Saturday, July 12, 2014

Encouraging movement for tweens

For my younger kids, it has always been pretty effortless to encourage movement. With no video games in the house and no TV in the living room, and lots of encouragement to be outdoors, they played hard all day.

Somewhere around 9 or 10, things changed. They became very project driven. My son became very passionate about building models of military machinery and learning about the related history. My daughter has became passionate about sewing and duct tape crafts. I love this age! It's all so very awesome to watch them completely on fire about whatever it is they are into! AND they sit a lot. When the little kids ask them to come play, it's like overnight they forgot how to do it. They don't want to run around in the yard or play pretend. That almost blows my mind because I remember not so long ago when they could spend hours doing those things. But no longer.

And my 12 year old seems to have made yet another shift. He lives so much in his head that it is sometimes tricky to even get his attention. He's listening to stories, writing his own stories, and drawing. No movement there.

Now that I am enjoying the benefits of daily exercise, I am looking at my older kids and thinking, "Hmmm.....these two need some movement in their lives!"

I have had all the same thoughts about this dilemma as I had when I tried to find a good way to exercise myself. I looked into sports and other organized forms of exercise. Swim teams are meeting every morning at 6am for practice and on Saturdays at 6am for meets. We lived baseball season for three kids one summer. Literally lived it. It's all we had time for. Dance or gymnastic tuition x4 kids--yikes! A gym membership for the family--expensive. Really we'd rather be outdoors as much as we possibly can, so we aren't even likely to use a gym membership for much of the year. With all the information I gathered, I decided that surely we can get started on this without a huge commitment of time or money.

So my husband and I are inviting the big kids to join us in our exercise. My son is taking bike rides with my husband. My son and daughter both are joining me for yoga in the evenings. I'm showing them how to use the hand weights safely and how to do sit ups, push ups, squats, etc. My husband is working with my son on learning to do yard work and including him in building projects.

I continue to look for ways to encourage movement. I want to make some changes in the playroom. My little girls are not really into toys. They are more into BIG movement, like climbing, jumping, running, swinging, biking, skating, etc. So I am looking into gym equipment that we could use in our playroom when outdoor play is not possible. Maybe a climbing rope? A balance beam? Gym mats? Maybe the big kids would also enjoy some of these things too.

I'm still working on this! Any thoughts on how to encourage movement and active play for tweens?