Alternative Movement for Kids: Exercising at Home

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in yoga with Jenna Bush during a "Let's Move!" event in Miami, Fla., Feb. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Children are bundles of energy and there is a reason recess or break time (depending on where you’re from) was invented. Children enjoy exercising and expending their energy, though sometimes outdoor space is not at a premium. Exercise at home is becoming increasingly popular with workouts being readily available. Famous stars like Joe Wicks are incorporating exercise for kids in living room settings and are freely accessible on youtube. Home workouts can have a variety of movement for kids helping them with their sensory and motor skills. Some can even instil a sense of teamwork. Exercise for kids doesn’t have to be running around the garden – the variety of exercise at home will even have the adults joining in! 

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Kids participating in an alternative form of movement.

 

Back to School: P.E. with Joe Wicks 

Joe Wicks, also known as the Body Coach, has begun an increasingly popular program of home workouts specifically aimed at children. After running a series of school visits where he ran a program encouraging exercise for children, Wicks turned his attention to his youtube channel, Body Coach TV, where he has an impressive 2.17 million followers. Every Monday to Friday, he runs P.E. with Joe giving fun, challenging exercises for kids to move to. 

The Body Coach has been a successful weight loss and fitness plan for adults for several years, with Joe Wick’s humble beginnings starting with his boot camps and an Instagram page where he cooked healthy and nutritious meals. Now, a household name, Wick believes his purpose is to get kids active and moving again. Citing the benefits of exercise, he is certain that exercise makes us happier, more energised, and allows kids to focus better in class. 

At only thirty minutes, the workouts require no equipment other than a television, laptop, or tablet to watch from. While it is a live event, you can easily go onto his channel to watch it at a later time or date. Growing in success, P.E. with Joe now as participants from across the globe. Adults are invited to join in but, beware, it’s tough! 

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Joe Wicks is doing a PE series promoting alternative movement.

 

Stretching Your Body: Cosmic Kids Yoga

Yoga has an enormous amount of proven benefits from mental resilience to physically stretching your body. Though it is associated mostly with adults, a company called Cosmic Kids Yoga is providing alternative movement for kids

Using stretching to expend energy, Cosmic Kids yoga incorporates storytelling into their movements, providing colourful and exciting backgrounds to allow the children to feel like they’re moving through the story as well. They also have a mindfulness section to help children relax and engage with themselves. 

Now with their app and youtube site, you can choose what sort of work out you want for your child, be it less than fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes exactly, or longer than fifteen minutes. You can organise how you want the exercises to make your kids feel as well, with their videos categorised by active, focus, or calm. 

Cosmic Kids Yoga is a full platform of movement for kids. While it seems daunting, they provide resources for parents, guardians, and teachers to make the best out of their classes. They also have a helpful blog which is filled with fresh ideas and advice to help with exercise at home. Stretch with your child today!

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Kids learning tree pose, a yoga stance. (Source: Amanda Hirsch)

 

GoNoodle: A Dancing Home Workout

Dance is often described as ‘the hidden language of the soul’ and it is a fantastic and alternative movement for kids. One successful website that has incorporated dance into their exercising is GoNoodle. A website that encourages ‘active screen time’, GoNoodle uses dance to get kids moving and exercising, using fun characters and games to dance along to.

Functioning off a paid-for app, GoNoodle also has a free online resource for teachers, parents, and guardians to utilise for their children to encourage them to move. Known as GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home, the program is filled with free movement, yoga, and even includes some mindfulness videos. For those who might have issues with their internet connections, it also provides downloadable curricular activities and off-screen home activities. 

With an array of characters and engaging content, GoNoodle is a fantastic resource for those wanting to instil exercise for kids at home. Their material caters to a wide range of ages, so there is something for everyone on their site. 

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Children dancing to a catchy song. (Source: Justin Veazie)

 

Building Motor Skills: Sensory Circuits 

Sensory-motor skills are essentially the ability for our bodies to coordinate the muscles of the body together and how we interact with the environment around us using these skills. Naturally, this is essential for children as they become aware of their bodies and the incredible things they can do. 

Sensory circuits provide an opportunity to work motor skills but to also engage with the sensory processing that happens in the brain. So, how our body catches a ball or jumps up and down. The circuits can be made from a variety of equipment and it provides a nice alternative movement for kids. 

An example circuit could include a mini trampoline, a skipping rope, a bench, a tunnel, bean bags, balls, cones, and hoops.  Trampolines allow for children to learn how to jump in a variety of ways, some which become a little more complicated or require a different skill set. On the trampoline, you can engage the mind as well, perhaps encouraging the child to do times tables or catch a ball as they jump. 

Skipping ropes are great equipment because they teach coordination and sequencing, which becomes more difficult the faster that you skip. Benches can be used to walk along to highlight balance while tunnels facilitate a change in their sensory experience as their weight is transferred onto their shoulders rather than their legs. 

 Bean bags, balls, cones, and hoops are options of equipment that can be turned into an array of games for children to engage in, teaching hand-eye coordination and motor planning. Sensory circuits can be built very easily with materials around the house and provide an alternative method of exercise for kids. 

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Children participating in a sensory circuit. (Source: Jarad A. Denton)

Exercise for Kids: Tag-Rugby 

Team building is an important part of life and learning to engage with people is something that happens daily in sport. If you have a garden or are near a space that you can run in, tag-rugby is an incredible alternative team sport. It is a fun, fast-moving game that is incredibly safe for children to get involved in. 

Even if you don’t have a rugby ball, tag rugby can be played with a variety of objects. Split into teams and have goal areas at either end of the garden or space you are playing in. The usual rules of rugby which include kicking, tackling, scrums, and contact is not allowed in tag-rugby, so one can play without fear of injuring. 

The game aims to get the ball or object to the opposite end of the garden or field that you are in. You run from one end to the other and can pass to your teammates. If a defender catches you or ‘tags’ you, then you have three seconds to pass the ball to continue the game. 

A wonderful way of keeping fit and encouraging children to exercise, tag-rugby is a sport that is enjoyed by all ages and provides an alternative option of movement. 

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Children playing tag rugby. An alternative form of exercise. (Source: Doug Butchy)

Alternative Movement for Kids: Variety of Sports

Today, there are plenty of technologies that make exercising at home accessible to the masses. With apps and platforms providing healthy screen time, to team sports in the garden and homemade workouts through circuits, encouraging the movement for kids has never been easier.

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