Keeping kids active while they’re stuck at home during the UK lockdown can be a challenge.
Dancing is a fun and invigorating way for kids to exercise, and can help them improve their balance and coordination.
YouTube has a wide range of dance videos available for children, suitable for kids of different ages, to suit a variety of needs and requirements.
From Baby Shark - Kids Dance Version to Zumba Kids, there’s plenty of dance videos for kids to get involved with.
Swap a ball with a balloon
If you want to keep valuable or fragile items in the house safe, but make sure the kids are staying active, then swap a ball for a balloon.
Better.org.uk explains that, “By swapping balls for balloons, children can have a go at keeping the balloon in the air for as long as possible. While safer for indoor play than a ball, we’d suggest securing your lamps and breakables just in case.”
Children can also kick the balloon around and do a variety of other exercises instead of a ball.
Yoga helps kids - and adults alike - increase fitness and flexibility. It’s also great for anxious children who need to relax.
There are a variety of styles of yoga that you can try, with varying levels of difficulty but they all usually involve holding poses, meditation and controlled breathing.
There are a variety of great yoga videos for kids online, such as Cosmic Kids Yoga.
Simple stretching exercises can be a really useful way of keeping children’s bodies moving - and it’s good to stretch before and after doing any other form of exercise too.
How to do it:
Sit with the back straight
Stretch both the legs as wide as comfortable
Hold the right knee with the right hand
Lift the left hand to the top of the head and lean towards the right
While leaning towards the right, stretch the left part of the body as much as you comfortably can
Keep breathing normally
Repeat it on the other side
Overhead shoulder stretch
Straight with the shoulders slightly stretched back, feet shoulder-width apart, and chest forward
Raise the left arm over the head, bending the elbow and placing the hand behind the neck
With the right hand, grasp the left elbow and gently bring it behind the head
Hold this stretch
Relax the body and then repeat with the other arm.
Stretch arms and legs out to the side like a starfish while jumping. Return arms to sides and legs to centre on landing
Lift one knee and jump on your standing leg. Alternate between legs - this is a great way to test your balance too
Obstacle courses can be a great exercise alternative for kids. If there’s space in the living room, bedroom or garden and it’s safe to do so, use cushions, tables and chairs to turn your chosen space into an obstacle course.
Children can incorporate movements like jumping, climbing, somersaulting and crawling from one obstacle to the next, alongside setting challenges including star jumps, balancing acts or throwing soft objects like a teddy bear into a basket at each obstacle.
How to keep children motivated to exercise at home
KidsHealth explains that there's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, but to encourage kids to do it, there’s three things you need to do, which are:
-Choosing the right activities for a child's age. If you don't, your child may get bored or frustrated
-Give your child plenty of opportunity to be active.
-Keeping the focus on fun. Kids won't do something that they don't enjoy.
Lee Chambers, founder of Essentialise Life Coaching, explains that getting creative and breaking up a dull day with kids is a great tip for everyone involved and getting them motivated for fitness.
He said: “Too busy homeschooling? No, you're not, you’re now a PE teacher, time to show your children that you are an exemplar and doing PE too. Have steps? You can climb a mountain. Have a back yard? You can run a 10K. Have a handbag? Perfect replacement for a kettlebell!”
Mr Chambers also explains that while in lockdown those exercising and trying to keep motivated should “Try something new but do something you enjoy. It's a challenging time in isolation, and it’s the perfect time to try new things, to find a way of keeping fit that resonates with you.”
“Research proves that if you enjoy your exercise and movement, it is much easier to stay consistent and get the long-term benefits. With fitness, the outcome isn't as important as the process of gradually getting that little bit better every day.”