I was browsing through the newest Family Fun magazine and I have to say I was quite impressed with the items they had that encouraged kids and families to be active. Not only that, several of them also encouraged learning as well. I thought I would share some of the activities in case you would like to try them, and I would love to hear any variations of these activities that you have tried!
1. The first one (on page 36 of the November 2012 issue) is simple, it involves using a therapy ball for fitness. They recommend a 45 cm ball but you want to make sure it is the right size so that if your child is sitting on it their hips and knees are bent to approximately 90 degrees. The fuller the ball is the harder it is to balance. They then go on to show exercises that work on core and leg strength. They give them great names such as ‘On top of the world’, ‘Do you know squat’, and ‘Hand walking the plank’. On top of the world has your child sit on the ball and lift one leg a few inches off the floor for 10 seconds while holding their balance and then switch. This will work on your child’s balance and core strength. Do you know squat has them do a squat while holding the ball against a wall with their back. Have them try to hold the squat for as long as they can. This will work on their core and leg strength. The last one, Hand walking the plank has them lie on their stomach on the ball and walk their hands out as far as they can in front of them while maintaining their balance on the ball and then walk them back in. This will also strengthen the core and their arms. What other ball exercises do your kids do? I know I sit on the ball while I watch tv so at least I am doing something healthy while my brain takes a vacation!
2. In the spirit of Thanksgiving they introduced the idea of 21 Turkeys on page 33. This game has people line up across from each other and throw a football back and forth (you can use little footballs or other balls for smaller kids). If they can throw it right to their chest so its an easy catch they get 2 points. If they have to reach for it or move to catch it, they get 2 point and if they miss its 0 points. This will also allow the kids to work on adding and counting as well as throwing and catching.
3. On page 40 they describe calculator hopscotch. I love this idea. Set up a calculator with sidewalk chalk (see photo) and you can play a few different ways. You can have one person pick out a math problem by hopping from square to square and the other person jump on the answer (depending on your kiddo’s math ability you may want to just practice hopping on a number or recognizing how many of something there are and then jumping on the number). You can also toss a stone onto a number and then in one minute come up with as many equations as you can that equal that number. Or you can do the last one as a group activity and see how many equations you can find before moving on to the next answer.
4. A great relay race on page 55 has you divide into teams and each team gets a bag of plain popcorn. The first runner puts a cup attached to a rubber band around their shoe so the cup sits on top of their shoe. Fill them with popcorn and then cross to the opposite side of the room/yard and empty the cup into the box. Go back and pass the cup to the next team mate. Continue this until the bag of popcorn is gone!
Has anyone played these games or do you have any other variations?