Archive for July, 2012


Friday, July 27th, 2012

In the clutter by our front door lies a pile of shoes. My son thinks they are all interesting, figuring out which are pairs, which are funny to walk in (high rain boots are his favorite) and which laces he can tie together so wshones in a line on grasse can’t leave on time. Recently, he used a shoe as a baseball mitt, throwing a ball in the air, and trying to catching it with my shoe. It started us thinking, so we used a sneaker as a baseball batt, and a tall boot to stack the balls and keep them from rolling away before he tried to hit them. Then we dropped the balls and just threw a small soft slipper of theirs back and forth like a ball. They thought it was so funny to use a shoe as a ball, so we continued.  We propped up boots as goals and kicked the slipper around like a game of soccer. My kids used adult snow boots like hockey sticks, and their light plastic sandal as a puck. I played referee.  Then I lined eight random shoes up on the floor, and we used them as cones, weaving through them while kicking the slipper. Then we ran faster around the “cones” without kicking the slipper. We carefully jumped over the shoes frontwards, sideways and backward (don’t land it or your ankle/knee will twist). My kids crab walked around the cones and I did moving planks down the line, doing a push-up over each shoe until my chest touched the shoes. We tried to play badminton over the couch with sneakers as rackets and the slippers as a birdie, but my kids are too young, so we tried catch and release flip-flop volleyball. Shoes aren’t just shoes anymore.

Make it a Threesome

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I don’t mean breakfast, lunch and dinner if that’s what you are thinking. I mean make it a triathlon day! You can start the traditional way, swimming (pool, lake, ocean or bathtub), biking (road, mountain, tricycle or bike trailer), and running (walking, hiking or skipping). Traditional is good! However an alternative is to divide up the hour(s) or day triathlon so that each family member or participant picks the event they will lead. Only have two family members? Each of you picks an event like basketball and skating, and then you agree on the third activity together. So your triathlon is 20 minutes each of basketball, skating and handball, and you take it seriously, timing each event, having a water break and crossing the “finish line”. If you have four family members, kids and adults split into teams, each picking an event and coming to a consensus on the third. With young kids, encourage them to do what they can and then help out with a stroller or backpack. Older kids can plan out the triathlon, writing down the schedule, timing, maps, organization of switching events, water and food breaks. If you all get really into it, invite friends to join you next time, either participating, or as cheerleaders. All it takes is one “outside” person joining you or cheering your family team on to really make you a cohesive partnership!

Slide around the room

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Sliding and/or cleaning fun

How to play?  Find old dish rags or felt if you have hard wood floors, or paper plates or frisbees if you have carpet. Now put each foot on a towel (or whatever you just found) and dance the twist. Lunge in every direction (see clock lunge blog on this site), jumping jacks-slow or fast, and cross country ski in place or around the room.  Get down into a push-up position (on knees or toes) and try moving push-ups, moving the towels out and in as you go up and down.  Then, with your toes on the towels, pull your knees up (together or separate) to your elbows, same side or cross underneath. Stay here in a plank and try opening and closing your legs into a straddle while your toes stay on the towel. Flip over and do the same thing with your heels on the towels, holding your body up on your hands. There are so many ways to play and get incredibly strong sliding on the towels, plus if you spray floor cleaner before you do it, you’ll be cleaning, exercising and having family time all at once. Vacuuming together works too, but it’s not quite as fun and your child won’t be nearly as chatty about school.

With a three year old up to an older teen, this game works great. An older teen will find it novel at first, but then spice it up for them by having them close one or both eyes, cater the moves to a sport they play, and/or put on music they like while sliding. For toddlers and younger, you can hold them, put them on the towel and slide them around (works great for the plank and push-up). They can also just watch you slide instead of walk which they find fascinating. Have fun and sing to them at the same time so you know you are breathing properly.


Friday, July 6th, 2012

Oh, yes, it’s here again- walking on your hands with someone holding your feet like you did in fifth grade gym class. Except this time it’s with someone you love, and it’s fun. Get down on the floor, have your teen or tween pick up your feet, and walk as far as your strong abs will let you go. Switch and be amazed at the speed of your child compared to you. With a child too young to pick up  and hold your feet, try it two ways. One, put your feet on the couch, bed, or park bench, and walk side to side as your child crawls underneath, over and around you. Two, put your bent knees on a blanket, let your child “hold” your feet, and drag them both as your child squeals with delight and you wonder how you did it so well when you were ten years old. Be sure to switch position so your child has a turn and you attempt to army crawl underneath them, or do it at the same time, picking up one foot, one hand, etc. for as long as you can. Then do it again. With a toddler and younger, option one works, as does putting them in a real wheelbarrow and pushing them around. Know what’s lovely about wheelbarrows? Every muscle will be working, especially your abs that have a double load from holding you up and laughing.