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Getting your kids moving with fun games at the park

by Katie

I am a stay at home mom, with two young girls, ages 3 and 5.  About a year and a half ago my husband and I joined a gym, and our family’s lifestyle changed dramatically.   We went from a sedentary lifestyle to one where we enjoy finding ways to move and breathe and play.

One of the things that I have fallen in love with in the last 4 months or so is Yoga.  I attended a class most Fridays and have also tried out a few hot yoga classes, and even an anti gravity class.  I do yoga at home as part of my stretching routine for running and my girls have been picking up on some of the moves.  They started to play around imitating me and we discovered that this is something we can do together in a playful way.  This past weekend we were at the park and I was feeling tight after a very long run and thought, “you know why don’t I take the kids up to that grass hill and we can do a bit of yoga”.  The girls thought that was a great idea, and we soon found ourselves on top of a little grassy hill doing mountain pose, downward dog, cobra and some triangle.  I am so very far from being an expert or even remotely qualified to teach living things yoga.  But as a mom, I can certainly ‘play’ yoga with the kids just as if we were playing kitchen or school.  We bend and try to hold our balance and make a game of it.  We are moving and breathing and having fun.

We have even made up a ‘yoga balance’ game that we play with their friends.

The idea is I show them a balance pose (I really don’t know the correct names) like Tree, Airplane, Star, and Pelican and if a person’s foot touches the ground they are ‘out’ and have to sit down.  The last one standing wins the game.  I love this game, and so do the kids!  Let me tell you it can get pretty giggly.

I have one more game to share that goes over really well with the kids.  Its one I like to pull out when I am tired and not feeling too limber (like after trying out anti gravity yoga LOL).  We play it in the park, where there is lots of room to run and play.  I give them tasks to perform kind of like in circuit training.  I will give them an instruction and the first person to complete it wins that round.

The tasks are things like: -find me 5 pine cones -find 2 big sticks -take a stick and draw ‘blank’ in the sand -do 2 laps around the picnic table -crab walk to the tree and back -do 3 slides etc….

I love the challenge of coming up with fun ‘tasks’ on the spot and they for some reason seem to love running about completing the tasks.   This game gets them good and tired and ready for some ‘quiet’ time when we get home.

I love taking bits and pieces of what I am learning in my own fitness training and sharing it with the kids.  Getting them moving and sweating and having fun.  Most of all, I like that I am able to run about with the kids now without feeling like I am going to fall over.  That I can be  ‘fun Mommy’ in the park.  All though truth be known I am still pretty guilty of bringing a book and indulging in a teen vampire novel. But at least I feel less guilty if I can mix in a bit of ‘game’ time too.

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