Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exercise the Fun Way

Yeah, I finally get a "day off" from all my volunteer responsibilities, well, most of a day anyway. (I have a PTA meeting this afternoon, but that's another subject.)

What I'd love to talk about today is how to exercise the fun way.

For some people that may be running races, for others it's hiking or kayaking.
Those are all good, outdoor, fun activities, but they are not the way our family chooses to have fun exercising.

For us, exercising the fun way is making up a new game outside, usually with a ball.
I'll give you two examples of games we have made up (obviously, the possibilities are endless.)

Football catch/deck basketball:
OK, for this game you'll need a soft football (like a Nerf one) and a short basketball goal.  We have a nice back deck that we played this game on too.  You need at least 3 players - 2 competitors and 1 judge.  Player 1 and 2 throw the ball back and forth to each other.  If you catch it, you get 1 point.  When someone catches the ball, both players run for the deck.  Then comes the confusing part (remember this game was made up by a 6 year old and an 8 year old, which makes the rules rather interesting).

If player 1 catches the ball and makes it to the deck first, they can try to throw the ball into the basketball goal.  If they make it, they get another 6 points.  Player 2 (the one who did not catch the ball) can "block" the goal by running over to it and putting their hands across it.  That stops player 1 from scoring those 6 points.  Additionally, if player 2 makes it to the deck first, they have stopped player 1 from getting the chance to score and have held them to their 1 point.  We played to 40 points.

Clear as mud?

So what is the judges job in all this?  Well, as usual, when two siblings make up a new game and try to play it, fights usually happen.  That's where the judge comes in.  The judge declares when a catch is made (sometimes those are subjective decisions, especially based on the children's ages and athletic skill).  The judge also rules on who touched the deck first.  The judge can also call a "re-do" in case of a tie.

We played this game many times over the course of an afternoon and everyone got a chance to be the judge (and take a little break from all the running!).  And the rules did evolve over time. 

Playset basketball toss:
We are so blessed to have an awesome new playset in our backyard.  The set is 3 levels.  When you are a 6 year old boy, what is the most fun you can have up on the third level of a playset?  Why, it would be to throw things off of it, of course.  So pretty soon a little game came from that.

To play this you need a high structure, a ball and a basketball goal.  We used our smaller, plastic, portable basketball goal, the same one as in the game above and a round red ball - red, so we can see it better (at least that's what David told me).  Player 1 goes up to the third level with the ball and tries to throw it down into the basketball goal.  Player 2 is on the ground and gets to chase after said ball when it, most of the time, doesn't make it into the goal, but rolls down the hill that is our yard.  Then player 2 tries to throw it up to player 1.  After several attempts, player 1 catches it and the process starts over again.  Player 1 gets 5 tries to make it into the goal, then they must trade places with the other player and give them a shot.

With my kids, this game goes on forever and not many goals are made, but they don't care.  They are running around and having fun.  Julie even made her own pulley system out of jump ropes just for this game.  Instead of tossing the ball up to the person on top, they now put it in a loop at the bottom of the jump rope and pull it up.  Just another way her imagination gets a workout along with her body.

Making up games, creating solutions to "problems" encountered while in those games - all those things involve your brain and your imagination.  So not only do we make up new games to get exercise the fun way, we also exercise our brains that way and learn to be creative in problem solving.  My kids are very imaginative and I love it that they use it in this way.

Clorox 2 has declared September 24 to be Worldwide Day of Play to turn off the TV and play outside.  Visit this link: and pledge to play outside!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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