Raising active, able kids

Raising active, able kids
Sara Smeaton

By: Sara Smeaton

Active for Life

Your days are packed solid. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), it's impossible to even consider adding anything to the schedule.

But helping your kids learn to move doesn't have to be a chore. You don't have to schedule it. You don't have to add anything to your family's already hectic day.

At Active for Life we're all busy parents just like you. We know how difficult it can be to find time. So we asked each other to share some fun ways that we practice fundamental movement skills with our kids at home, just by tweaking the things children do every day anyway.

There's no need to announce that it's time to work on skills. By making it fun for kids, they won't even realize that they are practicing movement skills. They'll just enjoy the activities.
The added bonus is you might end up getting some more help around the house!

1. Hop to it. After breakfast, hop or skip to the bathroom to brush their teeth. If one-foot hopping, don't forget to switch legs.

2. Catch a snack. Instead of putting snacks directly into their backpacks, throw them instead! This works well with oranges, apples, and boxes of raisins.

3. Sock toss. While the kids put away their laundry, have them toss a rolled up sock into the air in front of them and then catch it with their non-dominant hand. When this becomes easy, get them to do it while moving around.

4. Step on the crack. During the morning walk to school, develop balance by walking along cracks in the sidewalk as if they were a tightrope.

5. Be a stork. At the grocery store (or anywhere else you're waiting in line), balance on one foot. Don't forget to change feet!

6. Kick it. On the way home from school, kick a rock along the sidewalk. The purpose is to keep the same rock in play and not to kick it too hard or too far.

7. Stair jump. If your kids are old enough to do this safely, have them try walking backwards down the stairs or jumping up the stairs with both feet.

8. Do the can-can. While the kids are helping put away groceries, challenge them to balance cans on the palms of their hands.

9. Backwards brush. Before bed kids can brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand (but make sure they go back over them with their dominant hand to avoid an angry dentist).

10. Laundry shoot. Throw dirty clothes into the laundry basket by shooting them in from a couple of feet away. As their accuracy improves, increase the distance.

Even choosing just one of these a day will help your kids develop skills like balance, throwing, catching, jumping, and kicking.

Want more ideas like these? Please leave us a comment below and tell us what is - and isn't - working for you.

Active for Life is the place where parents go for their kids' health and success. We believe that teaching kids to run, jump and throw is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Make a difference in the happiness and confidence of your children by ensuring they are physically literate. Find activities, expert advice and inspirational tips at Active for Life.

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