Roller skating is a great way for kids to keep fit while developing balance and coordination. Kidsskatefree.com is a fantastic program that allows kids to do just that- skate for free. Visit their website for details on participating locations near you.
on Monday May 20 at 08:53AM
1. Barrier Dodgeball – In this variation barriers are set out for players to be able to hide behind. I have used things like gym mats propped up on their sides, large cones, tables laid on their sides, chairs and refrigerator boxes. If you find that players are just hanging out behind a barrier then let them know they have to change barriers on the sound of the whistle. This gets them up and moving. Using large cones is good too since campers are still a bit exposed when they try to hide behind them.
2. Island Dodgeball – Teams must stand on a large mat or tarp as they play. Only one player at a time may step off to collect balls but they cannot throw them unless they are on the “island”.
3. Powerball – The referee holds the powerball, a larger or different colored ball. Occasionally during the game the referee will roll the ball along the center line. Players have 10-15 seconds to retrieve the ball and get it to the referee without getting hit. If they are successful one of their teammates who has been in jail the longest gets to return to the game. You may impose rules like, once the powerball is picked up that player cannot be hit, or once the powerball is returned to the referee the player gets a free walk to the back line.
4. Hoop Shoot Dodgeball – If you are playing on a basketball court players can opt to shoot their dodgeball at the opposing team’s basket. They must shoot it from their own side of the court. If they make the basket (a rarity) all of their team’s players in jail get to return to the game. It’s like a “jail-break” for that one team.
5. Opposite Hand Dodgeball – All players must throw with their non-dominant hand. This is hilarious to watch.
6. Crackabout – This is an “every person for themselves” type of game. There must be specific boundaries (we play in a small community room). Players can run anywhere they want in the room, or within the boundaries. Play starts with the referee throwing the ball in the air. The player that gets it can throw it at someone or take up to three steps, no more, before they throw it. The player that retrieves it must do the same, take up to three steps (or hops) before throwing it. Meanwhile the other players can run around and dodge the ball. If a player is hit they must sit down where they are (essentially they are frozen). If the player that got them out gets hit they are back in the game (unfrozen). Also, players can catch the ball to save themselves and get the thrower to sit down. So game play goes on for a while. This is our teens favorite version of “Dodgeball”.
7. Four Quadrants – This is where the large square playing area is divided into four smaller squares. Each area is home to a team (four teams are playing, obviously). Play is just like normal Dodgeball except that players must be watching three other teams instead of just one. This variation makes it hard to “hide”.
8. Jedi - One player from each team is chosen to be the Jedi. Jedis start the game inside of a Hula-Hoop which is their “circle of force”. When a player is hit the must sit down. Jedis can heal them by tagging them. If the Jedi has to come out of their “circle of force” to heal someone and they get hit by a ball they are out. Each player that gets hit after the Jedi is out goes out as well. Once a player, or Jedi, is out they cannot return even if someone catches a ball. You may give the Jedi a lightsaber (foam noodle) to carry. They can use the saber to tag their fallen teammates. This gives them a bit more reach from their “circle of force”. I don’t use the lightsabers personally, but have seen other activity directors use them.
9. Medic – This is similar to Jedi except their is no “circle of force” for the Medic to “hide” in.
10. Protect the King- One player is chosen to be the King (or Queen). The other players are Knights and must not only battle the other team (by playing Dodgeball, of course) but they must protect their King (or Queen). Once the King or Queen gets hit the game is over.
11. Cosmic Dogeball – This variation is regular Dodgeball but with the lights off. We use white dodgeballs. We also replace the lights with blacklights so people can still be seen (especially if they are wearing white). This , of course, has to be played inside. you can also have players wear glow necklaces for fun. For added effect throw in some DJ lighting and music.
12. Poisonball – This is the way we played Dodgeball as a kids. There are no teams. The last person standing is the winner. All players, except for one, start inside the playing area (a large circle the size of a GaGa pit, half of a basketball court, or some other coned off area). One player is outside of the area and begins by trying to hit the players inside the playing area. Once a player is hit they join the player(s) on the outside. The players on the inside do not get to throw balls, they only get to dodge. The last person inside the area is the winner and starts the next game on the outside.
13. Traitor Ball – Normal Dodgeball rules apply except when a player gets hit they must go to the other side (become a traitor). The game ends when all players are on one side or the time is up.
14. Pinball – Three pins (plastic bowling pins, 2-liter bottles, or whatever else you can think of) are placed at the back line of each side. They are placed equal distance from each other on the line. The goal of the teams are to either get all the players out on the other team or to knock down all three of the opposing teams “pins”. Once a pin is knocked down it must stay down, even if it was knocked over by a players foot accidentally.
15. Protect the President – Players are on the outside of one playing are while two of the players are inside. One of the inside players is the President and the other is the bodyguard. As players on the outside throw balls at the President the bodyguard must protect the President with their body. The bodyguard can block the balls with his/her hands, legs, chest, etc. Once the President is hit the bodyguard becomes the President and the President becomes the bodyguard. Once the “new” President gets hit the two are out and the next duo gets a turn. i like to time the pairs to see who lasts the longest.
16. Rapid Fire – Three Hula Hoops are placed in the middle of the playing area. Each Hula Hoop has one player (thrower) and three dodgeballs in it. The object is for everyone else to get from one side of the playing area to the other without getting hit. It’s sort of like Sharks and Minnows except that the “sharks” must stay in the Hula Hoop and when the minnows get hit they are out. Once the survivors get across, the throwers may retrieve their balls before the next round starts. Throwers can only throw dodgeballs while they are in their Hula Hoop but they can leave their hoop to retrieve balls at any time. The last three survivors get to be the throwers in the next game.
17. Nine-Lives Dodgeball – Actually we play Three-Lives Dodgeball. Each player is given three strip of fabric to tie around their arm. Each time they are hit they must take off a strip. when a player runs out of strips they are out of the game.
18. Fitness Dodgeball – We play this one with the younger campers because they don’t like to sit out. When a player gets hit they must stop where they are and do 20 jumping jacks or three push-ups before they continue playing.
on Monday May 13 at 09:45PM
Here's a fun way for your kids to burn off some of that extra energy. Using pool noodles and garden stakes, create several arches (cut in half, one noodle should make 2 arches). Using several kickballs, kick the balls through the course. The first one to get their ball through the course wins.
1 water-resistant tarp with grommets (ours was 5 1/2 by 7 1/2 feet)
Colored duct tape
How to play
First, spread the tarp out on the ground and use a ruler and a marker to measure and mark a number of targets in varying sizes. (We covered our tarp with 10-, 12-, and 15-inch squares and diamonds surrounding an 18-inch center square.)
Cut out the holes, then line the edges of each one with colored duct tape. Use the marker to add a point value (5, 10, 25, and so on) below or next to each target, assigning higher values to smaller holes.
To hang the tarp, tie a length of rope to each of the corner grommets, then tie each of the ropes to a stable structure, such as a fence, a tree, or a swing set.
To practice their passing, aspiring quarterbacks can take turns throwing footballs (try kid-size footballs for smaller hands) through the holes from an agreed-upon distance, earning points for each successful pass. The first player to 100 (or another score of your choosing) wins.
on Tuesday April 23 at 06:22PM
Here's a fun and clever way to get kids moving indoors during the winter.
Create a monster punching bag (taken from: playcreateexplore.com) by filling a large trash bag with some wadded up newspaper and other smaller plastic grocery bags. Hang it from the ceiling in the hallway with some yarn and duct tape. Draw a monster face with a permanent marker and let your kids attack!
on Thursday March 7 at 10:11AM
Up The Playground Antics Get thee to a playground and monkey around! Monkey bars are great for building strength and tag with the other kids is cardio without seeing your 9-year-old on a treadmill. That would seem weird, yet they do make them.
Show Off Pedal Power Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, bicycling (with a helmet) is a great activity to do together. Pedal over to the playground or go for a ride to the bike trail. You can even skip the car and go green, substituting biking for other modes of transportation.
Enlist The Electric Company Are your kids way too hooked on video games? Or maybe it’s raining and you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. Nintendo’s Wii has sports and fitness games. The LA Times quoted a study that showed “compared with resting, children playing a seated video game burned 39% more calories per minute. Those playing an active game, such as bowling, burned 98% more calories. Finally, those playing a game that involved running or action…burned 451% more calories per minute.” Good to know!
Goof Off So your kids are too young to do sporty things like the big kids do. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start the action early. Shows like “Yo Gabba Gabba” are interactive and encourage little ones to get up and dance. You can also get silly on your own—teach as you stretch like a cat, gallop like a horse, or hop like a frog.
Spice Up The Sports If your child isn’t into organized sports with your town’s league, that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she doesn’t enjoy getting in the game. Put together a game of catch with the family or your child’s best friends. Organize a jump rope contest or relay race. Seek out a yoga class or climbing wall facility. The more you expose your kids to alternative activities, the more likely they are to find something they really enjoy.
Clean Up To Cut Calories This may be our favorite one since it helps us around the house. Why not make chore time a challenge? You can take on your child (or have your kids “battle” each other) with snow shoveling, window cleaning, or floor mopping. Hey…anything to get them to be active, right?
Show That Actions Speak Louder Scheduled activity is the key here. You can turn almost anything into something fun, and the earlier you start the better. Put an activity in your daily schedule. It could be anything from a walk around the block after dinner or a jaunt at the park after school—setting time aside for your child’s health is not only good for them, but you as well.
on Tuesday February 19 at 10:44AM
Exercise is great for both you and your kids. Why not do it together? Here are some fun ideas from womansday.com (best for kids ages 8 and up).
Grab a small ball and face your child as you both get into sit-up position. As you crunch up, toss or pass the ball to her. Crunch back down, and when you sit up again, have her toss or pass the ball back to you. Repeat at least 15 times.
Face each other and get into modified push-up position, with knees bent and touching the floor. Do a push-up simultaneously, and at the top, high-five each other with the right hand. The next time, high-five with the left hand. Repeat 5 times.
Face your child and stand about a foot away from each other. Put right hand on your hip and lift your left leg out to the side and up a few inches. Bend your right leg to squat down. At the same time, extend your left arm and clap hands patty-cake style. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
on Wednesday December 19, 2012 at 11:17AM
Just because your kid is in T-ball doesn’t mean that he’s active enough. A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that less than 25 percent of student athletes receive the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. Plus, the researchers found that the kids spent about 30 minutes of their practice sessions being completely inactive.
Coaches need to make sure everyone is participating in the game, so some children might have to wait their turns to head onto the field, say the scientists. They suggest that adults should take a more active role in the practice sessions, even if that means monitoring children with a pedometer.
Rule #2: Keep Play Fun
Don’t worry too much about the rules. “Making a game or activity too rigid is the best way to guarantee that a kid won’t want to be active,” says Men’s Health FitsSchools advisor Jim Liston, C.S.C.S. “Your job is to facilitate play, not dictate it.” So if kids stop playing an organized game and start chasing a butterfly, just go with it. “As long as young kids are running, jumping, and having fun, they’re improving their health and athletic ability.”
Rule #3: Turn off the TV…
If you want your kid to get off the couch once in a while, you have to do the same. Case in point: A 2010 study by British researchers found that 6-year-old girls were nearly 3.5 times more likely to watch more than 4 hours of television a day if their parents similarly stared at the tube for 2-4 hours a day. As for boys, the scientists found that the little guys were about 10 times more likely to watch TV for 4 hours a day if their parents did as well.
Luckily, the solution is simple—turn off the tube. But what about “educational TV,” you ask? Fact is, only 1 out of every 8 shows for children are real learning opportunities.
Rule #4: …Unless You’re Playing Wii
We’re not saying that your child should start spending more time in the living room than the backyard, but kids can have a good workout by playing certain video games. Recently, the American Heart Association officially stated that Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort games are legitimate ways to stay active. And a recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that kids (aged 10-13) who played Dance Dance Revolution had an exercise session that was comparable to walking at a moderate-intensity pace.
Rule #5: Never Reward Kids with Food
It’s no wonder childhood obesity is so prevalent: “We tell our children to eat healthy, but then we reward their good behavior with junk food,” says Liston. No, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat. But to consistently reinforce a kid with ice cream and candy for a job well done—such as finishing his homework—delivers the wrong message. In fact, you should use caution in rewarding kids with any kind of food, including healthy fare. “This practice can teach them that it’s good to eat even when they’re not hungry,” explains Liston. Instead, give them another kind of reward—like extra playtime outside.
Rule #6: Instruct by Showing, Not Telling
Forget the phrase “Keep your eye on the ball.” Why? Because the first time most a kid hears it, he (or she) has no idea what you’re talking about. Instead, show him how to hit a baseball with these 6 steps:
1. Stand a few feet away and tell your kid to look at the ball.
2. Move toward him with the ball in your hand while continually instructing him to keep looking at the ball. (This way, he’ll learn to track it.)
3. When you approach the strike zone, tell him to slowly try to hit the ball with the bat.
4. Go back to the starting point, then toss the ball into the strike zone and allow him to swing.
5. Review what he did well and give him instruction for improvement.
Rule #7: Know When to Praise
Kids aren’t stupid. Say your son whiffs at three pitches in a row. The modern parent often says, “Good try.” But that type of hollow praise doesn’t console him, or help him the next time he steps up to the plate. “Praise should be specific and authentic, as in, ‘Good job juggling the ball 10 times. I see you’ve been practicing a lot. Your efforts have paid off,’ ” says Liston. “You should also mix instruction and encouragement when your child makes a mistake.” Look for a teaching point, even on a strikeout. For instance, you might say, “Good eye on that second and third pitch. Keep swinging at pitches like those, and the hits will come.”
Rule #8: Make a Play Date with Friends
Remember the days of running around with the neighborhood kids from dawn until dusk? Wasn’t that fun? Well, it’s also an essential way to keep your kid in shape: UK researchers found that children who have an active, neighborhood playmate are 2-3 times more likely to be physically active themselves when compared to kids who don’t live near a buddy.
Rule #9: But Don’t Compare Your Kids with Others
Kids develop the coordination to run, catch, and throw at different rates, says Liston. The trouble is, they’re often expected to perform at certain levels based solely on their ages. As a result, a child whose development is slower than average may never have the opportunity to catch up with his peers. “If a kid tries to catch a baseball on the run before he’s able to catch a beach ball while standing still, he won’t have the tools he needs to be successful, says Liston. Unfortunately, many parents and coaches think the solution is for the child to try harder, when the real secret is backing up to a simpler task that the kid can improve upon.
Rule #10: Give Them Your Blessing
Encouraging your kids to participate in “vigorous” sports—like basketball and soccer—can cause your children to become more active, according to research in the journal Health Psychology. In the study, kids who received support from their parents were more likely to sign up for team sports (and less likely to spend their time sitting around) than the children who’s parents didn’t give them a push.
on Tuesday October 30, 2012 at 12:17PM
What kid doesn't love a party? If you can squeeze a little fitness in, even better! Kids are motivated by fun. Family Fun Magazine and Sheila Dunn, owner of Personal Touch Fitness in Rutherford, New Jersey, put together a great recipe for a fun filled fitness party. Here are the details, including a fun soundtrack.
Party Sound Track
Songs for warming up:
Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
Holding Out for a Hero, Frou Frou
Picks for pairs play:
We're All In This Together, cast of High School Musical
Car Wash, Rose Royce
Jump N' Move, The Brand New Heavies
Tunes for team activities:
The Best of Both Worlds, Hannah Montana
Walking On Sunshine, Katrina and The Waves
We Got the Beat, The Go-Go's
Here's a warm-up activity with real sizzle: an innovative stretch that has kids simulating erupting volcanoes. Besides breaking the ice, it gets partygoers limber for a full itinerary of fitness games.
Ask everybody to start with their arms (the hot lava) at their sides and then slowly raise them until they are just above their heads. Then, have the kids shake both their hands to represent bubbling lava
Now it's time for them to erupt by reaching as high as possible and holding the stretch for 15 seconds.
Finally, ask the kids to extend their arms forward and lower them slowly to move the lava down the mountainside until it reaches the ground (their toes). Have them hold this stretch Repeat this stretching exercise five times and you're ready to let the fitness party games begin.
One of the most popular parts of Sheila's fitness parties is a circuit of energetic challenges that the kids take on in pairs. Each duo starts at a different activity station, where they try their luck at the designated feat, stopping when Sheila blows her whistle and then moving on to the next contest. Here are a couple of her favorite challenges.
Beanbag Hula: The object here is for the kids to toss a beanbag back and forth while one of them spins a hula hoop around his or her waist. Keeping it all going without the hoop or bag hitting the ground works to strengthen core muscles in the back and abdomen while also improving coordination.
Tandem Hopscotch: For this activity, you'll need to chalk an extra-large hopscotch grid, one in which each space is roomy enough for both kids to land. Have one child toss a marker, as in regular hopscotch, but then stand behind her teammate with her hands on her partner's waist. The goal is for the two to hop their way in unison through the game, without stepping on the lines or letting go -- a great test of balance and reflexes.
After the kids have played in pairs, Sheila divides the group into two teams for fast-moving games that provide a great cardiovascular workout. All you need to set them up is a dozen or so miniature cones, sold at sporting goods stores and online for about $8 for a set of six.
Knock 'em Down, Stand 'em Up: This game begins with the cones placed randomly around the yard, half of them upright and half on their sides. When the whistle blows, the Up team's job is to right all the fallen cones and the Down team's is (surprise!) to knock down the standing ones. Play lasts for three minutes, with the respective teams continuing to reverse the newly righted or knocked-over cones. When the whistle blows, the team with more cones in the correct position, up or down, wins. For the next round, the Up team becomes the Down team and vice versa.
Silly Slalom: Create identical courses for both teams by setting up two rows of cones spaced several feet apart. When the whistle blows, the first player from each team races in and out of his team's cones and back to tag the next player, who then runs the course, and so on. Up the challenge in the next round by declaring that the teams must complete the course hopping on one foot or, for a real test of balance, walking backward.
There's no better way to end a fitness party than by working your laugh muscles. This animated take on the classic party game telephone promises to deliver.
Phone In a Fitness Routine: Have everyone sit in a circle. Jot down a few exercise moves on a slip of paper. For instance, you might write: do three jumping jacks, touch your toes twice, spin around once, and run in place. Whisper the message to one of the partygoers. She should, in turn, whisper the message she heard to the person on her left and so on, until the message makes it all the way around the group. The last player to hear the message announces the instructions aloud and leads the crowd in acting them out. Finish up by reading the original message from the slip so that everyone can hear how much, or how strangely, the instructions have changed.
Finding time to exercise can be difficult for a busy mom. The good news is that you don't have to choose between quality time with the kids or getting an hour of fitness. In this case, you can have your low fat, low carb cake and eat it too. Just combine the two activities into one.
What's Good for the Kids Is Good for Mom
As a Mom, I have a lot on my plate. My schedule includes work, keeping the house in order, after school kid activities and other events. With all that is happening in my life, finding time to exercise can be a challenge. Fortunately, I don't have to give up spending time with my kids in order to fit in personal fitness, and neither do you.
KidsHealth.org reports children can enjoy exercise through normal play activities such as playing tag, jumping rope and climbing at the playground. This natural play based exercise leads to children with stronger muscles and bones, less body fat, and lower cholesterol. According to Livestrong.com, moms can also burn up to 320 calories just from 30 minutes of playing with their children.
If cruising down the slides isn't your cup of tea, you can still use the playground to exercise while your children are swooping on the swings. Instead of joining junior on the swings, you can adapt the playground to do traditional exercises that take advantage of available equipment.
To help you get started, here are three of my favorite playground exercises.
Park Bench Tricep Dips
To do this body weight exercise, all you need is your arms and a bench. Simply sit on the bench with your hands positioned palm down on the bench on each side of your leg. Move your butt off the bench and straighten your legs. Slowly bed your elbows and dip yourself down. Then push back to the start position. Repeat for 8 to 12 dips.
Playground Push Ups
Pushups on the playground can be as hard or as easy as you want them to be. Begin by choosing a surface, like a platform, bench or curb to position your hands. The higher the surface, the easier the pushups will be. Stretch out your feet until your body is straight. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your body. Then push back to the start position. It's easy-peasy. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
For a variation, you can also do Playground Planks. Follow the same instructions as the push up and simply hold the straight position. Try to hold the plank for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat.
Monkey Bar Knee Raises
No trip to the playground is complete without conquering the monkey bars. For this exercise, just hang from the bars with your arms straight and your feet slightly off the ground. Next, pull your legs up until your knees are bent. Keep pulling until they reach your chest. Then, slowly lower your knees back until your legs are straight, without touching the ground. Repeat 8-12 times.
Get Out and Play
What's good for the kids can be good for Mom. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, it's time for you to get in the game and enjoy the benefits of play based exercises. Simply getting off the bench and joining your kids at playtime can make a big difference in your health, your happiness and your life.
on Tuesday July 31, 2012 at 04:28PM