The days of running around neighborhoods freely and walking to school seem to be a thing of the past. Instead, children sit in front of a television or computer screen for hours a day. When the weather outside is bad, the television hours increase even more. Because of this, children lead more sedentary lifestyles than ever. Parents must make an effort to provide daily physical activity opportunities for their young children. Here are five fun indoor fitness activity ideas for young children using basic items from around the house. Remember, have fun and be safe!
1. Paper Towel Path: Place 10 paper towel squares in a line on a carpeted floor. The child can practice jumping from square to square. Separate the squares further. Jump again from square to square. Continue separating the squares to encourage the child to jump further distances. Try playing the game hopping on one foot.
2. Paper Cup Conditioning : Gather at least 12 small paper cups. On a carpeted surface, place 4 paper cups next to each other upside down. Several feet away, place 4 more paper cups in a line. Repeat. You have set up a small hurdle course. The child can practice jumping over the paper cups. Place the paper cups in a line with each cup about 2 feet apart. Try weaving in and out of the cups. Stack the cups in a pyramid shape and throw a soft ball at them. Use the cups as bowling pins. When done, try smashing all of the cups with your feet or hands.
3. Time It: Using a stop watch or kitchen timer, time how long it takes your child to complete various tasks. For example, ask your child to walk upstairs to your bedroom, come back down touch the couch and skip back into the kitchen. Go for the best time over three trials. Try different movements such as hopping, jumping, crab walk and crawling.
4. Dance Party: Crank up the music and dance. Here are some variations on just dancing: play freeze dance, invent a new dance and teach it to a friend and put on a dance show.
5. Shoe Box Trail: Gather up old shoe boxes. Scatter them around a carpeted floor. See if the child can step from one side of the room to the other only stepping in the boxes. Try pretending to skate or ski around the room wearing the shoe boxes as skates or skis. Use the boxes as targets and throw wadded up pieces of paper into the boxes.
6. Create an indoor obstacle course: Use couch pillows and chairs to create an indoor obstacle course.
7. Action Charades: Play charades acting out only sports or any physical activities. Play it as reverse charades. Someone who is not playing can write a sport on a name tag. Put the name tag on the person's back. The partner looks at the person's back and acts out the sport. The person has to guess. Play again with the guesser having the name tag on his/her back.
Allow your children to be creative with the activities. See what games they can create with the materials as well.