Running around the yard or playing kickball with friends is the essence of what it means to be a kid. They are gaining aerobic fitness, strength, social skills and much more just by PLAYING!
Getting kids on the right path towards a long healthy lifestyle all starts with basic fundamental movement skills (FMS) that are learned by participating in basically any activity that teaches body awareness, balance and coordination such as catching, kicking, jumping, balancing, throwing, etc. The easiest way to help kids improve these skills is to simply PLAY. A game of tag, Simon says, kickball, or 4-square is a great way to gain basic FMS.
What about the kids that don’t naturally feel motivated or confident to participate in school yard games or afterschool sports? It’s important to build their confidence and skills with similar movements that are simple and fun that can be done at home or with a friend afterschool.
Check out these great beginner moves/games to develop aerobic fitness, strength, balance and coordination.
Pick 4-5 of these moves per day (starting with 1-2 is a great way to begin).
Set small goals by trying to complete 1 set of each move and then progressing to the full recommendations.
1. Skipping: Perform in place or moving. In place skip for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat this 5-10 times (sets). Skipping improves coordination, rhythm, and strength.
2. Single Legged Hops: Perform in place or moving. In place hop for 15 seconds on each leg and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat this 5-10 times. It’s also fun to use a line and hop down the line and back for 30 seconds to add variety of movement. Try hopping backwards for an added challenge!
3. Jumping Jacks: Perform in place for 10 reps and then rest for 30 seconds. Add 5 reps to your number (15,20, 25, 30) and rest for 30 seconds in between each set. Try to reach 30 reps in a row for your last set.
4. Hop Scotch: Use chalk to draw the ladder and number each step of the ladder 1-10. Every time they complete the ladder they get 1 point and their goal is 10! If performing in place: Hop Scotch for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat this 5-10 times.
5. Card Catch: Use a deck of playing cards for this. Throw up one card at a time and see if they can catch it before it hits the ground. This is a great way to interact with kids and encourage them one on one. It’s also fun to play with multiple kids who can cheer each other on. If playing with more than 1 kid, give them each 5 tries and have them alternate turns. Go through the entire deck as many times as desired!
6. Tennis Ball Bounce Pass: Perform with a partner or against a wall. With a partner, bounce the tennis ball between you and your partner so they can catch it. Alternate bounce passes back and forth. To progress, try and catch it with one hand versus two. To set an added challenge, set up goals about 10 feet wide and try to score with a bounce pass through your partners goal.
7. Jump Rope: Perform in place or moving. Jump rope for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Add an extra 10 seconds to your next set (40, 50, 60) and rest for 30 seconds only between each set. Try and get to 60 seconds on your last set.
Remember that the more you move, you more you improve! Now GET READY, GET SET & GET FIT!
Anna Renderer, MS
KFIT Health, LLC