This little game is similar to Rock Paper Scissors. To play: Put on some music and have the kids dance around. When it stops they should become a rock ( squat down with your arms over your head), a tree (wave your hands above your head) or a house (form your arms in an upside down V over your head). Rock breaks house, trees grow out of rocks, and houses are made out of trees.
It was pretty easy to homeschool in Illinois even way back in the age of the dinosaurs when I began homeschooling. The law just required me to teach several basic subjects and that the students should receive an education in these subjects at least equivalent to public schooling. I wasn’t too nervous about teaching the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but PE? That kinda freaked me out.
How was I supposed to teach my kids about square dancing and dodge ball when there were only two of them and a baby? The YMCA was out of our one car family’s ability and the local school district wasn’t very homeschool friendly. I did manage to hook up with a homeschool group that occasionally offered group PE classes, but for the most part, there wasn’t a whole lot available.
Then it occurred to me that the whole reason for PE in schools was because educators recognized that the structure of sitting still all day was actually harmful to the student’s health. The purpose for PE was to get kids moving and it actually doesn’t do a very good job of it. Most of what I remember of PE was standing on the sidelines waiting for my turn to play! Physical Education is very important, but like most things homeschool, there is a better way! You’ve just got to think outside the box.
I started watching what my kids were doing. Instead of being tied to a desk all day, they were outside, riding bikes, climbing trees, playing tag and trying to turn the swing set over! And then there were animal chores which required lifting heavy buckets, shoveling snow, cutting and stacking wood for our wood furnace, etc. The amount of movement they were getting in was so much more than their traditionally schooled friends. I really didn’t need to worry. We did get them into Little League so they would have some experience in organized sports, but other than that, we pretty much let them do their thing and wrote it down.
However! This was all before the internet and 24/7 kid’s programming. Don’t get me wrong! I love all the choices available today for quality kid screen time, but it has its dangers! My geeky grandson had to have his computer banned for a while because he started getting really pudgy at the ripe old age of 7! Unless you don’t do screens (and I know you do or you wouldn’t be reading this), you probably need to be on guard. You and I both know how easy it is to get pulled into that dreaded computer time warp! To get your crew up and moving, take a break from screen time every half-hour. Set a timer if you have to and require that everyone get up and do something physical for at least 10 minutes and make one of your phys ed breaks 30 minutes to an hour each day. Here are some ideas to get you and your kids moving!
- Jump rope! You can get in some extra memorization practice by having your kids jump to the syllables in the days of the week, recite math facts or jump to each letter of their spelling words.
- Create cheers to memorize things like math formulas or Bible verses.
- Look up outdoor games played by children in the past and play them.
- Show your kids different dance styles and try to learn the steps. Exploring dance from different eras and cultures counts for history too!
- Take a nature walk – combines PE with science!
- Clapping and marching to a beat are good exercise and count as music education too.
- Have a jump day! Encourage everyone to jump instead of walking.
- Play tag.
- Garden! Digging, weeding, and harvesting food all involve lots of physical activity.
- Do the YMCA with your kids!
- Put signs with the names of different types of music around the room such as Jazz, Rap, Classical, Rock, etc. Throughout the day, put on a song from one of the categories. Have everyone dance to it and then run and touch the sign that has the type of music on it.
- Put cushions on the floor. Have your kids pretend to swim in the ocean as you play some music or some “wave sounds”. Then turn it off and tell them a big storm is coming and they need to get to an island (the cushions)
- Go swimming.
- Make snowmen or snow angels.
- Learn to juggle.
- Play Twister.
- Crumple up a piece of paper and blow it around on a table with a straw. If it goes off the table on your side, the other guy (or team) gets a point! Builds hand-eye coordination and gives the lungs a workout!
- Climb a tree.
- or a rope.
- or a rock wall.
- For an easy tambourine, decorate a heavy paper plate. Then punch holes around the edges and tie jingle bells to them with yarn. You can even make a big hand hole if you want. Wrap the handle with yarn or ribbon. To turn it into a timbrel, Stream some ribbons through the holes you tied the bells too. Then dance! Music, art, and PE all together!
- Let your kids twinkle! Have them do “star jumps” by jumping up and extending their arms and legs out as far as they can when they come down. Then jump up again and come down with their arms and legs pulled in. Set a timer for 15 seconds. Ask them to see how many times they can “twinkle” before the timer goes off.
- Run in place.
- See how many jumping jacks you can do in 60 seconds.
- or some crunches.
- or some pushups.
- Have a tip-toe day.
- Everyone go outside and pretend you are airplanes. How fast can you go?
- See how far you can jump.
- Summersault across the room.
- Learn to do cartwheels.
- Walk on your hands.
- Blow up a balloon and keep it off the floor for as long as possible.
- Throw a ball into a box. Have different distances away for each child based on their ability.
- Hop like a bunny.
- Slither like a snake.
- Walk like an elephant.
- Shuttle run. Put 4 objects on the opposite side of the room. Run over to them, pick one up and run back to the other side of the room. Put it down and then run for the next. Keep track of the time it takes to get all 4 objects and try to beat it the next time.
- Make a balance beam from a 4×4 and walk on it.
- Walk with a bean bag or a book on your head.
- Play Freeze Dance. Put on some music and everyone dance. When it stops, everyone has to freeze in whatever position they are in until the music starts again.
- Do a workout video.
- Play a physical Wii game.
- Take classes in dance, karate or gymnastics.
- Go to a gym and work out.
- Participate in community sports at the Y or at your local school district (if they allow it).
- Play tennis.
- or ping pong.
- Go hiking.
- Do a squat build: start with whatever amount of squats you are comfortable with and add one, or five or ten a day for one month.
- Lift weights.
- Do the limbo!
- or the twist!
- or the funky chicken!
- Work on the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge.
- Shoot some hoops.
- Play catch.
- Do some back bends.
- When reading aloud, instruct your kids to jump as high as they can when they hear a certain word.
- Go bowling.
- Sprint between telephone poles, driveways or the end of the block.
- Jump on a mini-tramp.
- Do pull-ups.
- Find a treadmill at a local garage sale and actually use it for exercise!
- Ride a bike.
- Go skateboarding.
- Ride a pogo stick.
- Makes some stilts with large cans and stilt walk.
- Do some archery target practice with homemade bows and arrows.
- Participate in charity walks and runs.
- Hula hoop!
- Go roller skating.
- or ice skating!
- Have a sack race.
- or a three-legged race!
- Climb on a jungle gym.
- Build a fort outdoors.
- Do some yoga.
- Crab walk!
- Pretend you are a seed and then grow, grow, grow!
- Play Follow the Leader.
- Go outside. Blow up balloons and tie them to three-foot strings. Then tie the strings above your knees. Have everyone try to break each other’s balloons. Last one with an intact balloon is the winner!
- Build an obstacle course and run it!
- Play hopscotch. Mix it with math by jumping out the answer to a number sentence.
- Do a fitness treasure hunt. Leave a direction such as “do 10 jumping jacks” along with directions to the next fitness treasure station. Have several stations like “stand on your tiptoes to the count of 30”, “do a cartwheel” and “run in place for one minute”.
- Have a wheelbarrow race.
- Put some painters tape on the floor and walk on it. Use straight lines, circles and zig-zags.
- Workout with resistance bands.
- Make a painter’s tape maze and have your kids try to navigate a ball with their feet all the way through it.
- Shoot some hoops.
- See how many times you can dribble a ball.
- Set a timer and wiggle while you giggle!
- Bounce on an exercise ball while in front of the computer.
- Run up and down the stairs. Be safe! Use the handrail!
- Play hacky sack.
- Play keep away. Set a timer for those who aren’t as skilled so they have a chance to be out of the middle.
- Lay on your back and keep a ball in the air with your feet.
- Make a physical activity cube by taping 6 pieces of cardstock together. Write activities on each side and toss. Detailed instructions here.
- Play leap frog.
Got any other ideas? Let me know!
God Bless You All!
~ Grama Sue
I’ve seen these contraptions before, but I’ve never known what they were for. The other day I figured it out! I was at a park when I saw this:
At first I thought maybe it had something to do with alien spacecraft, but there were several of these around the park. Some with the distance to the next “hole”. Then I found one that said something about “flying disc golf”. It occurred to me that perhaps this was some sophisticated frisbee game, a yuppie version of the lighthearted hippie game I played years ago.
I started seeing people walking around with rectangular book bags. As I watched, one of them pulled a frisbee out of a bag and threw it. I was right! I tried to quiz a couple of guys who were playing about it, but they looked at me weird and moved on. Then as I walked further, I saw a young couple with a baby and a friend who were playing. They were friendly and told me all about the game.
In their bag were more than a dozen frisbees each a little different from the others. Some a little bigger, some harder or softer, some just a little different shape. Each frisbee is used in a different type of situation, much like golf clubs. Who knew?
They also explained that the game was scored in a manner similar to golf and this basket with the chains was the hole. The chains “catch” the frisbees and drop them in the basket.
Have you ever heard of this game? And if you have, have you played it?
God Bless You All!