Exercise is imperative for people of all ages. The benefits of moving around are plentiful and will lead to a healthier way of life. Most people just think of children exercising as a way to burn off their extra energy so that they will get a good night’s sleep. However, it is much more than that.
According to Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, regular exercise in children helps improve muscle development, promotes heart health, helps strengthen bones, reduces the risk of chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes, improves mental health, and regular exercise also has positive influences on academic performance.
Several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that young children and adolescents have at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This will ensure that a healthy lifestyle is being met and will also promote healthy habits that last into adulthood. With handheld devices increasing the amount of time kids spend in front of a screen, it’s important to establish healthy habits and mental well-being early on. Finding fun ways to do so, even if it’s inside, is providing your child with a plethora of benefits! Here are loads of great ideas that go beyond a simple ball or hula hoop:
Indoor Trapeze Bar and Swing
When the weather decides to be less than favorable, especially during winter time, kids usually have little outlet for their energy that won’t also drive adults up the wall. The Indoor Trapeze Bar and Swing changes all of that. The trapeze bar fits inside a standard door frame and can withstand up to 135 pounds (the door will still close with the bar set up!). The swing and trapeze rings strap onto the bar to bring the playground indoors! This is wonderful for families who do not have a lot of yard space or for those in apartment complexes. The trapeze bar allows for kids to build and tone muscle, improves hand-eye coordination, and also improves balancing skills.
The trapeze rings and bar are especially helpful to kids who are beginners in gymnastics or who are interested in the sport. The recommended ages for the trapeze bar and swing are 3 to 10 years old. Due to being suspended above the ground, make sure your child is using the Indoor Trapeze Bar and Swing under adult supervision.
Yoga for Kids
Yoga for kids might sound a bit odd to a few, but it is definitely a great indoor activity that will get your little ones to move their busy bodies with excitement. Yoga has many health benefits for kids—it’s not just an adult activity! It builds strength, improves flexibility, helps with balance, coordination, concentration, focus, and attention skills. Not only does it have these physical benefits, but there are mental benefits as well! Yoga helps calm the nerves which help kids with their self-regulation skills. It also aids with their creativity with self-expression and their imagination. All in all, yoga for kids will provide an all-around sense of well-being for your child.
There are various resources for kids yoga and the Yoga Spinner Game is a great place to start. The game builds upon teamwork skills by having multiple players in the game. Depicted on the spinner and cards are multiple yoga poses that children can easily perform and also some more challenging ones. Whatever yoga pose the spinner lands on, the kids must do that pose and hold it for ten seconds. If the player can hold it for the full ten seconds, they can keep the card. The objective of the game is to be the first player to obtain a card in each of the colors: Red, white, blue, and green. There are more exciting features of this game as well, like partner cards that involve two-players to perform together. There are 54 playing cards in all with various yoga poses for everyone to try. 42 of the poses are for individuals to try and 14 of them are for two players to do together. The age recommendation for the Yoga Spinner Game is five years old and up. In order to get the most out of the game, find a non-slip surface to play on or with the use of yoga mats. There are special yoga mats made just for kids with fun colors and pictures on them! Also, do not forget to stretch before playing the Yoga Spinner Game!
Indoor Parachute Games
Every student loves walking into physical education class and seeing the bright, multicolored parachute waiting for them. Almost all young children who attended public school has memories of the games played with a parachute. The parachutes can be used indoors as well as outdoors. Obviously, inside of a gymnasium, there is plenty of room to run around and play with a large parachute. What about using a parachute at home? Can it be done? Of course it can!
Parachutes come in many sizes and can be used in a few different ways that will get kids up and moving around. However, games are best played with a small group. You can play tag with the parachute by having everyone lift the parachute up and yelling out a child’s name. That child then has to run underneath the parachute and make it to the other side before the parachute starts coming down. If the parachute touches the child before they make it to the other side, they have been “tagged.”
Another game that can be conducted is turning the parachute into a “turtle.” Have everyone get on their hands and knees underneath the parachute. Using teamwork and without crawling out from underneath the parachute, make the turtle shell (the parachute) move about. You can also play a musical version of a merry-go-round. Everyone holds onto the edge of the parachute and can either jump, run, skip, or walk in a circle as the music plays. When the music reverses, everyone must turn and go the opposite way with the parachute. Last, but certainly not least, another fun game that can be done indoors with a parachute is to avoid the snakes! Place jump ropes, pool noodles, or something of the sort in the middle of the parachute. Have the kids shake the parachute so that the “snakes” move and jump around.
The object of the game is to not have the snakes touch you. The kids have to bring their side of the parachute up when a snake comes near them to avoid being bit by the poisonous reptile! With many parachute games, children can use their imagination and creativity! It is a perfect balance of physical activity and mental stimulation.
Foam Pogo Jumper
A classic outdoor activity is jumping on a pogo stick, which has been around since 1918! However, pogo sticks can be very dangerous and can lead to serious injuries. According to a study conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), the average number of injuries caused by pogo sticks each year is 1,322 in the United States alone. Luckily, there is a much safer alternative on the market that can also be used indoors!
The Foam Pogo Jumper is made entirely out of foam, drastically reducing the pogo stick’s usual safety issues. The base of the Foam Pogo Jumper will not scuff hardwood floors either when being used indoors due to the foam and it also contains dual speakers that emit squeaking sounds with every hop!
The stick is made of elastic bungee cord and will stretch to adjust to different heights. The handles, which are spongy and soft, have LED lights in the ends that flash red and blue when someone is jumping on the pogo stick. Not only is this pogo stick safer, indoor-friendly, and will get your child moving, there are physical advantages to jumping on a pogo stick as well! Pogo sticks help strengthen core muscle groups in the stomach, legs, and backside. It is also a great cardio workout.
Make a game out of it and pin kids against one another to see who has the highest number of jumps during a certain time span. That can also be a great way to practice counting numbers into the double digits!
Monster Monkey Bar Tower
Playgrounds and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. It can be hard sometimes to pry your kids away from the playground. Sometimes children cry, run, or throw a tantrum when told they have to leave. However, now you can bring the playground equipment inside! The Monster Monkey Bar Tower is an indoor jungle gym that will fit perfectly inside of a play room, living room, bedroom, basement, or classroom.
The pieces of the Monster Monkey Bar Tower are easy to put together and it is also portable! Each tube is made from a durable plastic that interlocks. The connectors have double self-locking springs for added structural durability. The tower can withstand up to 150 pounds, making it the ideal activity for busy toddlers.
While burning off some of their energy, the kids will gain important skills such as balance; they are strengthening muscles in the arms and legs, and also improving hand-eye coordination. The tower can also be used to play unique games. Add creativity by having your child color in fish that you draw or print out. Attach the fish to strings and hang them from the bars or put them on the ground in the middle of the structure. Have your little ones go fishing! Add numbers to the fish to make it a math learning experience as well! How many fish can they catch and can they count to the number that's written on the fish? You can also throw some blankets over it and create a fort or igloo! The possibilities are endless with a little imagination.
Activities and games that the whole family can get involved in are wonderful ways to help build or improve strong family connections and relationships. For children, it will also help them improve their ability to work in a team and, depending on the game or activity, will help them with learning to share with others. The same can be said when playing with friends or classmates as well!
Fitivities is a multifaceted activity that blends together board games and exercise for a fun time with a small or large group of people. The game is for anyone six and up and can host between two and 24 players! With over 20 exercises for kids and family members, Fitivities is a perfect way to spend some time either indoors or outdoors.
Fitivities comes with a large game mat that is durable for outdoor use, four dice, four team shoe markers, and four spinner cards. The game works with teams, each team competing against one another. Each team gets a foam shoe which will mark their place on the game mat. When you spin the spinner, it lands on a number of repetitions (or the action to go back to a certain spot on the board!), and when you roll the die, you get how many spaces to move on the board. Whatever exercise the shoe marker lands on, the team (or just an individual) must perform it with the number of repetitions the spinner landed on.
The most interesting part of Fitivities is that each team does not take turns, they are playing at the exact same time! The object of the game is to be the first team (or person) to make it the whole way around the game board.
Exercises can be modified for those who cannot perform an exercise in full. The game promotes a healthy lifestyle by getting people moving! It is a great source for cardio, muscle building and toning, increasing flexibility, and more! It is a good idea to go over all the exercises before playing because the game is about being the first to finish, so everyone should know the moves beforehand to make the game fair. Fitivities has won several awards, including the Creative Mag’s Game of the Year and Mother’s Choice.