Kids have a seemingly inexhaustible source of energy. It is like they just can’t stop moving. Seriously. Like, at all hours of the day, every day of the week. They are like a constantly percolating pot of hyperactivity. In the cold months of winter, when the outdoors is a less than friendly host for the much needed release of active play, how do parents and caregivers provide an effective pressure release valve for kids’ compulsive need to just MOVE? Let’s not forget that parents and caregivers also need to get in some physical activity for themselves. That can often be a challenge when you have this little person or people up in your business all the time. So why not kill two birds with one stone? Empty the energy tank of the miniature elves of destruction and mayhem to buy yourself a bit of reprieve, AND get a good cardio sesh? Yes, please!
Here’s the plan:
Give yourself a good hour or so to drain the spaz out of your littles and have some fun. Start with a bit of some monkey see, monkey do style warm-up, then pick a game to be the bulk of the time and then add in a good wind-down. Finally, there’s a cool your jets routine to make sure you create a distinct end to the high energy play. Plan to really let it rip during your active play time by making sure you create a safe place to play by removing fall hazards or breakable stuff. The idea is to let them feel free to physically express themselves. Too many rules will ruin the fun, so do whatever prep you need to be OK with being bananas before you start. It is going to get silly.
So the idea here is just to get the bodies and minds ready to move. Pick 5 or so movements from the list and plan to do an ‘I do, you do’, ‘follow the leader’ style of instruction to get you guys started. Time intervals work great here; like a 40 seconds on, 20 seconds break type of thing. It doesn’t have to be exact. So, I recommend a red light, green light type of instruction based on your own estimates on how long it should be. Go until you feel you all have had enough, then rest. Hit another move and do that again. Run through about 5 movements and then you’re ready to move on.
- Tickle the sky, tickle the floor (Overhead reach to toe touch move)
- Star pose opposite toe touch (Start in a standing, arms out to the side stance, bend over to have opposite hand touch opposite toes)
- Knee Hugs (Alternating side, hug in one knee at a time from a standing position)
- Superhero Rolls (Start lying on your bellies with arms out like a superhero. Lift your hands and feet off the floor by squeezing your back. Try to roll over on your back without the hands or feel dropping to the floor. Roll back and forth, keeping the hands and feet up for time.)
- Dino Squat Stomps (Standing, stomp hard one foot at a time. With every stomp, drop your butt down into a partial squat. You’re a big, heavy dinosaur you know ;)
- Skier Swooshes (Pretend like you’re skiers and swoosh side to side)
- Butt Kickers (Alternate sides, jog in place swinging your heels up high enough to kick your own tush)
- Tip-toe Walks (Self-explanatory. Walk around on tiptoes)
- Jumping Jacks (Also self-explanatory)
- Burpees (Jump up high reaching towards the ceiling, then on the ‘down’ come down enough to plant your hands on the floor and then kick your feet back as if getting into a push-up position. From there, keeping hands planted, jump back up to a crouch and then return to standing)
- Sit-Up High-Fives (Pair up or group up, feet facing the middle. At the top of each sit-up, you high five or high ten)
Freeze Dance (OR Dance Party): This one is SO FUN. Sorta like you’re playing musical chairs, someone needs to man the music player to turn the music on and off. When the music plays, go nuts and dance your little hearts out like the rock monsters you are. When the music stops, you FREEZE. No matter what ridiculous pose you’re in (the more ridiculous the better), you freeze just like that. Stay stuck in your silliness best you can through the laughter until the music comes back on. If that is not your jam, just an old fashioned dance party can get the job done.
Balloon Games: There are so many things you can do with just an ordinary party balloon. Keep off the floor, balloon racket games, relay race on a spoon or in a cup, are just a few. Pick one and run with it! Remember, the more into it you are, the more they will be. You gotta be a friend to have a friend. You gotta BE FUN to have fun.
Deck of Cards Game: Use the exercise list above or use your own. The idea is to assign a movement to each suit and then the number or face represents either a number of repetitions or a time limit. For example: diamonds are dino-stomps, spades are butt-kickers, hearts are superhero rolls and clubs are sit-up high-fives. Use the numbers as multipliers of ten to make the times (e.g. a 5 is fifty seconds) and the face cards are all 2 minutes. Everyone takes turns drawing a card for as long as you have to play.
Pick Up Race: Just like it sounds, you throw some stuff on the floor and race to see who can pick it up the fastest. Use that deck of cards and assign a suit to each player or a goal number of cards or anything else based on what you have around the house. What’s more fun than being encouraged to make a mess?
Popcorn Push-Ups: Drop some popcorn on a clean floor (sorta clean works too…). In a kneeling push-up stance, come down to the bottom of the movement and stick out your tongue to pick up and eat a piece of popcorn one at a time. Have a contest to see who can do the most in a try without failing.
Old Reliables: Red Light, Green Light, Hopscotch, Animal Walk Relay, Follow The Leader, Simon Says, and all your old school favorites.
THE COOL DOWN:
This is super important if you want to enjoy the rest of the day. Now that the kids are all pumped up and energized, it is time to change the energy in the room. Going through a process to deliberately change the mood and bring their little heart rates down is going to ensure you are all mentally and physically ready to go to the next part of your day. Maybe even nap time…Here is a yoga inspired routine to slow their roll and get them in some cooler vibes. Move through each one of these moves for either time of number of breaths. Thirty to forty seconds or 8-10 breaths is a good place to start. Changing to some soothing music also helps to set the right mood.
Lying on your back, hug knees to chest
Owner, Well Hello Fitness
Master Personal Trainer/ Sports Nutritionist/ Coach
Kristin Kuykendall is a Master Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist. Her credentials are backed by a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design and further studies in Human Health Sciences from Oakland University.
With a passion for helping people acquire skills to promote the longest possible health span, Kristin has coached numerous clients to feel their best. She has brought this passion to her work as a private nutrition and exercise programming coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutritionist. Kristin has been responsible for helping a wide range of clients achieve their individual goals, from competitive athletes to individualized healthy fat loss.
She has personally achieved professional and world standing both as a Physique and Figure bodybuilding competitor. All this while raising kids with her loving husband/partner in this crazy life. When she’s not playing in the kitchen or spending time with her family, you may find her working as a judge and promoter for natural bodybuilding competitions.
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