Mahira wasn’t getting enough physical activity during the Covid-19 pandemic, and her parents were concerned about it. A lack of activity reduced her appetite, she struggled in class and to even practice yoga. She didn’t have the energy for it. Then, with the addition of two fresh fruits a day and with blocks, puzzles and motor tools, she felt energised, leading to a gradual change. Upon starting meditation before her art sessions, her creativity started soaring. Tweaks in her daily routine made all the difference.
Scorching summers make it challenging for kids to engage in outdoor activities. However, staying indoors doesn’t have to mean a sedentary lifestyle for children. Kids need their activities and fun. And we can keep them active and fit while beating the heat by offering some fun and engaging indoor activities. Physical fitness and movement influence their health, cognitive abilities, energy levels and sleep. Let’s explore indoor activities that promote physical fitness and keep kids entertained and stimulated.
But before that, let’s understand indoor activities a bit better. Experts say that children become more focused and attentive by playing in nature. During the pandemic, parents tried to recreate this space by adding plants and flowers to brighten their houses, energise their children and improve their attention span.
Encouraging indoor activities that combine aerobic exercise, strength training, and motor skills development can contribute to a well-rounded fitness routine for children. There are a few ways to bring more dynamism to your children indoors.
Dance Party post meals
Organising a dance party at home is an excellent way to get kids moving and grooving. It needn’t be a party with too many people. Just gentle marching and dancing post meals will keep them healthy and help them digest their food better. Create a playlist with upbeat and age-appropriate songs, clear some space in the living room, and let the dancing begin. Learning different dance styles through online tutorials isn’t that bad an idea, either. Dancing not only enhances cardiovascular fitness but also improves coordination and boosts mood. It is a fantastic way to build healthy motor skills.
Scavenger Hunt for the sharp brain
A scavenger hunt is an exciting and interactive activity that keeps kids active and mentally engaged. You can even plan this with incentives so they finish their homework and get ready to explore. Create a list of clues or riddles that lead to hidden objects around the house. Encourage children to search for the items while solving the clues. It promotes physical activity as kids move around the house, helps them develop problem-solving skills and fosters creativity.
Obstacle course to energise indoor activity
Designing an indoor obstacle course can be an exciting adventure for kids. You can do it within the house, on your terrace or in the backyard if you have one. If you’re planning stay-at-home activities for kids, utilise pillows, cushions, hula hoops, and other household items. You can also use fitness props to create a challenging course.
Include activities such as crawling under tables, jumping over cushions, balancing on one foot, and climbing over pillows. Keep some cones and balls in the house to bounce around. The obstacle course helps improve motor skills, balance, and strength while keeping kids active and entertained. A lemon and spoon race before a meal can help the brain prepare for lunch or dinner.
Indoor Sports for the perfect balance of cognitive and physical strength
If you have space, convert a room into a mini sports arena. Set up games such as mini basketball, bowling, or indoor soccer. Install a small basketball hoop on the back of a door or create a bowling alley using empty water bottles and a softball. These activities enhance hand-eye coordination, and gross motor skills and provide an outlet for kids to release their energy while having the time of their lives.
Yoga, painting and Stretching for a calm mind:
Introduce kids to the benefits of yoga and stretching through child-friendly routines. Use online resources or children’s yoga books to guide them through poses and stretches. Yoga promotes flexibility, improves posture, and enhances focus and relaxation. It is an ideal indoor activity for developing mindfulness and body awareness in children. Meditation is a powerful tool for inner connection.
Indoor Gardening for discipline and patience
Encourage kids to explore their green thumbs by engaging in indoor gardening. Planting and caring for small indoor plants or herbs teach them about nature and promote a sense of responsibility. Kids can water the plants, monitor their growth, and learn about the importance of sunlight and nutrition. Indoor gardening instils a sense of achievement and helps kids connect with the natural world. These skills never leave them.
Arts and Crafts for a creative mind:
Engage children in arts and crafts activities that require movement and creativity. They can learn DIY skills of cutting, stitching, sticking different fabrics, sewing buttons etc. and can instil lifelong creativity. Have a painting station, create collages with recycled materials or encourage them to build structures with blocks. Arts and crafts activities help improve fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and allow kids to express their imagination.
Active sports but with a twist
Set up a makeshift net using a rope or string and use a balloon as the ball for an exciting game of indoor volleyball. This activity promotes teamwork, coordination, and gross motor skills while also providing a fun and active experience for kids.
Benefits of stay-at-home kids’ activities
Engaging in indoor activities during the summer can have several positive physical and physiological effects on your kids. They are, of course, not a substitute for outdoor play, which is essential in every way. Some of the benefits of indoor activities are as below.
Strengthens cardiovascular endurance
The inclusion of aerobics in our indoor activities can have a profound impact on our kids. Aerobic involves movements, such as dancing, active games, and indoor sports that improve fitness. Regular participation in these activities increases heart rate, improves lung capacity, and strengthens cardiovascular endurance.
Indoor activities such as circuit training, obstacle courses, and active play can enhance muscular strength and endurance in children. These activities involve bodyweight exercises and resistance movements that help develop muscle strength and stamina. Throwing and catching a ball, push-ups and pull-ups, squats and lunges with light weights can build the foundation for strength. Indoor activities often require children to engage in various movements that promote motor skills development. Throwing, climbing, crawling, jumping, and balancing activities can enhance gross motor skills, coordination, and body control.
Improves bone health
Weight-bearing indoor activities such as jumping rope or dancing positively impact bone health. These endurance activities promote bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. The presence of load on the body promotes bone density. It is as critical for the child as adequate meals that help them build the same.
Helps maintain weight
Participation in indoor activities also enhances weight management. Physical activity increases calorie expenditure, supports a healthy metabolism, and contributes to weight management. Children can have excess energy in their little bodies, and if they are only playing indoors, it can be challenging for parents to harness this energy.
However, indoor activities can assist children in burning energy and expend calories depending on what these activities are. For instance, even with a simple stepper or a box, multiple workouts can be performed. It brings more focus and concentration to their work and improves memory levels when they sit to study. Engaging in active play or structured indoor exercises helps maintain a healthy energy balance, which is crucial for overall well-being. Engaging in active play or structured indoor exercises helps maintain a healthy energy balance, which is crucial for overall well-being.
It’s important to note that the specific effects of indoor activities on children’s physical fitness may vary depending on the type, intensity, and duration of the activities, as well as individual characteristics and preferences. On average, an hour of active play every day is good for children above seven years of age. Below the age of seven, they need to have half an hour of active play and another half an hour of moderate activity in a day. So, staying indoors during the summer doesn’t have to be dull or sedentary for kids. Engage children in indoor activities to help them stay physically active, mentally stimulated, and healthy. As far as innovating new games goes, the sky’s the limit.
The views expressed are that of the expert alone.
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