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7 kid-friendly ways to bring P.E. into your home

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Many students are continuing with remote education this month, but what happens to gym class? Are schools dispensing with it, or are some adapting PE for virtual access? For those students who are headed back to the classroom, is gym class safe? Are precautions being taken, such as physical distancing and masks? If there's no formal gym class, what are kids doing instead?

For schools that are opening in-person, most are modifying PE to ensure that children avoid physical contact and maintain physical distancing. The number one strategy to keep everyone safe and healthy is to have gym outside. Some schools require masks for gym, and some do not, depending on the activity Whether or not your child has formal PE classes, this is an ideal time to promote exercise as a life skill, and life skills are developed at home. Encouraging children to move their bodies is important, not only for physical health, but for mental health and cognitive development.

The CDC recommends 60 minutes of exercise a day for children and adolescents, but it doesn’t have to be all at one time or in one place. The best plan is to distribute it throughout the day.

1. Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity 3x week should occupy most of your children’s work out time. Mix it up by incorporating walking, running, skating, swimming, bicycle riding, snowshoeing, leaf raking, shoveling, or anything that makes their hearts beat faster. You want them to work intensively enough that they breathe faster and their hearts pound.

2. Muscle-Strengthening

Add muscle-strengthening activities at least 3 days per week as part of the daily 60+ minutes. Include activities that strengthen the core, arms and legs, such as rock and tree climbing, push-ups, sit ups, yoga poses and Pilates moves There are lots of games that work out the core, upper body and lower body muscles such as doing ups with a ball to toss in a basket, and equipment to make it fun such as a BOSU ball, a balance beam, tires, ropes and swings.

3. Bone-Strengthening

At least 3 days per week include weight bearing activities to strengthen growing bones, such as jumping, running, trampoline, and gymnastics moves as part of your child’s daily 60+ minutes.

Preschoolers (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to promote growth and development. Intersperse active play throughout the day.

How can you get you kids on board?

  1. Assigning physically challenging chores is a great way to reap the benefits of gym and contribute to your household. Feel free to reward your kids for their contribution. Mowing the lawn, working in the garden, washing the car, cleaning out the garage, taking out the garbage, raking the leaves, gathering leaves into bags, and shoveling snow are opportunities for kids to build muscles and burn calories.

  2. Intersperse physical activity at targeted times throughout your child’s “school day.” Research demonstrates that physical activity facilitate attention, promotes on-task behavior, and contributes to children’s metal health.

  3. Mix it up! There is no need to do the same thing every day, although do set aside the same time everyday so that moving becomes a habit. Take advantage of the many videos and on-line classes for variety when you absolutely can't go outside.

  4. Let kids choose activities they love

  5. Teach them by example-be active together with them

  6. Do some family activities such as walking, hiking, biking, playing tag, playing ball, relay races, family yoga and workout stations

  7. Build up slowly. If you don’t achieve the magic 60 minutes, let it go. Start slow and build up to 60 minutes over time.

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