Providing kids with a way to stay active at home is essential to promoting a healthy lifestyle. According to the American Council on Exercise, one hour of a child's day should be spent engaging in physical activity. Recess and lunch breaks throughout the school day provide children with an outlet to get moving, but this is just the start. Supplementing these longer breaks with a few shorter, heart-rate boosting activities at home will encourage children to move in a way that's fun, quick and easy.
Jumping rope is a quick way to get the heart rate up. It also requires coordination and builds arm strength. For children involved in organized sports, jumping rope can be complimentary as it builds quickness and speed. Try one to two minutes of jumping rope each day to start. This can be done as a homework break in the afternoon.
Micro Movement Motor Skills
For children ages 6 to 12, developing fine motor skills enhances the ability to explore the world. To cultivate fine motor skills in an active way that's safe inside the home, try a bean bag toss with a partner. Have kids throw with both hands overhand and underhand. Try behind the back passes and one hand catches for a challenge.
Forest of Trees
Not only is balance a way to teach right and left, but it also works to integrate leg and core strength as well as concentration. To explore some yoga balancing poses, have your kids move from an eagle pose out to an airplane pose for an active balancing sequence. At the end of a long day, a tree pose can provide a calmer balancing variation. For more of a challenge, try each pose on three different surfaces. When a tree pose becomes too easy, have your kids look up toward the sky or close their eyes.
Chair pushups work to strengthen the triceps muscles and the core. These can be integrated as a transition in and out of a chair before and after meals. To do a set of chair pushups, have your kids push their chairs away from the dining table. From sitting in the chair, have them keep their hands at the edge of the chair's seat and bring their hips just beyond the seat -- with each breath in, have them bend their elbows to lower their hips toward the ground and with each breath out straighten the arms to bring the hips back up. These can be repeated in sets of 10 to start.
Melted Freeze Dance
Get moving in a fun way. The best exercises for kids are the ones that are fun rather than a chore. To play un-freeze dance, have your kids pick a song. Now assign them a physical action or movement to keep the body flowing. This can be jumping jacks, butt kicks, or something else to keep them moving. When the song is playing, the dancing starts. When the song is paused, the movement begins. Have the kids count their number of movements with each pause of the song.