I’m happy to have Sharon Picone, founder of Sleep Metro, guest posting on the blog today!
Active play is a parent’s best friend. It develops kids’ physical fitness, confidence and motor skills, ensuring a good night’s sleep for kids—and parents! Any of these ten activities will have your kids quickly falling asleep.
Pro tip: Always follow active play with a calmer activity (like reading or a warm bath) to prepare kids for bed.
Driving saves time, but walking tires your children. It’s great exercise, it may be adapted to little legs, and doesn’t need special equipment. Model healthy habits and togetherness by walking as a family. Harness the competitive urges of older kids with games like Pokemon Go or Fitbit.
- Water Sports
Swimming, whether in the pool, beach or river, is a great energy burner. Ensure an adult is always supervising! No pool? Turn on the sprinkler! Set your kids loose with water balloons. Younger kids enjoy exploring depth and volume by pouring water from one container to another.
- Seasonal Activities
Encourage your kids to play outside with seasonal activities. It ensures that they receive vitamin D that is essential to sleep. Visit the beach in summer. See baby animals at the farm or zoo in spring. Go hiking in fall, and ice-skating or sledding in winter.
Schools, recreation centers and community centers have team sports for all ages. Don’t want to invest in uniforms? Join forces with other Moms with children of the same age as your kids. Meet at the local park one afternoon a week for a friendly game.
- Equipment Play
Balls, cycles, hop-scotch, elastics, hula hoops and skipping ropes don’t require charging after use—but your kids will. Set up an obstacle course with the aforementioned items. As children master one set of skills, challenge them with countless variations. Search on Youtube for tips to take play to the next level.
- Gymnastics and an Obstacle Course in Your Garage
Park your car in the driveway and clear space in your garage for a gymnastics extravaganza. Lay a mattress on the floor and encourage your kids to practice forward rolls, backwards rolls, cartwheels, handstands and tumbling. Older kids can try somersaults.
Arrange items as an obstacle course: use pillows, jump ropes, chairs, paper cups (for kids to zig zag in and out of), balls and small tables (to crawl under).
- Create a Maze
Using painters tape or flag tape at different levels across a hallway, create a maze that forces kids to squeeze through or slither under the tape and let your kids work their bodies and imaginations.8. Indoor Playgrounds
8. Indoor Playgrounds
If the weather’s bad and space at home is limited, visit a mall or restaurant with an indoor playground. To ensure your kids get the most out of their visit, come up with a challenging obstacle course over the play equipment and time them.
9. The Floor is Lava
When your kids can’t play outside, make your house the playground. Set cushions on the floor, and let your kids jump from one to the other. Combine with tag to expend more energy, or simply let kids enjoy navigating your house without touching the floor.
- Scavenger Hunts
Malls and supermarkets are great places to burn energy in bad weather. Turn shopping into a scavenger hunt by getting older kids to find items on your list.
- Dance and Musical Chairs
Turn up the stereo and let your kids get down. If your kids need guidance, try The Wiggles for little ones. Older kids can spend hours rehearsing dance routines found online. Pro tip: Search music videos for appropriate content and ideas.
An old favorite from when I was a kid is a game called “musical chairs.” It was especially popular at kids’ parties. Set up chairs in a large circle. Be sure to have one chair less than the number of kids. So for 10 kids, you’ll set up only 9 chairs. Play music and then suddenly turn it off. Remove a chair after each round until you have only 2 kids and one chair. The last kid standing is out. This game is best with a larger number of kids and is guaranteed to tire them.