Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ways to Keep Your Family Fit Indoors

When the summer heat keeps your family indoors, parents need to be creative in finding ways to keep kids active. Try these strategies to get your family moving all year-round.

Designate an indoor action spot. If you have room, set aside a portion of a room for active play. Put up an indoor basketball hoop, make a hopscotch outline to the floor, or make a track for ride-on toys.

Have family members act out animals (no sounds) and play a guessing game to see who can guess the animal first. Other subjects to act out include people working in jobs or professions, favorite singers, sports activities/athletes (such as down-hill skiing), machines, and things found in nature such as a flower growing and blooming or a waterfall.

Create an indoor obstacle course that includes crawling under, stepping over, bending, jumping, twisting, etc.

Move every day. Dancing, housework and climbing stairs all help you stay fit and don’t require extra room or gear.

Pump up dramatic play with themes props. Inspire energetic play and imaginations with extras like medals and trophies for sports games or music and costumes for dancing. Encourage your child to act out his story books or give a concert of her favorite songs.

Start young. The National Associate for Sport and Physical Education advises parents to get kids moving early in life, to foster healthy development and keep sedentary habits from taking hold. Even your toddler needs at least 30 minute of structured physical activity every day and should not sit still (for example, watching television) for more than an hour at a time.

Provide safe indoor gear. Encourage active play with balls for throwing and rolling (soft, lightweight ones are safe for indoors – try beanbags, foam balls, or beach balls) and scarves for dancing. Playing with these also supports hand-eye coordination.

Find community resources to stay active. Try bowling, ice skating, paint ball, swimming, or other indoor options.

Be a cheerleader. In one study of 200 students in grades 2 through 11, kids said they wanted their parents to help them stay active. So whether you join in the games or shout words of support from the sidelines, show your child that activity is a priority every day.

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