Anyone whose spent any time with young kids will know that kids needs to expend energy more or less constantly.... especially boys! When he's not playing with Lego, my son Will (almost 7) is constantly climbing all over the furniture, bouncing around the couch, almost bursting out of his skin. And its only natural- its in our genes to MOVE! Trying to curtail this energy in sedentary ways only means that it's going to come out in unproductive (even destructive!) ways at a later point in time. Modern life has made children so much more sedentary than our hunter gatherer genes have evolved us to be. TV, cinemas, screens, homework, sitting in cars, indoor lifestyles, and other sedentary activities (some very worthwhile of course) just means that we need BALANCE it out a little with movement. Warm summer weather is a no brainer for entertaining kids- we head straight outdoors to nature (beach, park etc) where kids can expend their energy swimming, rolling, running, playing ball sports, throwing a frisbee, riding bikes etc. A greater challenge is working out how they can expend their boundless energy in a productive way when the weather turns cold or wet or when its just not feasbile to be outdoors (case in point as I type this it is cold and teaming with rain!).
So here's a few things that I do with my kids that might give you some inspiration when they (and you!) are climbing the walls:
1. rebounder- this acts a little trampoline for kids to jump on. It's small enough that I can move it around the house depending on which room the kids are playing in.Whenever I see the kids climbing all over the furniture its great that I can direct them to the rebounder. Sometimes we turn on the music and team the jumping with singing and dancing - pretending to be the next upcoming Voice contestant (you can tell that I harbour some unfilled entertainer dreams!). I bought my rebounder from Rebel Sports.
2. Hyperdash - the interval training game for kids (and big kids too!). This is really cool. There's a battery operated baton that yells out instructions and 5 different colours / numbered targets that you spread out around the house. You follow the baton's commands by striking the targets it directs you to in the fastest possible time (e.g. "strike red", "now strike 5", "strike blue then green twice" etc etc). Who ever completes the instructions in the quickest time wins. There are different levels of difficulty (e.g. involving memory or maths). You are racing around the house as fast as you can (taking turns or in teams) for about 90-120 seconds at a time- which is a perfect time frame to really get your heart rate racing before resting. Just like interval/cross training at the primal fitness gym I go to! I was skeptical about this when I bought it but I really enjoy playing it just as much as the kids (if not more!). Its advertised for ages 6+ but my 4 year old plays it (and I accompany her on her turn to keep her motivated to finish). If you have a double story house or a large house you can really spread out the targets to make you work harder. I'm dripping with sweat after a few rounds of this. So I get some exercise and tucker the kids out at the same time. Perfect. I bought Hyperdash from the Australian Geographic shop from Westfield for A$34.95. According to the sales assistant it's the best selling item in the store.
3. rough and tumble- its the age-old game of getting down on the floor with your kids- rolling, tickling, tumbling, frolicking fun. Its also a way that kids can get their physical attachment/affection needs met when they are no longer babes in arms.
If you try these activities out let me know what you think. Do you have any other ideas on how kids can remain active when indoors? I'd love to hear them!
Happy indoor moving!