Being active isn’t about spending an hour at the gym or an hour at soccer practice. In fact, research shows that it’s possible and even beneficial to break up the recommended hour of physical activity and spread it out through your child’s day.
This means that kids get their 60 minutes and are sitting less of the time and that you can squeeze in physical activity when you have a few minutes as opposed to worrying about finding a solid hour.
We’ve compiled a grab bag of ideas that you can pull from whether you have as little as 1 minute or as many as 10. Challenge your kids to try some or all of them.
If you have 1 minute:
- Hop up and down on your right foot.
- Hop up and down on your left foot.
- There’s a kangaroo in my living room! Jump up and down with both feet.
- Run on the spot raising your knees to your chest.
- Do as many jumping jacks as you can.
- Ribbet, ribbet. Hop on all fours like a frog.
- Fly like a bird! Flap arms up and down like a bird and run around.
- Run or walk up and down the stairs (inside or outside) as many times as you can.
- Jump over cracks in the sidewalk.
If you have 5 minutes:
- Play an active version of Follow the Leader.
- Play an active version of Simon Says.
- Grab the sidewalk chalk or painter’s tape and play hopscotch.
- Grab a skipping rope and see how many reps you can do in 5 minutes.
- Crank up your favourite tune and dance it out.
- Grab a ball and play catch.
- Throw a Frisbee back and forth.
- Roll down a hill.
If you have 10 minutes:
- Go for a bike ride. Ride in one direction for 5 minutes and then turn around.
- Jog around the block.
- Got a group? Play Octopus, Red Rover, or Tag.
- Head out for a quick after-dinner walk.
- Do anything on the other two lists, just for longer.
For some more great ideas check out this list from Fuel Up to Play 60 that’s meant to be used for physical activity breaks in school but could easily be adapted for home use.
Remember, kids who are already using active transportation to get to school and back, for short excursions under 1 km, and who have free time to play outside every day will be well on their way to completing their physical activity requirements.