Recently, both my boys’ bubbles burst – at nursery and at school. I found out on a Sunday, one a few hours after the other. Someone in their bubbles had tested positive for Covid-19 and as a result, they had to self-isolate for 14 days.
You only realise how long 14 days is when you have to stay at home with your children. They will literally climb the walls and destroy everything. Including your sanity.
Government guidelines recommend that preschoolers (4 and under) get at least 180 minutes (3 hours) of physical activity a day. So how do you pull this off when you’re stuck inside, in a London flat, with no garden? Believe me, I had many opportunities to experiment with this.
It was rare that managed this in a way that I was happy with. Yes, the kids weren’t spending lots of time sitting down, but they weren’t doing the running that they’d normally do. So I had to get inventive. Over the two weeks, we did a mix of the following to keep kids active at home – some really got the boys moving, others were as successful as salad for dinner (in my house at least):
As as big fan of obstacle course races, I’ll be the first to encourage my kids to crawl under nets or plunge into muddy pits. However, it’s not quite the same at home. Depending on your tolerance for mess and chaos, you can still get them moving in a variety of ways. We made tunnels from toyboxes and chairs with blankets thrown over them, soft landings from all the cushions on the sofa, roly poly arenas (a length of space they had to roll along), slides (stairs that they slipped down on their bums, or head first)… the limits lie with how messy you’re prepared to get your house and your propensity for risk.
This one also often requires parent participation and supervision, so don’t expect to be able to sneak off for a quiet wee.
I’ve never seen a child sit still when bubbles are around. A pot of bubbles can get a child jumping and laughing for a long time. It becomes less fun when they want to blow the bubbles themselves. Automatic bubble blowers can also be a win, and you can get large bottles of bubble liquid from Amazon and other toy shops.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Psychedelic backgrounds, fun stories and resilience techniques are squeezed into these yoga adventures. These were the longest workouts I found that kept both my boys interested (my 4 year old loved doing them, my 2 year would alternate between watching and joining in) and at a lengthy 30 – 40 minutes, there’s enough time to enjoy a cup of tea and do some important tasks. Or, you can join in. Each yoga session is themed and while there’s different types of sessions, we found the Cosmic Kids were the best as they got straight down to business. The compilations and quests didn’t hold their attention.
Andy’s Wild Workouts
We know Andy best for his Dinosaur Adventures which my boys are a huge fan of, but it seems as though Andy is also helping kids get active with his short workouts. They’re animal-themed, exciting and fun, although if you expect to steal a moment or two to get some work done, think again – they’re incredibly short, approximately 7 minutes long. In one sitting though, we managed to get through about 5. Make sure you’ve got your sweatbands at the ready!
You can find these on the BBC iPlayer as well as the CBeebies channel on YouTube.
This is what they often play at my son’s school. Because he was familiar with it, he enjoyed doing it – to begin with, but it definitely lost its appeal a few days in.
Joe Wicks PE Lessons
We saw millions of school kids and parents join in Joe Wicks’ PE lessons over the first lockdown so I thought that if he managed to get all those kids moving, maybe he’ll get mine moving too. But no. They were screaming NO even as the search results for his workouts were appearing on the screen. To be honest, I’m not a fan either.
For me, the best results came with Cosmic Yoga – not only were these quite lengthy, but they also kept my little ones interested. Whatever you decide, encouraging your kid to exercise and getting them to enjoy it, is a fantastic gift, so make sure it’s not a chore to do. And where possible, join in the fun!
Got any other ideas for how to keep kids physically active during self-isolation? Let me know in the comments!