napped carpets.)
5. Get ideas for moving online
There are lots of great free resources to get moving online! Check out Facebook, YouTube, and other social media outlets to find them. Just type phrases like movement, movement break, brain break, or exercises for children into the search bar. (Please preview all content to ensure that it is appropriate for your children and their needs.)
Overall, just move! Being cooped up is not good for anyone. Children – and adults – need to get movement into their day and fresh air, if possible! Many of us are stressed in different ways than normal. Take time to exercise and play with you children – it’s good for your relationship, your body, and your soul!
By Angela French
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.