24 Fun Family Physical Fitness Ideas

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At the beginning of the school year our kiddos were enrolled in numerous extra curricular activities.  Dinomite was taking a gymnastics class, participating in a bowling league, and was getting ready to start swimming classes soon.  Bulldozer was taking tennis lessons, swimming lessons, and participating in a bowling league.  Princess was taking gymnastics and dance classes.  She was about to be enrolled in karate class as well.  Sunshine has physical therapy once a week. She was about to be enrolled in swim classes for tots and gymnastics.

Part of the reason for all the extra curricular activities was to ensure my kiddos were being social.  After all, how many people comment on the lack of social skills homeschoolers have? Not that their claims are true, but I didn't like hearing the comments.  Another reason for the extra curricular activities was to fulfill P.E. hours our district requires. Mind you they were getting in far more than they needed to.

After a month of trying to balance all of these activities, despite homeschooling, I realized a few things.  We were never home.  There was no family time.  I was exhausted.  Our house was trashed.  My husband and I weren't getting any exercise because we were running the kids everywhere and sitting in a waiting area.  Our big fun plans for the kiddos weren't working.

How did we end up enrolling them in so many activities?  Our city has fabulous options for kiddos with special needs.  There is a sports center just out of town that offers unlimited activities to special needs kiddos for just $5 a month.  They offer tennis, gymnastics, soccer, martial arts, and so much more.  Our local YMCA offers free swimming lessons to all 7 year olds. An entire year free!  We didn't want to pass up such fabulous opportunities.  All of them sounded so good.

Over the past two weeks, my husband and I pondered, and prayed, and studied, trying to figure out what we should do.  There are many good things in life.  But then one must decide what's better and best for their family and self.  We decided to stop all extra curricular activities.  Surprisingly the kiddos weren't at all upset.  In fact Princess, in particular, is doing fabulous since the change.

Instead of extra curricular activities, we're planning play dates and family fun activities.  Instead of watching kiddos exercise from a distance, we're all exercising together!  All of us are loving it.  It didn't come easy at first though.  Finding fun activities that the entire family could participate in for physical education requirements was challenging.

It took a few days, but I was able to make a list of 24 different activities all of us could do in the comfort of our own home.  I didn't want to have the activities be dependent on the weather.  I didn't want to have to load everyone up in the car and go to the gym or anywhere else for that matter.  We have enough space in our living room if we move the ottoman, and voila!  We are all becoming more healthy together!

What are we doing? Here's the list!

1. Play Hide N Seek-Use the whole house or just one floor, it depends on the ages of the kiddos.  I gave up on the no running in the house rule a long time ago.  Perhaps it's because my first two children were boys, one very sensory seeking.

2.  Have a Dance Party-It doesn't matter what kind of music,  create a free Pandora Station and dance the time away.  Believe me, you'll sweat!

3.  Animal Movement Races-If you don't have a large area, plan a route for the race through a few rooms in your home.  The crab walk is always a great one to start with, add slithering like a snake, frog jumping, a bunny hop, etc.  Let the kids call out which animal to be next.

4.  Create an Obstacle Course-Use couch cushions, tables, blankets, etc., whatever you can find.  One of the activities could even be doing the army crawl underneath the bed to the other side.

5.  Circus Games-There are so many to choose from.  You could juggle, do a ring toss, target practice, etc.

6.  Balloon Games-Try to keep the balloon up in the air with your head, your feet, your shoulder, while doing the crab walk, etc.  Play volleyball using a balloon, or any number of games. The balloon is soft and gentle enough it won't break a window.

7.  Follow the Leader-Give every kiddo a turn.  Go through the whole house.  Have the parent start first so they understand all the physical movements they have as options.

8.  Hula Hoop Activities-What a blast! We did this Monday.  How many things can you think of doing with a hula hoop? We practiced jumping, holding it with our toes, climbing through it, the typical games, etc.  My husband can't wait to do this again. Lol.

9.  Rope Activities-Grab a jump rope or two.  How many ways can you use it. What skills can you practice?  You'll definitely be working hard.

10.  Ball Activities-Once again, how many different ways can you use a ball, besides throwing it, which is not allowed in our house.  (Bulldozer's aim is too perfect.  Dinomite's aim is the opposite.)

11.  Gymnastics-If the floor is too hard, grab a mattress off one of the kid's beds.  Practice forward rolls, backward rolls, stretches, head stands, and even cart wheels if you have enough room in your house.

12.  Yoga-Our library has fabulous yoga books for kids and adults.  Check one out, learn the poses and take your kiddos through all of them.  My kiddos really enjoy this.

13.  Relay Races-Clear a space, practice the wheel barrow race, the three legged race, etc.  Wheel barrow walking provides such great muscle strengthening and sensory input.  Again if you don't have enough space in one room, mark out the track you want them to follow using several rooms.

14.  Bowling-You don't have to have a bowling set.  Make one.  It can be as simple as soda bottles or cans.  Grab a ball and go!  Have a family game or two.  Keep score.  

15.  Pillow Fight-Boxing is a little rough, but having a pillow fight, with a few rules, is the ultimate fun for any kiddo (and adult)!

16.  Go for a Walk-This is the only activity on the list that requires you to go outdoors.  I figure unless there is thunder and lightning, high winds, or a blizzard, it should be possible.  We have the kiddos go a on a themed scavenger hunt at the same time so they're focused on that, rather than the walk.

17.  Sports Charades-Write down as many types of sports as you can. Create teams.  Have the kiddos act each one out.  Make it more difficult by using a famous player, team, etc. for older kids.

18.  Table Top Games-Try Ping Pong, Shuffle Caps, Three Penny Hockey, etc.  Your dining room table will work perfect. If you don't have a net, just draw a line with a white board marker or use tape that can be easily removed.

19.  Sock Wars-Make a line in the middle of the room.  Place several rolled up socks on the line. Separate into two teams, one on each side of the line.  Then, throw socks to your heart's content until the timer goes off. See who has less socks on their side.  Play a few rounds.  Tons of fun!

20.  Twister-If you don't have the board game, use colored clothes, paper plates, or just plain colored paper for that matter.  If you don't have a spinner, make little folded up pieces of paper that can be drawn to be given for directions.  Make it as simple or as difficult as the ages permit.

21.  Balancing Activities-Practice walking across the room with a book on your head.  Put an egg (plastic) on a spoon.  Try the penguin walk. Then of course there's the balance beam and more. Just use tape on carpet, or a white board marker on the kitchen floor.

22.  ABC Exercise Cards-There are many option to choose from.  I personally love the ones from Chasing Cheerios.  Grab a couple of dice and roll them to determine how many seconds you'll hold the pose or how many times you'll repeat the exercise.

23.  Parachute Activities-Grab a flat sheet from the closet and go to town.  Add items, take away items.  Practice going under, etc.  It's amazing what one can do with a sheet.

24.  Sports Jeopardy-This isn't an activity that will get your heart rate up, but it's part of physical fitness.  I figure once in a while, it should be a lot of fun, as we learn about different sports, especially during the Olympic season.

I'll be back soon with our latest learning time activities. We've had so many fun activities out of the classroom that we continued with our apple theme for two weeks.  Then, just as I planned on moving forward with pumpkins and Halloween, I felt impressed we needed to learn about something else.  I love the flexibility homeschooling provides!

If you have any other family physical fitness ideas, please share in comments.  I always love adding variety!

6 comments:

  1. Great ideas! I especially like the ABS exercise cards. This list is a helpful resource -thanks!

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  2. These are great ideas! We love dance parties here...we used to have them every Friday night and now we just have them randomly whenever. And our parachute gets a lot of use too.

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  3. I hear ya on running around and trying to load up kids, missing cooking dinner, having dinner and just outright feeling frazzled. I love that you guys decided to switch things up and exercise as a family, kudos to you!

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  4. Great ideas, and very adaptable to travelling as well. Thanks for sharing with Mom's Library, I'll be featuring you this week at Crystal's Tiny Treasures.

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  5. Oh my goodness - what an amazing list of ideas! Thanks for sharing with the Love to Learn Linky. I've scheduled this post to share on my FB!

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  6. Very interesting ideas. The good thing is that I almost done everything on the list, which is good, hahahah. fitness

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