As we face continued distancing guidelines, here are some creative ways to keep your family active this summer.
Spring break started, and for many, never ended. COVID-19 lockdowns ushered us into summer, and most schools delayed reopening until the fall. While it might sound like a dream come true for a child, the reality isn’t so glamorous.
We aren’t vacationing. We aren’t hitting up the water parks. Heck, we aren’t even venturing out to the library or local playground. With the risk of coronavirus looming overhead, the majority of us are spending as much time as possible at home.
Spending days on end at home was a novel idea — at first. We got to tackle long put-off projects, bake with the kids, take leisurely walks around the neighborhood, and really enjoy slowing down.
Now, days are running together, we’ve watched everything on Netflix AND Disney+, and our kids are literally climbing the walls.
How can families continue to practice safe physical distancing, also known as social distancing, while maintaining an active lifestyle? Here are six activities parents and kids can do together to keep fit while having fun at home this summer
Do some spring (ahem, summer) cleaning
Yes, you probably already completed a mile-long list of projects your first 2 weeks at home. But surely you’ve got many more still waiting.
It’s time to turn up the music, hand your kids a broom, and get to cleaning. Get everyone involved — toddlers to teens! Delegate age-appropriate chores and make it fun.
Reward everyone for a job well done with pizza and a movie at the end of a long week. This is a great way to keep the whole family productive and moving while remaining safe at home.
Take P.E. — the modern way
Just because school’s out doesn’t mean physical education needs to be. Thankfully with modern technology, you’ve got so many options for keeping your kids fit while having fun — and more often than not, for FREE!
YouTube is a gold mine here. There are so many amazing channels that offer exercise videos, dance tutorials, wiggle breaks, and more.
A few YouTube channels we love:
- GoNoodle | Get Moving. Yes, folks, the tagline here really is “get moving”. GoNoodle offers short dance and movement videos that are hilarious and engaging and sure to draw your little ones in.
- Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop is a household name for many. Now, they’re YouTube famous! They not only have videos of popular songs remade by kids, but they also have dance-along videos too.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga works on flexibility and strength while keeping them engaged with stretching exercises set to exciting stories kids recognize and love.
- P.E. with Joe. This channel (The Body Coach TV) has a variety of videos, but we really love the P.E. with Joe series. They are fun, funny, and will keep the whole family fit!
- PopSugar Fitness. PopSugar Fitness is not specifically for kids, but is a high-quality channel with a variety of great content to get mom, dad, and kids moving together.
Be sure to use the YouTube search bar for things like “family-friendly fitness,” “kids workout videos,” or “beginner yoga” and you’ll find more than you know what to do with. YouTube is truly a treasure trove of free exercise options for those of ALL ages.
Build an indoor obstacle course
If your kids love “American Ninja Warrior,” you know all about obstacle courses. It’s time to build your own at home.
Set up the kitchen chairs, couch cushions, pillows, blankets, and anything else you might have on hand and make your course as intricate and challenging as you’d like. Then, turn your kids loose and watch them go. Even better, take a turn yourself!
The best part about this is, you can do it every week and create a new course each time.
Want to do it up right? Make it a theme day.
- Spend the morning plotting out and setting up your course. Let your budding designers draw it out on paper (and color it too!).
- Then, once it’s all set up, get dressed in your best ninja warrior wear. Dress for success!
- Once everyone is in costume, set the timer and get going. Take turns going through the course and see who ends up with the fastest time.
- After you get it all cleaned up, let your kids participate in preparing a warrior-worthy meal. A fresh veggie tray, cubed cheese, deli meat, and crackers is simple, well-balanced, and quick to put together.
- Lastly, cap off the night with an “American Ninja Warrior” marathon on TV. That screen time will be well deserved and enjoyed by all.
Creating an indoor obstacle course is a creative way to keep the family active in both body and mind while having a great time together.
Start a garden
Is starting a garden on your list of “someday” projects? Make that day today!
Yes, this will likely require a quick run to the store for some basic supplies, but otherwise is an activity that can be kept up with at home. Plus, you’ll reap the rewards long after the COVID-19 quarantine is over.
Gardening is a good choice for kids because it allows them to enjoy fresh air, take in some sunshine, and get their hands dirty. These things are great for boosting their immune system, building motor skills, and providing necessary sensory input.
It also teaches kids about where their food comes from and is a nifty way to incorporate hands-on science lessons since we’re all schooling at home right now.
Gardening is a practical way to keep your body active, your mind engaged, and grow something that will provide your family with food, fun, and sun for many years to come.
Get fit with games
While spending time at home, screen time is likely happening more than you’d care to admit. There’s nothing wrong with that. Seriously, no judgment here — we do what we need to do to survive right now.
But, if you’re looking for a way to break up the day, board games are it! You can start a new family tradition (game nights for the win!) or you can use games that encourage physical activity to help your kids expend pent-up energy.
Some of our favorite classic games to get the body moving are Twister, hopscotch, Simon says, tag, and charades.
The majority of these games are inexpensive or you can play with items you already have on hand at home. The rules for each can be easily found online, and they can be played by kids (and adults!) of all ages.
Games are a wonderful way to build family togetherness, sans screens.
Take a nature walk
You’re probably thinking, “Ugh, a nature walk? That sounds difficult.” Don’t worry, it’s not!
A nature walk can be as easy as wandering through the backyard with a zipper seal bag collecting “specimens” (e.g. twigs, leaves, and rocks) and listening to your toddler make observations about what they’re seeing. “The sky is blue? Why yes it is!” “You think that tree is really big? I agree with you!” “The grass feels scratchy on your bare feet? Why do you think that is?”
For bigger kids, you can walk around the block or head to an open green space in your city. Take along some sketching supplies and maybe a field guide, stand back and watch them work.
If you want a bit more guidance, you can find free printables galore all over the internet: scavenger hunts, coloring pages, writing prompts, drawing tutorials, and more.
This can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. It can be tailored to fit any age — even big kids and adults can enjoy time spent outside appreciating the beauty of nature around them!
Now, more than ever, time spent outside is crucial to one’s mental and physical health. Physical distancing is hard, and we need to find ways to keep active and maintain a semblance of normalcy for ourselves and for our kids.
It’s important to keep yourself and your family active while staying safe at home during the COVID-19 quarantine period. This can be done in a myriad of ways, but we’ve covered a few suggestions to get you going.
As states begin to reopen, be sure to maintain physical distancing guidelines set forth by local, state, and national authorities. Your options for physical activity will widen as restrictions begin to lift, but keep safety and health in mind above all else — yours and your surrounding community.