The holiday season is full of opportunities for fun family time, but without some planning, the long break from school can send kids spiraling into a pattern of too much screen time. While there’s certainly room for rest and recharge during the holidays, it’s important to make healthy, active choices everyday too – for our kids and ourselves. It’s never a good idea for anyone to spend too much time sitting in one position, and the American Heart Association recommends that kids ages 6 to 17 years old should get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day.
An hour doesn’t sound like a lot, but finding something every day to keep kids engaged can be tricky, especially when you’re balancing the rest of life’s demands. Luckily that 60 minutes can be broken up into multiple shorter sessions throughout the day, whether that’s five minutes at a time or 20. The key is to make it fun, so your little ones’ hearts are pumping and their laughter ringing.
Get the whole family moving by hiding a wide collection of objects throughout the house and outside (weather permitting of course!) Adjust the challenge based on your kids’ ages and how much time you want the game to take. For example, for older kids consider incorporating riddles that they have to solve to figure out what they’re looking for.
BONUS IDEA: Make the list of items to locate longer by only requiring they snap a quick picture of each (assuming you don’t mind them borrowing your phone), the options are suddenly endless and they’ll be running all over the place!
There is something about balloons when it comes to active fun. From toddlers to teens, get them moving through a series of challenges all centered on nothing more than a leftover party favor! Get creative, the options are endless, but here’s a few to get you started:
Balloon Volley – see how long they can keep it from touching the ground (or any furniture etc.). Too easy? Add another balloon, and another!
Balloon Balance – no hands allowed, keep the balloon balanced on their body from point A to point B … and back again. Too easy? Add obstacles to the pathway!
Balloon Catch – the catch? They must catch it with kitchen utensils! Try funnels, serving spoons and spatulas. Too easy? Try catching one in each hand with two different tools!
Mention going for a walk just for the sake of walking and most kids will look at you like you just asked them to eat a bowl of raw vegetables … without dip! But during the holidays there are often lights and decorations up throughout neighborhoods, critter footprints in the mud or snow, and plenty of things to see and share. Incorporate the classic I Spy or 20 Questions games to keep the whining at bay. Make it extra active and engaging by adding a “follow the leader” component where you switch from regular walking to things like skipping or hopping or even walking backward when it’s safe to do so, and take turns being the leader – you may find yourself frog hopping by your neighbor’s front window. Just wave and just remember you’re instilling a lifelong love of movement in your littles, no matter how silly you look.
Wait ... there's more!
For more ways to keep your kids moving, check out the fun ideas, exercises and resources included in our distance learning guide, including videos and printables.
Is your child experiencing pain or discomfort?
Schedule an assessment with us!
If you have questions about creating a regular activity routine for your child, or if your child is complaining about bone, joint or muscle pain – especially during or after exercise – give us a call to schedule an assessment today. Don’t let their discomfort keep them from getting the movement they need to keep their body and brain happy and healthy.
Most insurance policies include direct access coverage, so you can see a physical therapist without a physician’s prescription or referral. We are happy to verify your benefits for you.
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