If you have found your kids stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, they might be getting a bit antsy as they transition to online learning and spending more time in the house. They may be missing their friends and even be getting tired of watching TV (did you think this was even possible?).
This is a great opportunity for you to start incorporating physical education (PE) games at home into your daily routines.
The Benefits of PE in Schools
While it’s no secret that physical activity is good for kids and their overall wellbeing, why is PE in schools so important? According to PhitWorld, kids benefit immensely from this structured group time because it:
- Helps reduce stress and anxiety and promotes a positive mood
- Helps kids look forward to exercise
- Teaches team building and self-discipline
- Teaches the importance of health and wellbeing
- Enforces the importance of respecting others
During this time at home, kids do not have the same opportunity to participate in physical activity with their peers.
However, we encourage you to try and find a way to break up the day to allow time for exercise and “PE at Home.” Not only will this get out pent-up energy and provide exercise, but it will give your child a much-needed break from their online schooling.
PE Games You Can Play at Home
Don’t forget to start with some basic stretches to get them (and you!) warmed up.
We recommend trying to dedicate at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week to these PE games.
All of these games require minimal equipment and can be done inside. If you have more than one school-aged child at home, you can create structured group time together. Whether it be just you and your child, or several of your children together, here are five ways to create “PE at Home:”
Circuit training – a mini boot camp workout for kids
These are a great way to really get your kid(s) moving. If you have more than one child, this one can invoke some friendly competition. Circuit training works all the muscle groups in a series of exercises similar to boot camp.
This circuit includes:
- 20 jumping jacks
- 10 pushups
- 10 sit-ups
- Hop from one foot to the other 10 times
- 10-star jumps (your child jumps and extends their arms and legs outward as far as possible while in midair)
Have your child(ren) perform these exercises for two circuits, and time them while doing so. They are guaranteed to want to try and beat their first time at least once.
Hopping relay races
If you have a front or backyard, these are ideal for outside. However, you can also easily hold relay races indoors, just be sure to create enough space. This might include moving some furniture around, or a long hallway works great. If you have other children in the house, this one is ideal.
For relay races, all you need is an object that you can easily hold in one hand, such as an action figure or a tennis ball.
How it works:
- Set up two lines that your child(ren) can hop back and forth between. With the object in hand, have your child(ren) hop from one line to the other on one foot.
- Have your child(ren) pass off the item to the second person, who does the same thing.
- You can do this as many times as you wish but be sure to keep the time for each race so your child(ren) can try and beat it.
For a fun variation: instead of hopping, try skipping or crab walking instead (you may need to lose the object for crab walking).
Tossing a balloon around is a great way to release some pent up energy while casually working muscle groups. And this funny game is bound to help distract your children from emotional discomfort they may be feeling.
To play, all you need is a blown-up balloon and a piece of yarn or rope— and a child of course.
- Tie your string or rope between two places in your home that will allow it to stay taught, hanging slightly higher than your child(ren).
- Stand on either side of the string and attempt to hit the balloon back and forth over the string. Try not to let it hit the ground.
Help your child(ren) get moving through the fun of music. This exercise will help a child build strength and coordination in such a fun way, they won’t even know its part of their school curriculum.
- Compile a list of your kid(s)’ favorite songs.
- Have them dance around while you play them but freeze whenever you hit pause.
With multiple kids, you can eliminate each one if they move when they are supposed to “freeze.”
While not as energy expending as some of the other options, yoga will get your kids’ heartbeat up and allow them to stretch their muscles out, a great option after being sedentary for many hours.
Have your kid(s) try animal yoga poses. To do this, invite your children to mimic their favorite animals.
You could have them hold each pose for 10 seconds and then switch to another one, allowing them to keep moving but still striving to get the position correct.
Here’s a fun video you can share with your children to help them learn some new animal yoga poses.
While your child’s routine may be different than usual, you can manage to keep or create a new routine that they can depend on. Incorporating physical education into their days while they are stuck home will benefit both of you immensely. Allowing them this structured time will help them burn calories and keep their muscles moving. They may even sleep more soundly and be in a better mood throughout this uncertain time period.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of physical activity. Your child will thank you for it!