Move Your Body: Physical Activities for Children
Both adults and children need to lead active lives to maintain health, so why not be active together and have fun doing it! But, remember these points when choosing activities:
- Choose activities your child likes to do. Children like different things. What appeals to one child may be a complete turnoff to another, even within the same family. Let your child choose the activity occasionally.
- Choose age-appropriate activities. If an activity is too difficult, the child will get discouraged. This is especially important if you have children of different ages.
- Choose activities that fit into your day. You don't have to schedule all of the activities in order to build fitness into your daily routine. Making slight changes can work just as well. Is the doctor's office on the second floor? Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Below are some suggested ways to have fun while developing endurance, strength, and flexibility.
- Play "Simon Says" and make some of your motions stretching motions.
- Stretch yourself into different shapes to pretend to be different animals. Ask your child to guess what animal you are supposed to be. Then, have your child copy your motions.
- Set up a pallet of blankets and/or quilts on the floor and let your child roll around, tumble, and do splits.
- Play catch or practice tossing a ball into a basket or a box.
Climbing and Hopping
- Make a chart with your child that shows how many steps your child can climb over a period of a month or a season.
- How many times can each of you hop on one leg?
Walking and Running
- When you can, walk rather than ride, for example, to the drug store or corner market.
- Make a game of how far you can walk and note the increase in distance over a period of time.
- Go on a scavenger hunt for things you can collect that you know will be on the walk, such as acorns, leaves (four red, three yellow), a bottle cap, a gray stone.
- Chase each other around your home or outside. Find an open space, like a yard, playground or park, and challenge each other to a race.
And, don't forget to dance! Put on some music and dance by yourselves or together. A good dance workout can develop endurance, strength, and flexibility.