Hello everyone- I hope you are all well and coping as best as you can given the strange circumstances we find ourselves in. If you haven’t already, do join the support group that a friend and I have set up on Facebook, Homeschooling During Coronavirus, for regularly updated activity ideas and resources for home educating your children.
One of the questions we have been receiving is about burning off children’s energy while so many outlets are currently out of bounds. Schools, gyms, pools and soft plays are closed and that leaves a lot of parents needing other options for keeping kids active.
I’ve put together this list of resources for ideas for burning off energy indoors and in the limited outdoor space that we have- as a home educating Mum I can’t stress enough how important physical activity is, for both physical and mental health, and how much it benefits children’s concentration and overall wellbeing.
FREE National Trust Properties
The National Trust has very generously decided to stop all charges for their car parks and outdoor properties across the UK. This means that huge sprawls of greenery, fields, woodlands and gardens will be available for you to take children at no cost. We love the National Trust, there are many properties to choose from and you can see the ones near you by going on their website.
Indoor Mini Trampolines
Popping a mini trampoline in front of the television can make the difference between hours slouched on the sofa, and a time of fun bouncing in front of their favourite show. Mini indoor trampolines are a great resource for expending energy in between schoolwork.
You can also play great games with them such as bouncing while trying to avoid a beanbag placed on the trampoline, Dodgeball (put the trampoline in the middle of the room and have someone gently throw beanbags or soft balls at the person bouncing, who has to jump off to avoid them) and basketball (set up an indoor hoop and jump while trying to net the ball!)
Online P.E. Classes
There are several brilliant Youtube channels offering different physical challenges and classes for children. Our personal favourites are:
- Cosmic Kids’ Yoga
- The Body Coach TV (9am live classes Mon-Fri)
- 20 Online (20 minute classes)
Put On A Show
If your kids are anything like mine they will LOVE to put on a show for you. Ask them to plan, practice and perform a dance, theatrical or gymnastics show for you. Set a timer for 30 minutes for them to prepare it, get them to make tickets to ‘sell’ to you and then watch the performance. They could use fancy dress for costumes, choose music to play during it and even create scenery for their show!
Indoor Mini Gym
No prizes for guessing what the next thing on our Amazon shopping list is- these indoor mini gyms are amazing, they attach easily to door frames like a pull-up bar and come with attachments including a swing, knotted climbing rope, gymnastic rings and rope ladder. The full set is here and a cheaper set is here with just the swing, rope ladder and rings.
Get kids hunting all around the house and/or garden with a good old fashioned scavenger hunt. You can either hide something special (a new craft or DVD, a DIY token for hot chocolate or small toy) and set up clues for your children to follow, or have them complete an alphabet scavenger hunt that they complete to win a prize.
An alphabet scavenger hunt is where children find something around the house and/or garden beginning with every letter of the alphabet! You could add extra physical activity by including instructions such as “hop to the next clue”, “crawl like lizard to the next clue” etc.
Get On Wheels
One of the saving graces of the current climate is that we can still get outside as long as we keep our distance from others. Cycling, rollerblading and scootering are all great ways to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise. This Allek Kick scooter not only lights up, it is adjustable so children can use it all the way from 3-14 years.
Walk A Dog
If you have a dog, brilliant- it is a great motivator to get outside and get exercise. If you don’t have a dog, consider asking someone you know if you could take their dog for a walk (obviously practice common sense and only do this if you know the dog and will be able to practice social distancing).
Children often love animals and even if they aren’t keen to go on a walk for themselves, a furry friend might quickly change their minds!
These can be used inside or out, and are a cheap, easy and convenient way to get a good workout in a very short space of time. These bright and colourful non-tangle skipping ropes are ideal for games with two or more players, or a single person workout inside or out!
There are some fantastic choreographers on Youtube and my kids love to try and copy the dance moves they come up with. Matt Steffanina and Kyle Hanagami on Youtube are favourites in this house- check to make sure the music for each dance is appropriate for your children as it is street and hip-hop dance. There are also ballet and latino dances to copy, just search for them in the Youtube search bar.
Of course, a good old dance in the kitchen to some loud music is another brilliant way to get blood pumping and endorphins flowing!
Bean bags are great to play dodgeball with- the target has to jump, run and dive while trying to avoid the bags being thrown! Beanbags are available here or really easy to make from some scrap fabric filled with rice or dry lentils and sewn up, or sealed with an elastic band.
Easy peasy- simply grab a balloon and keep it off the ground for as long as you can! On weekends we often make a ‘net’ with a bit of string or some chairs pushed together and go against each other in teams.
This is a wonderful opportunity to both get exercise and fresh air, and contribute in a lovely way to your community. Kids love these litter pickers that make it safe and hygienic to pick up litter and clean up the neighbourhood.
I think I might enjoy this just as much as the kids- hula hoops are one of those brilliant classic toys that everyone loves and that last for ages. Ideal for inside or out, they are also great for games such as placing them at a distance and tossing beanbags into, or running while looping them underfoot and ‘skipping’ with them.
Grab a ball of wool or string and tie one end to something like a banister or chair. Then stretch it across the room and back again, zig-zagging it to make a maze of string ‘lasers’. Challenges could be to see who can get from one end of the room to the other touching the fewest lasers, a blindfolded challenge or a timed race.
I hope these have given you some ideas for keeping kids active during this bizarre time- I always find that if my three kids have had a good runaround or at least been active in the house they are in better moods, they sleep better and eat really well so it’s something I always try to encourage.
If you’d like more resources, activity ideas and support while your child is at home during the current quarantine, please join the Facebook support group I set up with a friend, “Homeschooling During Coronavirus“- we have nearly 3000 members and we update several times a day with fun and creative homeschool activities for children as well as emotional support for parents and carers. There is also an excellent post written by the other admin of the group Laura McCartney, qualified teacher and homeschooling Mum of 4, with a week of brilliant and easy homeschool activities that children will love!