All summer, they have been running free. They crash into bed at the end of the day, and you feel good knowing they ran, swam, biked, climbed, and swung all day long. They are experiencing movement, releasing energy, and developing their physical capabilities. School returned, and so did the structure of sitting in class. Perhaps they still enjoyed some grass and sunshine on an after-school walk or bike ride. But now the leaves are mostly fallen, and the time change means that most kids will stay inside after school. Even the weekends won’t draw them outdoors like they used to.
But what can you do to ensure they are still experiencing the things their bodies and minds need to stay balanced? In this blog, we’ll offer helpful ideas to get creative and embark on an indoor movement adventure with your child.
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The Importance of Movement for Kids
The importance of movement for both adults and children is profound. It is vital that young children are physically active every day. Physical activity plays a significant role in a child’s development. Research suggests that promoting movement and activity in young children can help increase memory, perception, language, attention, emotion, mood, ability to fall and stay asleep, and even decision-making.
We also know that movement and cognitive development are positively linked–meaning that children need opportunities to move so that they can learn. Even in the first year of life, rolling and crawling help build the brain.
5 Ways to Inspire Indoor Movement
The winter months are challenging for both kids and adults. While we have coping mechanisms as adults, kids need help inspiring ways to release their energy and move their bodies even when they can’t play outside.
- Blanket forts get kids thinking, building, crawling, and moving in the horizontal plane. Moving in the horizontal plane is so important for proper development. Did you know it helps with children’s coordination and emotional flexibility and decreases rigidity? So, gather up all the blankets and pillows you can find and let them build a fort. Throw some stuffed animals into the pile of supplies, and their imaginations will flourish!
- Play-Doh on the kitchen floor will keep kids lying and moving in that horizontal plane. They may find the Play-Doh easier to manipulate while on their belly. Did you know that kids with decreased core strength often struggle with fine motor skills? When the body doesn’t need to focus on staying upright, the hands will have increased motor skills. So, let them lay on their bellies while creating! Let’s be realistic – it all ends up on the floor anyway!
- Homework time needs a twist! Some writing homework can be done while lying on their bellies. Those boring spelling words could be recited while doing jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, or circling the kitchen table on a scooter. Keep things exciting and keep things moving! It will feel like less of a chore for both of you.
- Cooking and Baking will fill your home with great smells and your child with coordination and confidence! Haven’t you ever mixed a batch of cookie dough until you feel your arm will fall off? That is exercise! Employ the help of the kids! That mixing strengthens bilateral coordination (use of both hands). Also, measuring, lifting, pouring, and climbing the step stool in search of the hidden cinnamon are all ways to incorporate movement into a sedentary day. Everyone feels good after making - and eating - a tasty treat!
- Paper cup bowling is for those nights when you wish you had the motivation to take the whole family to the bowling alley, but the temperatures outside and the howling wind keep you in for the evening. Let the children stack the cups in whatever formation they like and then take turns bowling them down with a tennis ball. Take it from me; they might end up just playing stack the cups and creating castles. They might decide to see if they can blow them down from across the room or if they can blow them down one at a time without letting the others fall. They might want to see who can create the highest castle! Mental note: buy paper cups in bulk!
A little creativity is all it will take to get the kids moving.
Support for Children and Families
Whether it’s the idea to inspire blanket forts in your basement in January or the coping skills to help your teenage child with anxiety, BLOOM is a place for possibilities.
Our resources gently direct you to research-based answers that empower you to take action. From anxiety to attachment to conversations with teens, we’re here to help. Schedule a 10-minute discovery call with a Bloom consultant and learn what this platform offers.