- Kristen Bellamy - Kidtivities
5 physical and (shh!) educational games For Toddlers to Tweens
While we’re all being super moms (working full time, teaching and entertaining our kids full time, cooking 7 meals a day because apparently that’s what happens now…), it’s easy to forget about the physical activity part of our kids’ day. Its super important to incorporate fun, easy and educational physical activities into their daily routine to keep your kids active and engaged. And let’s be honest – sometimes mama just wants to sitervise during these activities because we need a break too (For those that aren’t aware, here is the definition of sitervise: A pre-planned activity for your kid that allows you to sit and supervise them through play).
Check out these 5 active and (shh!) educational games to incorporate into your daily routine. The best part? All 5 activities take minimal setup, use materials you have around the house and are adaptable to kids aged toddler to tween!
Materials Needed for all 5 Activities:
· Painters Tape (Life Size Maze & Painters Tape Obstacle Course & Alphabet Run)
· Printable Flash Cards: Action Words (Life Size Maze)
· Printable Flash Cards: Alphabet, Animals, Popcorn Word and/or Colours (Alphabet Lava)
· Chairs, Stools, Place Mats, Paper, Pillows or Mats (Alphabet Lava)
· Measuring Tape (NFL Combine)
1. Alphabet Lava
I don’t know what it is about kids wanting to play games that involve death-defying stunts, but as soon as you mention the words ‘Don’t Touch The Lava’ shrieks of excitement are sure to follow. An added literacy lesson and your kids will be none the wiser!
How to Play:
· Set up "islands" around the room with things like stools, pillows, place mats or whatever you have around the house. They should be set up close enough so your child can jump between them
· Toss your letter printables randomly around the islands
· Call out different letters and have your child jump from island to island without touching the lava to retrieve them
·⬆️For Bigger Kids: Add a challenge by having the kids find the letters to spell out words from their literacy homework ⬇️For Toddlers: Simplify the activity by switching out letters for colours or animals
2. Alphabet Run
My kids love scavenger hunts - Anything having to do with running and finding things, really. This bodes well for my husband and I when we send them on ‘scavenger hunts’ to retrieve snacks and/or the TV remote.
How to Play:
· Create age-appropriate flashcards (for preschoolers, single letters work great- see below for other ideas ⬆️⬇️) and stick them to the walls in various places around the house
· Start by determining a word that your child can spell with the letters hidden around the house (in our case, we did each of their names)
· Your job is to yell out the letters that your kids are responsible for running and finding
· Have them bring each letter back and sound out/spell out the word as you go
⬆️For Bigger Kids: Add a challenge by using Parts of a Sentence (ie. write each word from a sequence of sentences on each flashcard and have your child try to find the secret message as they search for each word and put the sentences together)
⬇️For Toddlers: Simplify the activity by switching out letters for colours or animals
3. Life Size Painters Tape Maze
Mazes are a fun, critical thinking activity to incorporate into any home schooling routine. I love activities where kids can learn without even knowing that they’re learning. And it’s especially great when these activities can also involve burning excess energy.
How To Play:
· To make your life size painters tape maze, its easiest to start with a large box around the entire space, then map out your maze, start to finish and end by adding dead ends and obstacles
· Cut out flashcards with different action words, such as walk backwards, jump, hop, dance, roll, crawl
· Have your child flip a card and complete the maze while doing the action (ie. If he flips 'jump' he must jump through the maze)
⬆️For Bigger Kids: Get them involved by having them create their own action cards and maze
4. Painters Tape Obstacle Course
Here’s that painters tape again. We go through A LOT of painters tape in our house. I can’t help it. It’s just so versatile. This simple obstacle course gives way to so many creative uses and (secret) educational lessons, it’ll have your kids occupied for hours.
How To Play:
· Obstacle 1: Set up simple lines at different distances apart and practice your long jump.
Lesson Example: Trajectory & Force - Do you jump further when you run or stand still? What happens if you try to jump from a seated position?
· Obstacle 2: Set up tape beams with straight lines, zigzag lines and curvy lines.
Lesson Example: Balance, Gross Motor, Measurements - Can you hop, jump and walk on one leg too? Measure each line with a measuring tape. Which line is longest? Which line LOOKS longest?
· Obstacle 3: Set up a silly painters tape 'laser beam' maze.
Lesson Example: Agility, direction, pace - Is it easier to go over or under? Left or right? Fast or slow?
5. NFL Combine Your Kid
My husband gets credit for this one. He was missing sports so decided to bring the NFL Combine home – by using our kids as guinea pigs and testing their strength, agility, speed and size against real NFL players. The kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching it (if you want a laugh, encourage a 3 year old to bench press his little sister). It was fun all around!
Stats to Measure:
· Arm Length
· Hand Length
· 40 yard dash time
· Vertical jump height
· Broad jump
· Bench press