Archive for the ‘Indoors’ Category
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Say goodbye to the desk and school chair. Thankfully!
Hamster Wheel Desks
And for those easily intimidated, a standing desk.
Life is too short to sit and watch it go by.
Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Some international twists to make games new again:
-Play a tag game from Pakistan called Oonch Neech. The child who is “it” decides to be oonch (“up”) or beech (“down”). Neech means the carpet or ground is safe and runners can only be tagged when conch (“up”) on a couch, pillow, rock, tree or other obstacle off the ground. Or play the reverse.
-Eskimo Baseball is like our baseball, but instead of running the bases, run back and forth between the pitcher and home base to get a point. If you are in the right weather, play with a snow ball instead of softball. This game seems like an alternative to cricket.
-Play Rock, Paper, Scissors the way kids in Sumatra do. The pinky finger is the ant (semut), the pointer finger is a person (orang), and the thumb out is an elephant (gajah). The elephant beats the person, the person beats the ant, and the ant crawls into the elephants ear and wins. For variation and dynamic movement, use your whole body instead of fingers.
-In Denmark, Tiger and Sheep is played on all fours. One tiger has to pull all the sheep down until their torsos touch the floor. The goal is to be the last sheep alive. I think my children play this everyday without having a name for it! The family fitness change is that I play too!
Want more? Check out the International Games database.org The games have a little flag in the corner so you can see what part of the world the game is played in, how many players, the age of the players, if it’s played indoors or outdoors, if materials are needed, and even notes for teachers. Excellent!
Friday, August 22nd, 2014
As a school teacher, I’m always looking for ways to fully engage students in their lessons. This summer, while teaching summer school, I taught my students how exercise helps their brains. As a reward for doing great on a lesson, the children would get to run a lap around the playground. For brain breaks, we would do push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. in the classroom. It was the first time in my life I had to tell people, “No, I know you want to do more push-ups, but let’s sit down now and study more phonics.” The fitness trainer in me was extremely conflicted!
Last week, I took a fabulous workshop about how a story can be read, told or acted out – the latter being the most memorable for children. I concur completely. Children will remember a historical figure better if they acted out the person’s life, rather than just read a book or were told a story about the person. They will also remember a foreign language better with physical movements.
Physical and theatrical learning work! For the last six years, there have been a group of scientists and athletes who explain their Ph.D. research in dance. It’s called Dance Your Ph.D. There is prize money for five categories: physics, chemistry, biology, social sciences, and the best dance of the year. Think about this: math and science artistically explained through dance.
Check out a fabulous explanation here: Dance versus Powerpoint. This talk drives home the point that very complex ideas and lessons can be broken down and simply communicated through physical expression, not just pen and paper. This very funny one is the 2014 winner of the year. Scroll down to the middle of the page to watch the sperm competition.
What else could we learn, teach and communicate if we did it through dance? Think about turf wars in break dancing, passion in tango, and excitement in Lindy Hop. Emotions, new information and self expression, all through dance. Try it with your children and see…
Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
-Bouncing your kids up and down using your hands, arms, feet, knees and legs. Do this while standing, sitting, laying down, etc. Don’t just do it for 30 seconds. This is exercise for you and fun for your kiddo. Make it last!
-Do the above bouncing, and invent a story to go with it, like “Pizza Man”. The videographer is 5 years old.
-Let your kids “clean” with their feet or upside down with their hands as you drag them around like in this video. I’m not sure if the parent or child is getting the best exercise here, but both are having fun!
–“Skate” with towels under your feet. Give your kids towels and spray and let them help clean the floor/exercise with you.
-Put a laundry basket on a blanket, have your child climb in, and push and pull them around the house. I am surprised every time how high my heart rate goes the first minute. It’s the same with pulling them on a blanket at the beach or on a sled in the snow. Super high intensity interval training!
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
The runner PattiSue Plumer said “Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.”
Like brushing our teeth, we play with our children daily too. Combine kid time with exercise time! Try peek-a-boo walking planks! Do the planks super slow, super fast, and side-ways. Really. Always side-ways too!
Exaggerate the arms and legs while pulling your navel up. Have speed and/or distance races. Throw in push-ups in the middle for more challenge/strength. If you want to make it even more fun, try wheelbarrows.
Monday, June 2nd, 2014
The most common reason people give for not exercising is lack of time. As a parent of two children who works inside and outside the home, I understand.
Some of the people I admire most are athletes who have to go above and beyond to exercise. Yes, they have to prioritize their time, but they also have to put on a prosthetic, change wheelchairs, and demonstrate amazing drive to bring fitness into their lives.
One organization I really admire is the Challenged Athletes Foundation. For 20 years, they have helped people of all ages, wounded soldiers and “individuals with physical challenges who desire a balanced life of work, family, friends and fitness.” They partner athletes with a mentor who has similar challenges, so confidence and skill is passed on. They are an outstanding organization that truly partners fitness with family and friends and changes lives. If you want a goal this summer, train for one of CAF’s many fundraising events.
Next time you are wondering if you have time to work out, feel like it’s too hot/cold, are tired, or fill-in-the-excuse here, think about the challenged athletes who go for it. Whether they compete in Ironmans (notice the range of ages in the pictures) dance, go for a bike ride, snowboard (watch this one!) or compete in the Paralympic Games (there are 28 competitive sports from rowing to wheelchair fencing!), be inspired, be moved — figuratively and literally.
If you want more inspiration, some other great organizations for adaptive athletes are Adaptive Action Sports, Extremity Games, and Disabled Sports USA, and Athletes with disAbilities Network.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
A lot of these games parents will do once or twice and call it quits. I say continue on, let your shoulders fatigue holding your child above your head, let your legs shake from exhaustion of letting your kids “fly”, allow your heart rate to soar playing together while getting exercise at the very same time. It’s crazy fun and super effective.
Some more parent playground games:
-“Wrestle” in whatever way that you (or they) create. I hold my son between my legs and he has to get out. I’m not allowed to use my hands, so I just squeeze him with my legs. I’m continually amazed at the variations of wrestling and all the rules and regulations that he comes up with. Here is one adult variation.
-Rest your mini one on your shins while you lie on your back. If they are facing you, you take their hands. Count “1,2,3” and quickly fling them over your head in a flip onto their feet. Watch this video so it makes better sense:
-Repeat above but have them face away from you. Or, if they are too young, just play “kissing crunches” and give them kisses each time you bring your knees close to your face.
-Hand-slap plank games like I described here. So much fun!
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Currently, my kids are 5 and almost 7. They want to be picked up, carried, flung and thrown as much as ever. When I sit them on top of my feet and “airplane” them like I did when they were just one-year old, they’d happily play until I couldn’t extend my legs anymore. I once played for 75 minutes —back and forth between them. I considered it my lower body workout for the day. When we finally stopped and I said I was going to make dinner, they begged me for more! I couldn’t believe it!
There is no end to the Parent Play Ground! Truly, no limits but your imagination and the stamina of everyone involved.
Here are some games to start the fun:
-Be the limbo stick. Let your child quickly crawl underneath you while you lower or rise up out of a push-up. It’s pretty hilarious to “squash” them.
-Play “parent push-over.” Sit on the floor, engage your abs and lean back a little bit. Have your kids try to push you backwards while you resist. When they “win”, roll backwards and then roll up and start again. Think of “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”.
-Try wheelbarrows together.
-Be a bridge, in a plank on your back (hips lifted) and let the kids crawl under you and on top. Give them a ride as you raise and lower your hips, or do push-ups.
-Play “catch” and let them run toward you and leap into your arms. Feel free to swing them above your head or around in circles. I catch my kids mid torso rather than by their hands so I don’t hurt our wrists, elbows, shoulders and backs.
-Play “I’m gonna get you” and then pick them up and kiss or tickle them. I can’t tell you how popular this is.
Stay tuned over the next few months for many games to play. I broke them into multiple posts so they’d be easier to digest, try and internalize. Be mindful of your back, wrists and neck while playing. It’s easy to get distracted playing with your kiddo and forget form. Oh, and don’t really squash your kid! Unless their tweens and up. Then it counts as wrestling (coming in parent playground #2).
Friday, September 6th, 2013
I’m tired. I don’t know if I know anyone who isn’t. Maybe it’s the news; maybe it’s the endless dishes; or laundry that grows like a amorphous blob, but I’m tired. September is National Yoga Month. Seems like a good time for some restoration, relaxation, and Child’s Pose among the back-to-school chaos.
I like yoga. I’m not a crazy-over-the-top fanatic like some Yogi’s I know, but I respect it as an ancient practice that brings incredible mind-body awareness, inner and outer strength and peace, and a discipline that improves over time.
I don’t want one more thing to do. I do want high quality time with my family that doesn’t involve technology, that does involve health and fitness, and is interesting and challenging for us all.
Recently, I borrowed some yoga books from the library. I was already doing some basic poses with my children but, since they are four and six, the visual books was helpful. Plus the provocation was coming from the book rather than Mom.
Going to the library can feel like one more thing though, and the point is simple. Easy. Soothing and refreshing. There are tons of websites that detail yoga poses, but to start, pick one or two. Make it your pose. Have your kids find their favorite. Kids usually love downward dog. My children love tree pose, but pretend there is fruit on the tree. They like to do their own variations. There are books for young toddlers, and books for teens. I like The Girls Yoga Book by Michaela Caldwell by for Tween Girls.
Do it after school when you haven’t quite moved into an activity. Try it while the toast is browning for snack. Try it daily or whenever the mood strikes. Just, well, as the saying goes, just do it.
Imagine if the whole world was taught from a young age a go-to exercise we did for calming and comfort, for settling our mind and strengthening our bodies. Imagine if that same exercise was our go-to quick exercise for our whole life. Perhaps the news wouldn’t be as depressing. Perhaps resolution would be found in other ways. Many people have seen this video of the man who can’t walk without the help of crutches, who practices yoga, and then… watch it here if you haven’t seen it. Start practicing yoga. Like all exercise, it’s a great use of time.
Friday, August 30th, 2013
I can’t help it — the back of my mind is always thinking of new ways to inspire people and families to exercise. I also have a quiet love affair with TED talks, and watched one recently about how if the five senses are incorporated into product design, the product is much more effective. (This talk is meant for adults.) See it here.
It started me thinking about how exercise can incorporate the five senses, and can easily be a top experience of our day or week. Think about a fall hike in the woods after a light rain. How does it effect our five senses? A scenic hike is incredibly fulfilling visually. After a rain, the wet earth smells fantastic, the crunchy leaves beneath feet are full of sound, the feel of the your body exercising and sweating goes from our head to our feet, and the cold water and snack mid-hike taste refreshing. All five senses stimulated in a simple, free mountain hike. How about a bike ride/skate board to a local coffee shop?
Even an aerobics class can stimulate our fives senses to different degrees. Our hearing, vision and touch senses are all high. Smell, well, hopefully that’s the sense least stimulated, unless the drink you are hydrating with has a good smell. Taste? That water bottle hits the spot. When I taught spin class last week, I brought them all chocolate. All five senses activated and great fun.
While not every sport can rouse all five senses perfectly, the more senses involved, the more pleasurable the experience. And all this doesn’t even take into account the incredible bonding time with your friends and family, the conversations, the feeling of playing on a team, the endorphins from movement, and the thrill of a new sport or winning a game!