Players take turns leading others through a series of exercises (jumping, skipping, marching, lunges, running, arm circles, etc.).
promotes balance and agility; strengthens bones and muscles of the lower body
Supplies needed: chalk if playing outdoors, painter's tape if playing indoors; small stone
Set-up: Start by making the hopscotch court either on a sidewalk or basement floor. The court has eight squares and one semi-circle. The first two squares are single squares with the second square centered above the first. The third and fourth squares are side-by-side centered above the second square. The fifth square is single and is centered above the third and fourth squares. The sixth and seventh squares are side-by-side and centered about the fifth square. The eighth square is single and centered above the sixth and seventh squares. The semi-circle goes on top of the eighth square. Label the squares 1 - 8 starting with the first box outlined.
How to play: The first player tosses the stone into square one. If the stone falls outside of the square then the player loses his turn. If the stone falls within the lines of the box, the player proceeds through the course hopping on one foot for the single squares and a straddle position for the side-by-side squares. The player does not hop in the square with the stone. The object is to make it through the course and back without hopping on a line or losing balance. On the way back, the player picks up the stone. If the player completes the course then he tosses the stone into the next numbered box. The process is repeated until the player either completes every square or throws the stone outside the box, hops on a line or loses his balance. If a player loses a turn, he starts his next turn where he left off. The winner is the first person who completes a full course (hops through all eight squares).
Fitness benefits: promotes balance and agility; develops reflexes and reaction time, and can elevate heart rate to beneficial levels
Supplies needed: chairs and a music player
Set-up: Chairs are lined up in a row. Use one less chair than the number of players.
How to play: One person plays the music while the other players walk around the row of chairs. When the person in charge of the music turns it off, players must find a chair to sit in. The player left standing is out and a chair is removed. This pattern is repeated until only one player claims the last remaining chair.
Exercise doesn't have to be of the traditional type to get benefits. Participating in childhood games is a fun way to "sneak" physical activity into your child's life. Other games to consider include four square, tag, and duck, duck, goose. Be creative and keep an open mind. If you make physical activity enjoyable for your child now then he/she will be more likely to pursue an active lifestyle as an adult.
Do you and your family have a favorite way to exercise together? I would like to hear about it. Please post a comment below.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.