The best exercise for children is to have active play with friends. Children run and play naturally, as long as they are given the space and the time.
Play a pantomime game to help your child talk about physical activities he/she would like to do with family or friends.
Here are some ideas:
- Jump up and down and pretend to twirl a rope and ask:
What am I doing? Show me how you can jump rope with two feet or with one foot at a time.
- Make swimming motions or diving motions and ask:
What activity do you like to do in the water? Show me how it looks when you swim? Could you pretend to row a boat in the water?
- Do several different dance steps and ask:
What do you look like when you dance? Can you leap when you dance? Can you touch your toes when you dance?
- Make putting motions or a golf drive from the tee and ask:
What game am I playing? Show me how it looks when you play golf.
- Pretend to pitch a baseball, catch a ball, bat a ball and ask:
What game am I playing? Show me how you play baseball.
Take turns with your child to have them pantomime physical activities or games they like to play and you guess what they’re doing. Some other ideas include—tag, follow the leader, soccer, basketball, tennis, running, bike riding, climbing, walking in the park.
Note: If possible, bring in other members of the family to share in the pantomime game to add additional physical activities and to make the game more challenging.
To Follow Through:
After completing the pantomime, help your child make a list of 3 to 5 special physical activities to do with family and/or friends. Use a calendar to plan for the activities and set up possible dates and times.
Then, talk about the physical activities you and your child can do everyday, without special planning—walking the dog, playing follow the leader to go get the mail, jumping rope, playing hopscotch or riding bikes or tricycles in the driveway.
Use the calendar to keep track of all the different physical activities you, your child and your family do each day to encourage a more active, physical family lifestyle.