Staying Active Indoors

Posted March 28, 2020

How to get your children moving, when lock-down fatigue sets in

As a family with a fairly standard weekday working pattern, the weekend usually stands apart from our Monday through Friday. We visit family, we explore local attractions, we stomp around in the woods. The reality of staying in all day every day is going to be felt that much more over the weekend.

Here are a few ways we can make the extra indoor time a little more active. Perhaps it will also help the weekend to stand apart a little from the week we’ve just finished.

A mini aerobic workout

We can’t keep up with PE with Joe Wicks every morning in this house; it’s exhausting! We’ve committed to three times a week at the moment, as we really appreciate the community spirit and the adaptations he’s adding for younger children. Our daughter’s enthusiasm for the bunny hops is worth it!

If you’ve been enjoying some of PE with Joe Wicks during the week, your children might appreciate this Alphabet Work-Out over the weekend. Our forenames are all similar lengths. You could go with your surname or agree on a different word altogether if you have more variation between you.

Any Ballerinas in the house?

Our eldest daughter loves this one. We had a bell as part of our Christmas decorations the year before last and we tried it one afternoon, shortly after watching the movie “Ballerina”. She still asks us to set this up at least once a month.

Your ballerinas have to jump as high as they can to see if they can “ring the bell”. Bonus points if you can find an actual bell, but a belt or a piece of ribbon with keys on the end works just as well for this activity. Attach them somewhere high. We’ve played versions where it’s tied to a lampshade, we’ve held it up ourselves for our daughters and this spring, I’ve hooked it over the washing line.

Yoga

I highly recommend both Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga, by Mariam Gates. These are well-loved in our home and worth the investment when you’re able to get a copy, if your family enjoys yoga.

For the time being, she has read-throughs available on YouTube (Good Morning Yoga , Good Night Yoga). It takes less than ten minutes to do and both are gentle enough to be enjoyed across ages and abilities.

Juggling

We do have juggling bean bags, but if you don’t, put the fruit away. It will bruise. Give it a go with a pair of socks rolled into a ball. If you all use your own socks, you’ll have a ball about the right size for your hands.

Juggling is as much about the throw as the catch and it’s great for coordination. Just let go of that third ball and you’re on your way. Being stuck in the house is challenging for everyone, but for children who don’t like to sit down, it’s a big ask. Once they have the basics of juggling down they can practice standing or sitting and it’s a very independent activity.

Juggling might get frustrating for younger children, but there’s plenty they can try with their make-shift indoor balls;

  • Put a target on the floor or wall to aim at
  • Cut a hole in a cardboard box
  • Play a simple game of catch

At two, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed playing ball-girl when one of my juggling balls went rogue.

Set a personal challenge

I’d like to be able to hula-hoop for twenty minutes, and I’m halfway there. My husband has a distance running target. Our eldest daughter has decided to focus on skipping. Our younger daughter isn’t a goal-setter yet, but she joins in with most of our efforts. Our youngest is working on his first steps, exhausting us all in the process walking up and down the kitchen.

Whatever it is that works for the individuals in your house, vocalise the challenge. Choose something you’ve always wanted to try or do; maybe it’s the splits, touching your toes, standing on your head. If it’s an activity you can’t do in the house, find a relevant skill that will make that activity easier when you are able to get involved again. Set a goal and encourage each other.

The small things really do make a difference

I mentioned a few quick fixes to get the sillies out in “What to do with your children at home, when you have a meeting?” These really are great for when your children want to get moving too.

We incorporate movement into lots of different parts of our day. All those little things you do, from tickles to climbing the stairs, do add up. Especially for such little legs! I’ve been known to have our girls tidy up the blocks or Duplo by throwing the items into the basket too - bonus points for tidying up as we go.

If we near the end of the day and I sense that there’s still a lot of energy in the room, I employ one (or all!) of these ideas to get everyone moving before we settle down for the night.