Mona’s Mitten by Kristina Orliczky is all about physical activity, and here are a couple of fun and simple exercises a parent can do with their child.
For adults, exercising means running a few miles every day and working out in a gym with fancy gym equipment—quite a strenuous set of activities—but for kids, though, exercise can be quite fun and enjoyable. The great news is that parents can enjoy exercise too by doing them with their kids while also, at the same time, engaging with them in play and imagination.
Here are fun and wonderful exercises that parents can include in their daily routines with their kids:
Sometimes known as “crawling on all fours,” a bear crawl is a full-body exercise that targets the upper body, mainly the shoulders, chest, and arms, and also the lower body, mainly the thighs and the knees. This type of movement helps increase strength and enhances the coordination of the limbs.
For parents with kids who love animals and playing on the floor, bear crawls can be encouraged, along with the use of their imagination! Although it’s called a bear crawl, a child can try and mimic other animals or even fantastical creatures that have four legs. The parent, too, can join in by being the parent animal or a bigger, larger creature that is chasing the smaller animal, i.e., their kid.
A crab walk is a lot like doing a bear walk, but instead of having the tummy face down, the tummy is facing up. With a crab walk, the knees protrude outward instead of grazing the floor. This exercise targets the same muscles a bear walk does, but also the stomach and the buttocks, while mainly enhancing coordination between the limbs.
Because of its relative difficulty compared to doing bear walks, the opportunity for games and races is present when doing crab walks—it’s even more fun to do on the beach, where the coastal sand acts as a far softer alternative to a house’s floor.
Jumping is an essential skill that all children should learn how to do and also a fun exercise activity. Different from bouncing, which only plays on the flexibility of the child and their energy, jumping requires focus and agility. It also enhances the child’s sense of balance and the coordination of the leg muscles while strengthening them and the stomach muscles.
A rather exciting way of practicing jumping is by using a jump rope, which can be enjoyed by both parent and child, together or alone.
Another essential skill all children should learn how to do is running, which greatly helps with the development of healthy cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Through running, the body learns how to properly manage oxygen intake and distribution, enhancing cognitive performance that can actually lead to higher academic achievement and improved mental well-being.
There is a lot a parent can do with running: a lot of games and make-believe scenarios. The great thing about running is that it’s so baked into daily human activities that sometimes, creating a context for play isn’t actually needed.
This is another essential skill that builds atop running and jumping, combining elements of both skills. By skipping regularly, the child and parent can build up their senses of balance and coordination while also helping improve their senses of timing, location, and positioning.
A jump rope is also compatible with skipping, although it is widely recommended that skipping without it be mastered first to avoid unnecessary accidents.
While the activities mentioned above can be fun for both child and parent, it is important they do not become the only choices and that the repertoire of physical activities is continuously expanded. This not only ensures the absence of stagnation but also because they widen the child’s vision of what is possible and can target other key areas of physical development that cannot be covered by the exercises mentioned before.
Mona’s Mitten by Kristina Orliczky is a brilliant book to include in your physical activities; it blends storytelling with instructions and prompts for fun exercises. Buy a copy now!
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