Originally posted on the FIT4MOM blog
Written by: Jessica Maurer
“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good” -Lucia Capocchione
We all lose it from time to time — we have all yelled at our kids in frustration or tiredness and then felt horrifically guilty afterward. Mama, you are not alone. Being a mom is unpredictable and overwhelming at times. Tough moments, chaos, and loss of control are to be expected when raising children. Making time to release your and your kiddos’ energy in a positive manner can help you calm you down, shift the focus, and release some happiness into your life.
Exercise helps enhance memory skills, boosts the happiness chemical serotonin, and increases cognitive repair, which is the production of the chemicals that affect the growth and health of new blood vessels in the brain. Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in volume in people who exercise than in people who don’t! So fight mommy brain & improve your kid’s schooling with a sweaty good time.
Sometimes we all need a break to have fun, laugh, and move our bodies. So, lets do it together! Grab your kiddos and try some of these fun movement breaks.
1. OBSTACLE COURSE
Use your backyard or house to create an obstacle course. Try this one:
Run around three trees
At the last tree, do 10 frog jumps
Crawl under the trampoline
Race to see who can reach the back door the fastest
Use cardboard boxes as hurdles
On your driveway, set up sticks in a Tic-Tac-Toe grid pattern and grab two pieces of different colored chalk.
Your child runs, skips, hops, or leaps to the grid and marks his/her symbol
You must wait until your child returns back to the starting line before you run, skip, hop, or leap to the grid and mark your symbol
Repeat as many times as you like!
3. MIRROR MATCH
You complete 1 movement like a jumping jack
Your child repeats your movement
You complete the 1st movement and add on
Your child repeats your movement
How long can you go before forgetting a part of the sequence?
Once you forget the sequence (or your child does), as the child to be the leader and see what silly things they can think up!
You can easily replicate this game by tying a string between two trees or using a long stick or broom if you have multiple players!
5. BALL ROLL
Sit facing your child with a ball (stability ball, soccer ball, basketball, etc) in front of you, and open your legs as wide as you can comfortably sit.
Pass the ball to the child and ask that they roll it back to you
Increase the level of difficulty by asking the child to roll the ball to your right or left hand
Increase the level by putting yourself (and kiddo if old enough…) in different positions such as plank & v-sit
6. DANCE PARTY
Just turn on some happy tunes (like this playlist from FIT4MOM) & shake it out, mama.
7. BALL PASS
While on your knees, ask your child to stand next to you.
Pass the ball from the outside to the inside, asking your child to meet you in the middle
Your child takes the ball and passes it to his outside
Repeat the process seeing if you can gradually move further apart, and add a toss, not just a handoff!
8. WATER BOTTLE BOWLING
Set up water bottles like bowling pins and use any ball to knock them down!
9. BACKYARD RACING
Change this simple activity by pretending to be your favorite characters or animals. Think of movements like:
How would frogs race?
Mickey Mouse Roadhouse style (or Mario Kart)
Who is the fastest horse?
How would a gorilla race?
10. BALLOON BALL (ALSO CALLED "KEEPY UPPY" FOR YOU BLUEY FANS!)
Blow up a balloon and hit it around the house or yard without letting it touch the ground!
11. ACTIVE SCAVENGER HUNT
The clues tell them what activity they must do to get to the next clue, like bear crawl to the ____, run backward to the ____, or bunny hop to the ____!
12. DUCK DUCK GOOSE
Do we need to explain…? Feel free to switch up this classic game by incorporating different movements like frog jumps, bear crawls, skips, and high knees.
13. LINE DANCING
Turn on the tunes and try these dance moves:
14. BEDSHEET PARACHUTE
You and your kids hold onto the end of a bedsheet.
Work together to try to shake a small stuffed animal or ball off of the parachute!
Inside or out, hopscotch is a hit! If you end up stuck inside, use tape to layout your hopscotch area! BONUS: Make this a math game by:
Asking your kiddo to only jump to the squares that a even number.
Now, try odd numbers.
Can you jump to the square that is 1+3?
What about 5-1?