Archive for June, 2012
Friday, June 29th, 2012
Let go of the need for order in this game, and enjoy the speed and giggles instead. The purpose, no matter the age of the child and adult, is to get all the “snow balls” (rolled up socks or other soft ball) away from your side of the “net”=bed. Put children against adult(s) here, because siblings will be working as a great team against parents/aunt/uncle to defeat them and shovel their side first. Divy up the snowballs evenly on each side of the bed. Set up a timer and go! When the 90 seconds are up, whoever has the least snowballs wins. Divy up the snowballs again, and if the children are older, in this speed round, the balls have to land in a laundry basket on the other side of the bed. If the balls make it into the basket, they count. If not, the player on that side can use them to throw across the bed into another basket on the other side of the bed. When the timer is up, count the number of snowballs in the baskets. With older children, keep varying the game for each speed round. Require everyone to use their non-dominant hand to throw, or everyone (adults included) have to kick the balls over the bed. If children are smaller, and can’t reach over the bed, have a step stool they can use to reach the top of the “net”/bed (or just play on the floor with a masking tape court.) Let them roll the snowballs across, or take the snowballs and built a fort with the child instead. Little (and big) kids will love the quick explosion of the game, so apologies if every time you do laundry, they want to play.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Ahh… the magic of a circle…it never ends! Buy a hula hoop at your local store and start the fun immediately! Alternatively, make a hula hoop out of garden irrigation pipe (100psi 3/4 inch tubing for kids, possibly a heavier one for adults so you can keep it spinning more easily) and duct or electrical tape. (If you look it up online, people have gotten really into it using all different kinds of tape to decorate, etc. Try http://www.jasonunbound.com/hoops.html ) Each child and adult can make their own special sized hoop, and trade after, experimenting with the different weights and diameters of the circle as it moves.
Hula both directions around your hips. Hoop simultaneously with your child or take turns. Don’t get frustrated, you’ll get the rhythm and your child will watch you calmly remember an old trick. Circle the hoop both directions around your arms and legs. Hula with your eyes closed, while singing a song, or dancing. Use it like a jump rope, a spinning top, or a force field while playing tag (anyone hooping can’t be tagged). Throw the circle in the air and catch it, or catch it and try to keep it spinning. Roll it on the ground around your body while standing on one foot with your other leg in any elevated direction, or pass it around your body like a basketball. Lay it on the ground and jump in and out with two legs, one leg, in a circle and sideways. Sit on the ground, make a “V” with your body, and hold the hoop between your feet and hands for as long as you can. Now try it on your sides, noticing you can probably keep it up for longer on one side. Lay all the hoops on the ground and leap from hoop to hoop, or create an fun activity that happens inside the different circles. Make a game with an older child and see who can come up with as many ways to successfully use the hoop as possible. Adults usually lose this game. With a younger child, copy what they do with the hoop, make up a story and act out the adventures of your hoop, prop it up and make a hoop tunnel, or stand hooping simultaneously. Hoop in front of a baby, and they’ll be mesmerized. Bring your hoop to a party and watch what happens to adults and children when they watch others hula. Insist they try it. The fun (and fitness) loops around to everyone.
Friday, June 15th, 2012
Occasionally on this blog, games and Apps that will inspire you towards movement will be featured. Hyper Dash® by Wild Planet is one of those games that is worth writing about. It’s a live action game to see who can score the best times by sprinting and touching the target with the “Hyper Dash” game piece. This piece tells you where to run, keeps score, records the time, and makes the course progressively harder as you improve. You can lay out the targets in any easy or challenging way, indoor at night or inclement weather, or outdoor for intense exercise. When my family played with friends, they had spread out the targets far apart on their front lawn. The dads and kids made a team and sprinted together competing with us (however, the game can also be played alone). Since both father and son play soccer, the acceleration, deceleration, quick change of direction, and quick sprints were excellent conditioning. Babies and toddlers can sit up holding a target while parents and siblings run around them, young kids can play according to color or numbers, and tweens to adults can play a math version, where the unit calls out an equation, and you have to solve it before you figure out which target to press. There are other versions to play as well, such as the memory dash and skipping a target.
Friday, June 8th, 2012
Do you know the game where two people stand facing each other, and one person holds their hands palms up and tries to “slap” the hands of their opponent who’s hands are placed on top of theirs? It’s a fun game at any age and requires two people to have quick reflexes. Instead of standing and playing the game, play it in a plank position (on your hands and toes or knees).With a teenager, plank head to head and/or side to side, each of you holding up opposite hands. The youngest person tries to “slap” the palm of their opponent, all while holding a plank. They switch roles, and then play on the other side, switching roles twice more. In this plank game, the palm is held in any position around the body, not just in front. With a younger child who is able to hold a plank, play the same way, or at least until the child collapses into giggles. Lay a really small toddler or baby underneath you, hold a plank above your baby, and give little high fives or hand kisses-all while still keeping your abs, back, shoulders and gluts engaged.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Walking with kids can be incredibly fun! When they are babies, putting them in a carrier or stroller and walking wherever is easy. If they fuss, just changing the speed of the walk or singing a song to them can be enough to distract. “Oooo…wind in my face! Run Daddy run!” At about 15 months, babies want to get out and walk themselves. Every rock, flower and bug is a world of its own, and walking around the block can be good exercise for the toddler, but insanely slow for the parent. Solution? Sometime let the child walk, but also bring along the stroller and play a game. This game works for kids up to twelve or older, especially if you both take the competition very seriously, and simultaneously have a sense of humor.
The goal is to rack up the most points, and whoever does, wins the game (though with a young child, the winner is the child who just “happens” to see the object first, even while in the stroller). Start by deciding what the “object” is – a fire hydrant, street sign, trail marker, mushroom etc. that you choose on your walk/hike. Walk together and try to spot the object first, counting points as you go. With older children, if it’s safe, let them run ahead, or better, run alongside them and truly compete. You can play until the walk is over, or whoever gets to ten or twenty (or whatever you chose as your winning number) first. The person who had the most counted objects is the winner. Have fun and don’t be surprised if your kids beat you more often!