An Expert on Keeping Cooped-Up Kinder Kids Active
It only takes 21 days to develop a habit, good or bad, that’s the message from Paul Pennisi who runs Sports 4 Kinders that provides incursions for kinder-aged kids. Paul has put together some activities that families can do easily in the backyard, house or park to keep them away from screens. Though we may not all be in lockdown our world has shrunk a little bit for the time being and we are more likely to be at home with the kids.
His message: “There may well be physical, mental, logistical and emotional barriers for exercising but we can use the next 21 days to develop, build and foster some desirable behavior and lifestyle habits that will improve your physical, mental and emotional well being in the future and beyond. Let’s build relationships through exercise with our children during a period where we may find ourselves with more time to do so, compared to the busy scheduled we have grown accustomed to.”
Some activities from Paul and his team to try if you are stuck at home for a while:
The Haircut Game
You will need: a long rope of 2-4 metres, space to run and a tree/pole
Tying the rope to the pole/tree about two metres up in height, one person swings the rope around in a circular motion (becoming the hairdresser) while the children run under the rope and around the pole repeating until the rope touches them, or “cuts their hair”. Once the rope has touched the children it’s time to swap (the customer become the hairdresser). Now the child needs to control the rope and the adult is desperately trying not to have their hair cut. Fun for the whole family and you can extend the fun and laughs by pretending to exchange money and making up prices for each haircut – you may find your child coming up with some interesting pricing for a haircut – great opportunity to teach them about numbers, money and value.
To change or extend the game you can lower the rope to 10-20 centimeters in height and repeat the game – only this time you are horses and are jumping over the rope, running around the pole and repeating. Squiggle the rope in an up and down motion (causing a ripple) saying it is a snake and being careful to clear the snake and not step on the snake.
Collection Game (otherwise known as the dreaded Beep Test)
You will need: a stopwatch, whistle and five small items that you can carry in one hand (rocks, keys, hat, etc)
You mark out a starting point (home base) and a collection point (shop) approx. 10-15 metres apart. At the collection point you place the five objects. The child starts at the starting point and upon the sound of the whistle they start the watch, run to the collection point and gather one item then run back to place the item at starting point. They repeat this until all items from the shop have been brought back home allowing them to stop the watch and see their time. Now it’s time for you to complete the mission and compare times – allow the child to take up the role of starting the mission with the whistle giving them a sense that you are both in charge and both exercising equally.
You will need: to set up a starting point and finishing point approx. 10 metres apart.
The child is the runner and the adult is the commander. When the command is shouted out the child completes the command to reach the other end and stops there waiting for the next command. Repeat this five times. The fun comes from the type of commands your imagination can come up with and indeed the voice you project.
Commands can be:
Sprint like a Gruffalo is chasing you
Hop like you have a sore foot
Jump like a kangaroo
Run sideways like a crab
Cartwheel like a giant tire
The extreme fun bit is when role reversal happens, and the child gets to make up some interesting commands for the adult.
Gold Star Fitness
In summary keep these key performance indicators forefront of your mind when exercising with your child/family
Is it fun?
Is it safe?
Did we smile?
Tick these items off and I say it’s a win for the family.
Paul Pennisi and Dr. Aaron Potter run Sports 4 Kinders that runs family personal training/bonding activities across Melbourne.
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