Now that Summer is upon us, I am grateful that my children have been getting a lot of natural exercise. It just seems so easy this time of year for me to get my children active. What is natural exercise? For me, I believe this to be when children get exercise naturally without having a guided activity. Such as Yoga, swim lessons, soccer etc.
With children growing more and more obese and unhealthy as time goes on, making sure your children get enough exercise daily can be tricky sometimes, but is of the utmost importance.
We need to set them up with great habits, so that they carry them on with them into the future.
How do you create an environment for natural exercise easily? It’s actually rather simple and can be quite cost effective if you are creative, which this definitely allows you to be. If you set up the environment with rich resources, children will just naturally move on their own with their own ideas. Its rather remarkable.
For starters, we purchased a larger trampoline on sale. Honestly, best outdoor thing we have ever purchased. They play on it every single day. They don’t just “jump”. My children play games, add balls, practise dance moves, practise stretches and even use it for imaginative play. (Pretending they are trolls trying to run from the Bergen but the ground keeps moving and bouncing).
Sand. Sand is such an easy inexpensive activity to set up and even though it isn’t huge gross motor movements all of the time, it’s movement. Moving large buckets of sand between each other and building castles and forts, definitely fills that gross motor need.
But filtering sand through a strainer, dumping and filling small containers, moving rocks throughout it with tongs, driving cars in it, cover the fine motor aspect as well. Super multi functional!
Water. I am a huge fan of the water play. If you visit us, we have a larger pool for swimming, a small baby pool for filling watering cans, pails etc., a sprinkler and I have a water table that I will fill with other sensory things such as water beads and or frozen animals etc. This will get them moving as well as keep them cool in the hotter seasons.
Natural elements. This one boggles some people. It is great for a risky type play aspect, which yes they should definitely get to do in a controlled environment. Logs, wood cookies, boards, rocks etc., are all great additions to this area. They can build, climb, move, create and demolish all while using a wide array of muscles and building some very important skills while doing so.
I am a huge fan of the obstacle course. I create them all the time at home and at work. With simple things such as hula hoops, foam circles, tires, skipping ropes etc you can build fantastic courses for them and even better, they can build their own!
These activities are super simple and really do not need any facilitating on your part. Just put out the resources and watch them build and create and engage in exercise naturally. It really is remarkable to watch!
Share below any things that you do to encourage natural exercise with your children.
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