Suddenly No Exercises For Kids
Whether you are a long-term homeschooler or have found yourself suddenly homeschooling like I have, finding exercises for kids throughout the day is so important to keep our children happy and engaged in their learning.
I’m a mum of two girls and in the current Covid-19 situation I have found that I am suddenly homeschooling my 15 year old daughter who is now in Year 10. Although her school has provided some home lessons for her (and I work at My Homeschool so I have a feast of resources at my fingertips!), the thing I have noticed most about her ‘suddenly homeschooling’ is that she has suddenly stopped exercising. I’m sure you’ve noticed it with your children too.
Daily living provided so many exercises for kids. My daughter used to rush out the door to school each morning, move around her classroom all day, play games at lunchtime, have regular PE lessons and walk up and down a million stairs throughout her school day, and then after school she would be off again to either run around the basketball court or actively participate in her acting class (I’m exhausted just thinking about it!) but all that has suddenly stopped and now all I feel like she is doing is either sitting writing in a book or staring at a computer screen. It’s a definite concern and a massive change.
Looking For Exercises For Kids?
And I know it’s not only the short-term homeschoolers who can relate to this. I’m hearing that our long-term homeschoolers have had to cease all their regular exercises for kids. Their childrens’ swimming classes, karate lessons, tennis lessons, walks to the library, drama groups, walking groups, team sports and so on are all cancelled. It’s a particularly challenging time for all of us.
So I’ve been thinking, how can we fix this? How can we keep our homeschooled children exercising so that they are upbeat and eager to continue their learning? How can we encourage them and replace the exercise that they have suddenly lost with something as equally fun and beneficial?
Then I realised that all we have to do is to find some simple types of exercises for kids to do at home. Simple exercise ideas to get our children moving…
Five Exercises For Kids To Do At Home
- S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G is the best way to reduce muscle tension caused by sitting for long periods and only needs to be done for 5 minutes just 3 times a day. Encourage your children to have a good stretch throughout their day or if you are following a school timetable you could try these break times: 9.30am, 11.30am & 2.30pm.
- Running (On the spot!). I remember when I was teaching primary school children many years ago and every so often when I felt we were all zoning out, I’d get the children to stand up and run on the spot for 3 minutes. Keep this hint as your homeschooling parent’s secret weapon – you’ll soon find out that it’s an instant energy boost for your child.
- Dancing is another one of those fantastic exercises for kids and it’s brilliant for lifting anyone’s mood, so pop on some music and give it a go. You might even have some daggy dance moves to teach your children. (Do the twist!). Here’s a YouTube video teaching The Macarena (2:46 mins) in case you can’t think of any.
- Yoga is a low-key way to keep active and also has the benefit of being a very relaxing activity. This yoga session is a fun colourful one for your primary schooler: YouTube Yoga Exercise for Primary (25:04 minutes) and you may want to try this quick 10 minute yoga session for your high schooler: YouTube Yoga Exercise for Highschool (10:00 mins).
- Easy screen-free indoor games including:
- Elastics: With a couple of metres of elastic from your sewing box tied at the ends, you can create this fun game. Your children can even play solo if they put the elastic around chair legs instead of human legs. The following YouTube videos show how to play: Elastics Game 1 , Elastics Game 2 , Elastics Game 3
- Charades: An oldie but a goodie! Encourage your child to act out a word or a phrase or even the title of their favourite movie. Here is a short video on how to make a simple game of animal charades: YouTube How to make an Animal Charades Game (3:30 mins)
- Hot Potato: Remember this old favourite? Choose someone to be in charge of the music and using a soft ball (or even a pair of socks) move it around between each other as quickly as possible until the music person chooses to stop the music. When the music stops, the person who is holding the hot potato is the winner. Here is some hot potato music – you guessed it, it’s The Wiggles’ Hot Potato song: YouTube The Wiggles Hot Potato Song (1:09 mins)
- Musical Chairs: This is probably the most popular group game for children to play inside. Here is a piece of music that is set up to stop at intervals making it really easy for your children to play: YouTube Musical Chairs Music (7:05 mins)
- Skipping or Hopscotch are fabulous ways to get moving and improve balance, strength and coordination. Here’s a YouTube video showing How to Play Hopscotch (2:40 mins) in case you’ve forgotten.
We probably all have our different ways of teaching exercises for kids and that is what makes exercise varied and enjoyable. Charlotte Mason, for example, taught Physical Education through Swedish Drill which can easily be done at home. It is a simple method that introduces grace, agility and balance. You can view a demonstration here (3:38 mins). ‘Simply Charlotte Mason’ is currently offering a free downloadable e-book which illustrates the technique of Swedish Drill which Charlotte Mason used in her schools. It is called The Swedish Drill Teacher (by L.L. Collett & M.H. Spaldin) and you can download it here.
Relaxation Exercises For Kids
Whilst we encourage you to keep your children active during this particularly complex time, it is also important for your child to take breaks to relax throughout their day. This YouTube Relaxation Exercise (10:17 mins) may be used in place of their stretching breaks or after their daily lessons but the best kind of relaxation for your child is probably the relaxation they gain from doing something they love. This could be free play, prayer and reflection, chatting to a friend or a grandparent on the phone, reading a good book (My Homeschool have a comprehensive list of Classic books here), sitting outside in the fresh air, playing with your family pet, or possibly even walking around your garden to observe nature.
So there you go! I’ve listed a few things you can do in your own home to keep your children moving but I’m sure you have many more ideas of your own, so if you are a My Homeschool Member why don’t you get onto the My Homeschool ‘Suddenly Home’ Community Hub and share your ideas. We all need a little boost so let’s try to stay connected and most importantly, let’s support each other to get our children moving!
Have a great day and warm regards,
PS. With any sort of exercise that you and your family do at home, please stay within your fitness limits and please be careful.
Amanda Sim is our Support & Communications Manager at My Homeschool.