Tonight, my 7 year old son told my 5 year old daughter that we should take a break from electronics for 2 days. What a great idea! I don’t know about you but during the cold, winter months, we are watching more TV, playing more video games, and overall more sedentary. In the warmer months, my kids are super active and get more than enough exercise. In the colder winter months, it’s a struggle to get enough active physical exercise.
Why is exercise important for kids?
Kids need to exercise not only to let off steam and stop picking on their siblings but for many health benefits as well. Care.com has compiled a list of benefits below.
Regular exercise for kids:
- Develops muscle strength
- Improves cardiovascular capacity
- Keeps bones strong
- Decreases body fat
- Maintains a steady, healthy weight.
Regular exercise also helps kids self-esteem, reduces symptoms of depression, increases concentration (read why recess is good for kids at school), boosts energy levels, controls mood swings, and fosters feelings of happiness.
By developing in your children a love of movement when they’re young, you are setting them up to be stronger, healthier, and disease-free when they’re older. – Care.com
Exercise for Preschoolers
Kids ages 3-5 should have 60 minutes of physical activity. Some example exercises for preschoolers include: hopping, jumping, crawling, marching. You can create games to inspire their creative imaginations to make the exercise fun.
A favorite activity in my house is to play dinosaurs. Usually this involves me crawling around on the floor with one of my kids on my back. I’m the T-Rex and the kids on my back is the Baby T-Rex. My other child is running away, hiding, and squealing as we hunt him down for dinner. Kids love it and it is active play we all enjoy!
We also try to get outside for at least 1/2 hour even on cold days. They usually run to their playground, snow-covered playsets are fun! Once I get myself motivated to bundle everyone up, we are all usually happy to be outside and getting much-needed fresh air and exercise.
Game: Sleeping Giants
Kids pretend to be giants who like to jump. Let them jump up and down for fun and practice. Tell them to stop jumping and lie very still on the floor when you say “Sleeping Giants!”. When you say “Waking Giants” the children will jump up and down until you call out “Sleeping Giants” again. You can also use walking penguins, hopping frogs, skipping elephants, and crawling bears.
Exercise for School Age Kids
School aged kids ages 5-12 require at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. Care.com offers up some fun games involving lots of stepping, hopping, skipping, and other activities with the addition of balloons! What kids wouldn’t want to play those games?!
Game: Balloon Move and Play
Balloons are held while squatting, lunging, and moving in different directions to enhance muscle strength, agility, balance, and coordination. Punch balloons are the most fun as they tend not to burst as easily and don’t make a loud noise when they pop which can frighten children.
Again, getting outside is a great way for school age kids to get their daily requirement of active exercise. Go to a playground, take a hike, or go sledding. When it is too cold outside, get creative and play indoors.
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Thank you to Care.com for the great ideas!