Keep Kids Moving while Staying at Home

Date: Septemebr 15, 2020

COVID-19 is keeping us at home, but kids still need to get moving every day. In fact, the added stress of living through the pandemic makes it more important to include physical activity in each day.

Here are some practical ways to get some exercise during the stay at home time.

At-home games

Many kids today don’t know the simple active games parents and grandparents played as children. Here are a few, favoring the ones that can be played with a small number of players:

  • Follow the leader: one player is the leader, and walks (or runs or moves in other ways) through the house or yard. The other players follow closely, copying all the leaders’ moves. To make this competitive, anyone who makes a mistake in following is out, and the last successful follower becomes the new leader. Many of us grew up singing the song from Disney’s “Peter Pan” while playing this game, and your kids might enjoy that, too.
  • Obstacle course: use household objects to create an obstacle course around the back yard or through the house. All players must crawl through, jump over, or use other agreed-upon moves to get through the obstacle course. 
  • Older kids can learn to play more sporty outdoor games, known as lawn games, like badminton, horseshoes, or pétanque. The outdoor sports many kids know, such as soccer or softball, require large teams. Lawn games like croquet are less commonly played, but can be played with smaller numbers — often as few as two. Just Google the rules and you will find instructions and video lessons.

Household chores

There are plenty of chores to do when the whole family is staying at home! Choose an hour of the day to spend as a family doing chores that require some physical effort. Here are some chores that involve plenty of movement:

  • Tidy up, taking all items that are out of place back to their places.
  • Weed the garden.
  • Scrub all the surfaces in the bathroom with a non-toxic cleaner. 
  • Do the laundry, from gathering laundry throughout the house to folding dry laundry and putting it away.
  • Mix and knead bread. Let adults put it into and take it out of the oven. Rolling and cutting out cookie dough can also involve muscles.
  • Sweep and mop the floor.
  • Wash the car.

Intentional exercise

  • Traditional calisthenics: schools used to include calisthenics in their schedules, but many no longer do. Consider following a calisthenics class on YouTube. There are many options, and it could be fun to try out different classes. Look for classes lasting about 30 minutes, including children among the participants, with comfortable clothing.
  • Dance: dance can be about artistic expression, but it’s always a fun way to get heart rates up. You can just put on your favorite music and dance around in a family dance party, but something a little more structured can mix it up and add some learning.
  • Timer exercise: start the day by setting timers throughout the day with Siri, Alexa, or timers on your computer. Make a list of physical activities, too, such as running up and down the stairs, doing 100 jumping jacks, or running to a tree and back. Then, when the timers go off, everyone must get moving.