Like so many parents in Ontario, on March 16, I found myself at home with my four-year-old instead of going to work every day. As an elementary school PE teacher, I know how important it is for kids to get lots of active play, every day. My four-year-old went from four physical education classes and twenty recesses per week at school to being isolated at home. Here’s how I’m keeping her active during this unprecedented time:
1. Keep it simple
We walk daily. Rain or shine. They say adults go for walks but children go on adventures. During these adventures, we’ve looked for animals in the forest, picked up natural loose parts to make a magic “potion,” and we’ve done a few window walks. My toddler has also ridden her bike, created her own obstacle course, and helped me shovel snow!
2. Learn new skills or improve a skill
When we go outside to play, I like to let my daughter lead the activities. This improves her engagement in staying active because the ideas come from her and not her dad. I like to keep the garage door open when we’re outside, and she’ll go in and choose what she wants to play with. Lately, she’s been wanting to learn how to hula hoop or skateboard (we work on her balance while she’s holding my hands).
Here are other ideas that you could try with your children (you’ll get more engagement from them if you also give it a try!):
- Learn how to juggle a soccer ball. If that seems too difficult just now, you can start by keeping a balloon up with your feet.
- Improve your basketball dribbling skills. Try using both hands.
- If your access to sports equipment is limited, take the time to improve your flexibility.
- Challenge your family with minute-to-win-it activities (How many jumping jacks can you do in a minute? How many times can you successfully attempt a bottle flip?).
Related read: 56 awesome family dance party jams
3. Try an online activity video
Sometimes it’s fun to just follow along with a video on YouTube. Here’s a video I created with my school’s mascot. My daughter loves following along with the mascot. We’ve noticed that when we ask her if she wants to try a video, she’ll often say no. However, if we just put the video on and start working out she’ll eventually join us.
4. Your physical education teacher can help!
Don’t be shy to send an email to your children’s PE teachers. We love to hear from the kids we teach! Or, if you search for #HPEatHome on Twitter, you’ll find plenty of amazing ideas from PE teachers all over the world.
For more ideas, you can join the Active at Home Facebook group.