Dear Heather … A Question

A reader asked the following question on my blog Coach Mom: Making Up Your Game Plan and I thought I’d put it up front so I could answer it. The question is from Families.com member Tckteacher:

A question rather than a comment. Our days of homeschooling our own children are long over, but I now find myself in a position of schooling a 3rd grade child overseas in a situation where there few available resources and no community sports activities for her to join other than dance – which she is involved in. I am trying as her teacher to put together a P.E. program to meet her needs for physical activity and fitness, but it is difficult to find ideas for a single student who isn’t naturally active to do by themselves – or with her teacher (me.) as there is no one else available. Her weakest points, besides not being very active, are weak fine motor skills and low co-ordination. I’d like to focus on improving these at the same time as helping her make good fitness habits. Any ideas?

Thanks for a great question and I do have some ideas that can help you out. Some of the suggestions require tools like a Playstation and some are designed to be done without. I hope these help you out with your goals for both of you:

Some ways to encourage physical fitness and coordination:

  • Dance, Dance Revolution is a fantastic tool. You need a dance pad and a game system to run the game on, but it challenges the user on a variety of levels from beginner to expert. Kids enjoy the music and the rhythm and competing against the computer. They will develop coordination for keeping up with the moves and eventually they’ll be able to move to it without looking at their feet. It’s a fantastic way to get their heart rate up and it’s fun – you can even do it with her
  • Jump Rope & Hop Scotch – create an obstacle course with common items including balls, jump ropes, chalk hop scotch and more – take breaks frequently throughout the school day and time them as they go through their obstacle course, it can start with jumping rope for two minutes, hopping through the hopscotch, grabbing the ball and bouncing it ten times, then returning over the hopscotch to the jump rope and going again
  • Build slow – dance is a fantastic way for her to get exercise, coordination, balance and flexibility – encourage her to practice her dancing every day (even days she’s not in class) and try to set up an area where she can. We put up a mirror in our daughter’s room so she could dance in front of it the way she does at class
  • Nature Hikes – consider going for a walk every day and doing something educational along the way, this can help build up her endurance and stronger stamina and endurance can make performing exercise easier and more fun – you might also consider playing some sports in there whether it’s tennis, basketball or something else that can be done with just two people and do it just for fun

I hope these ideas help. I don’t know what resources you have, but please check out the related articles below for more ideas on encouraging kid fitness.

Related Articles:

Be the Role Model For Your Kids

Kid Fitness: Play Now; Pay Later

Does Your Child Get Enough ZzzZzzz’s?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.