5 Ways to Get More Movement into Your Homeschool Day
In honor of Walk Around Things Day on April 4, let’s talk about exercise and movement at home. We are all familiar with jumping jacks, running or bicycling around the neighborhood, or even video-based physical education programs. Perhaps your children are involved with a sports team, or a local co-op that includes game time in the gym. However, I like to get more creative than that, mixing things up a bit in sneaky ways that don’t seem like exercise; here are my favorites.
Plant a Garden
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this one before. Before you skip to the next idea, think about how much of the gardening can be done by your children. Can your older children pull up weeds? Break up dirt? Let them do the hard labor! Create a schedule of garden chores that need to be done regularly and rotate them, so everyone gets a chance to work hard. And when they are outside, they enjoy many other benefits you might not have considered. Check out this article on six benefits of getting outdoors.
The Body Alphabet
Can you make your body into a V? How about a G? Get flexible and creative with your family as they try to make different letters of the alphabet with their bodies. Maybe they need to partner up for some letters, but this game may become a new favorite.
Skip, Jump, or Tag the Right Answer
Need to review some facts? Make it fun and memorable with hopscotch, jump rope, or capture the flag. Put an answer on each square of hopscotch or a Twister (remember that game?) circle. Ask your question and your child jumps to the correct answer. Another variation is to write the answers on separate pieces of paper and post them around the yard or your home. Your child needs to tag the correct answer to your question. Another suggestion could be to let your child to recite spelling words or times tables while jumping rope.
That’s right. When was the last time you danced? If King David danced for the Lord, so can you! Whether you like Michael W. Smith or TobyMac, the whole family can worship the Lord through dance. In some circles, dance is considered a sport and involves whole body movement. You can incorporate cultural learning, too. Learn some historical or cultural dances to spice up your social studies lessons. What about American social dances, such as square dancing? Get some friends together and have fun!
Push, pull, and lift
Our children need to develop strength, too, not just cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. They get the opportunity whenever they scrub a tub, push a vacuum or mop, carry groceries or a younger sibling. We need to let them pound nails, push the lawnmower, shovel snow, or pretty much do any type of chore. Of course, this depends on age, but even small children can help carry laundry, move chairs around, or pull a small wagon with some foodstuffs. Our children benefit in many ways from doing chores, but have you considered how much physical labor is involved with helping around the house and yard? Sometimes we don’t give them the hard stuff, but the hard stuff is what builds fitness. Next time you are tempted to do it yourself, ask one of your children to do it instead.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with finding ways to get more movement into your day. I’d love to hear yours!
Julie Polanco is a 16+ years veteran homeschooling mom of four challenging, artsy kids. She is the author of two books for moms–God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn and 100 Ways to Motivate Kids–and the high school botany instructor for www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She teaches live middle school science workshops for her local homeschool co-op and is actively involved in her church’s women’s ministry. You can find her at www.julienaturally.com where she offers natural learning & living solutions for challenging kids and their families.