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April 3, 2020

Keeping Kids Physically Active at Home

During times of stress, it may feel overwhelming to prioritize physical activity. But, maintaining our active routines—even while staying home--can go a long way to support our physical and mental well-being. In fact, physical activity can even help reduce stress!  

Luckily, there are many ways we can move more together at home. Try 5 of our favorite family-friendly activities below to get started! 

 

1. Make Homemade Poly Spots 

Household items such as paper plates or dish/wash cloths can help your family get active. You can use these items to make your own poly spots—colorful discs commonly used in physical education classes to engage kids in active movement. Tape or place your homemade poly spots on a non-slippery surface and try this fun and easy game: 

  1. Place poly spots in a large circle.  
  2. Have one member of your family stand in the middle of the circle (no poly spot) while the rest of the players stand on their own poly spot in the circle. 
  3. The player in the middle states a fact about themselves (e.g. “my favorite color is blue”). 
  4. All players who agree with the statement (i.e., whose favorite color is also blue) must hurry to a different poly spot, including the middle player. 
  5. The last player left without a spot goes to the middle and repeats the round by stating a fact about themselves. 

Variation: Play some lively music and let the person in the middle lead a physical activity while the rest of the family follows along. After 30-45 seconds, the leader chooses someone else to lead the next movement.  

 
2. Turn the Kitchen into a Fitness Studio 

Look no further than your kitchen for some common items that can be used for teen and adult physical activity. For example, canned goods or a gallon jug filled with water or dirt can be used as hand weights. You can hold items with similar weights in each hand while doing lunges, bicep curls, and other active movements. Next, try squats, step-ups, and triceps dips on your kitchen chair! 

 
3. Bolster Your Balance Using Everyday Bed and Bath Items 

In addition to getting your heart, lungs, and muscles moving, it’s important to practice movements that protect the body from injury, such as balance. Explore some at-home yoga using a comfy bath towel or blanket as a yoga mat. You can even practice balancing on a firm pillow – ask a family member to join you for a “mirror challenge,” by copying your motions, such as standing on one leg or holding a squat on the pillow. Then, trade places! 

 
4. Try Your Hand at Grocery Bag Juggling 

Juggling engages both the body and the mind! It provides opportunities to improve balance, increase our muscular endurance, and increase the range of motion in our shoulders, while also requiring a great deal of concentration and coordination. Learning to juggle requires practice, but the catching and tossing pattern can be made easier by using lightweight items, such as plastic grocery bags or scarves. To get started, you’ll need three per person.  

  1. Sit on the floor with two bags. Place one on the ground to your left, and one in your left hand.
  2. Toss the bag in your left hand to the right, and pick up the one on the ground. Practice this a few times until you are comfortable.  
  3. Repeat Step 1 on your right side, until you have the basic mechanics down.  
  4. When you are ready to add the third bag, hold a bag in each hand and place one on your left side.  
  5. Throw the bag in your left hand, pick up the bag on your left, throw the bag in your right hand, pick up the bag on your right. Throw, pick up, throw, pick up, etc. Eventually, you’ll be quick enough to throw and catch them while they hang in the air! 

Variation: Swap bags for beanbags or balls to increase the challenge.   

 
5. Make Screen Time Active 

There are many free video resources that kids and adults can follow to get up and moving. Check out the following lineup of videos for heart-pumping exercises, yoga, and activities that support mindfulness: 

  1. Healthier Generation's Fitness Breaks - these videos feature professional athletes leading easy-to-follow physical activities the whole family can enjoy. 
  2. Healthier Generation's "Fit for a Healthier Generation" Physical Activity Videos - these physical activity videos are led by celebrity fitness experts, including Billy Blanks (Tae Bo) and Tara Stiles (yoga). There are several activities designed specifically for elementary, middle, and high school students.
  3. fitBoost-Activity (grades K-5) - these videos feature combinations of warm-ups, active moves, and cool-downs with a countdown timer included.
  4. 7 Minute Workout App (ages 12+) - this free app offers timed 7-minute workouts (no equipment needed!) 
  5. Yoga4 Classrooms Mindful Activity of the Day Series - use these daily mindful activities to calm or wind down during the day. 

 

How are you and your family staying active at home? Share your best tips and resources with us on Twitter by tagging @HealthierGen.  
 
For more at-home inspiration, visit www.KohlsHealthyatHome.org, powered by Healthier Generation and Kohl’s. 

 

Lisa Perry

Senior National Advisor, Health & Physical Education, Physical Activity, Employee Wellness

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