Run, and Run Some More!
Running is an excellent activity anytime you are looking to help improve your child’s cardiovascular endurance and most everyone is able to do it from a young age which makes it a perfect kids activity! When we work on running we like to vary the time and distance run in order to challenge the different energy systems (slow glycolysis, fast glycolysis) so we are developing a well-rounded mover. The goal is not simply to send our kids out to run around but instead to intentionally challenge their different body systems so they are able to develop and reach their full potential. The more we challenge the body, the better chance our children have to become healthy, thriving adults!
The activities listed below will require some space to run, a ball, and a park or a forest for a hike!
When doing this activity you will want some space to run! We like to go to the bike path so we are able to simply keep moving forward and alternating between running and walking but this could also be done on the sidewalk or the park! After each sprint have your child take a short walking break (:30-1 minute) and then continue to the next sprint. The goal is not to go all out at the beginning and then be too tired to continue at the end but instead to be consistent throughout each round. Try to encourage your child to get the same distance for each time allotment!
We can call this one a mini trail run! Head to your local park or woods and play follow the leader. One person leads the “team” (or just your family!) for 1 minute and then the next person in line becomes the leader and the leader goes to the end. I like to mix things up with my kids and encourage them to change the type of movement they are doing every 10-15 seconds (jogging, sprinting, walking, lunging, climbing, etc). This type of activity, when done in a new environment and over ground that is not flat and even, can broaden kid’s ability boxes and help them to transfer skills from simple (solid ground) to complex (uneven ground). The more we challenge kid’s abilities the better suited they will be for whatever life throws at them!
Tabata time! The benefit of a tabata is that you move quickly and it easily keeps the kids engaged! Today’s tabata has the kids doing high knees (bringing one knee at a time up to 90 degrees) and a shuttle run.
For the shuttle run you will need to make 3 lines, starting line, mid line, end line. Kids will be at start line, sprint to mid line and touch with their hands and then sprint back to start line. Then they will sprint to the end line, touch with their hands and sprint back to start line. This equals 1 shuttle run. Not only do these runs work on cardiovascular endurance, but they also work on agility and help kids to practice making quick and efficient turns every time they touch a line!
Make sure to have some water on hand for this one and have fun!
From sprints to endurance runs, we are trying to vary our approach and help kids to broaden their movement capacity. Today’s activity is focused on endurance and will test your child’s ability to keep moving even when tired.
Because this activity depends on the size of your house, you can vary the amount of times they need to go around the house as well as the amount of rest they get. For every lap around the house, increase their rest so they have adequate time to recover. The goal is not to sprint but instead to keep a steady pace that they can continue even when doing 3 or 4 laps around the house. Their pace for lap 1 should be similar to when they are doing 4 laps.
Encourage your child to continue moving the entire time even when getting to the final rounds. They will be tired but help to set them up for this be discussing what they can do BEFORE you begin the run and have them come up for a plan when their brain is telling them to stop! They CAN do this!
Everyone loves a good relay! Even if you don’t have separate teams, taking turns to complete the activity can be a lot of fun for kids. Bonus if you can do the activities together as a family and have parents vs. kids! This is my #1 motivator for kiddos who are feeling reluctant to participate in an activity! When we get involved, they naturally want to do it - unless they are teenagers, that’s a WHOLE different story!
Today’s relay will have your child doing a variety of movements from a sprint to a bear crawl to kicking the a ball. The goal is to help them have fun while also challenging them in a variety of different movements in order to expand the movement capabilities.
Have fun with this one and add a few more movements if you think of them!
Get outside with the family today and play a game together! A few fun options are a game of kickball, you just need a ball and something to act as bases, or a home run derby which just needs a ball and a bat and a “homerun” line! You can adjust the playing fields and expectations on both these games in order to meet the needs of your family!
In kickball you can place the bases closer in order to decrease the level of the game. Have each person bat a certain amount of times before switching in order to eliminate the need for “outs”!
For a homerun derby, determine a certain amount of pitches each person will get and match the distance for a homerun according to your child’s level of ability! A homerun shouldn’t be easy to get but also not impossible – somewhere in the middle is perfect!
Have some fun together as a family and instill a love for movement into your every day life. Remember, when you move, they move. Let’s build a strong foundation of movement for our kiddos!