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As our children head back to school, no matter where they are learning, we discover another important element in our daily lives which is possibly missing or extremely diminished:  organized sports and recreational activities. Whatever sports or recreation may look like for your child, staying active is essential for their overall physical and mental well-being.

So what can we do to fill the void of structured sports? What can we do to keep our children active and engaged? Kids want – no, they need to be active after a long day of being in the classroom, especially if that classroom is at your kitchen table. With a little ingenuity, we can assist in making this happen.

Some sports are easier to simulate at home than others. For instance, you may only need a ball (soccer, basketball, football, baseball…) and someone to play catch with for some sports. It is easy to step outside and blow off some steam after a day of online learning. For younger children, they can simply hop, skip and jump down the driveway or ride their bike or scooter around the block. Keep them moving in between classes if necessary with a jumping jack break out the back door.

No one around to play catch or pass the ball too? Try running. It is a singular sport that needs no companion, although running with a sibling can be fun. A simple jog to the mailbox and back is great for beginners but by the end of the first semester, take that jog through the neighborhood. Build up stamina over time, and run like the wind!

Here are some easy and quick ideas broken down for your student to have fun and get moving no matter the level of interest or athletic ability. 

Ideas for outside:
  • Soccer: 
    • Create a “goal” between two markers and practice “shooting”
    • Dribble a ball between two barriers
    • Social distance by kicking a ball back and forth with a friend or family member
  • Jump Rope
    • Count how many times you can jump in a row
    • Count how many times you can jump in one minute (build up the amount of time)
    • Count how many times you can jump on on foot
  • Basketball
    • Count how many times can you dribble the ball in a row
    • Dribble between two designated points
    • Social distance by playing H-O-R-S-E with a friend or family member
  • Ride a Bike or Scooter
  • Tennis 
    • Count how many times you can bounce the ball in the air with the racquet
    • Count how many times you can bounce the ball on the ground with the racquet
  • Obstacle Course – Create a course in the backyard and try to improve their time 
  • HopScotch – Create a colorful hopscotch board on the driveway
Ideas for inside: (keep count and keep improving!)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sit-ups
  • Run up and down the steps
  • Fold laundry/clean (LOL  – see if you can sneak it in) 
  • Put rags on  their feet and “skate” across the floor
  • Create movement with yoga or stretching  

If your children are missing interacting with friends during their physical activity, have them Zoom or FaceTime a friend so they can practice their skills together while working toward the same goal whether it is improving soccer moves or how many sit-ups they can complete on a rainy day.

There are no limits to what we can do to promote physical and mental wellness for our children while they continue to learn from home. Whether they are looking to build their skills while missing regular practice or simply keeping their minds sharp, resources are available for the athlete and non-athlete alike. At-home fitness is important to keep kids physically and mentally alert.  

Remember to simply keep your kids moving and soon it might become part of their routine.

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