I’ve got a 1 year old. She is the most social and active 1 year old ever, I’m sure of it. She NEEDS interaction with other kids, NEEDS to be running and climbing and go-go-going. She can’t be the only one, either. On top of that, so many kids are normally playing sports, have PE class, or go to places like the park to use up some of that seemingly-never-ending energy, but we need to be careful for our little ones and for those among us who could be more severely affected by this pandemic.

On top of that, exercise and/or gross motor play is so important to keep our little ones’ bodies strong while they grow, as well as improve their response to stress (like viruses, parents being worried about viruses, etc), and help their minds stay sharp, too (exercise improves blood flow to your brain & helps you focus & learn)!

I am sure every mom reading this is thinking (among many other thoughts), “how am I going to get this kid’s energy out when we’re stuck at home all day for the next… who knows how long??”

Well, gross motor (whole-body) play is my sort-of expertise, as a pediatric physical therapist. I am GOOD at getting kids good and tired with running, obstacle courses, dancing, and Olympic-type competitions.

So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite resources (and some recommended by other Austin Moms bloggers)!

  1. Obstacle Course – This can be made with almost anything in your home. I love to take the cushions off the couch, use our laundry basket for climbing in/on (depending on size of kiddo), throw a blanket/sheet over some chairs for crawling under, use big books for stepping stones/floor is lava. You can put multiple books in a row for a balance beam! There are really endless ways you can vary this activity, depending on what you have available at home. Some more ideas could be found at:                                                – Playing And Learning Begins at Home
    Fun and Function
  2. Home Olympics! Again, this is one you can change up in so many ways. Anything can be an Olympic sport. Some ideas include:
    – Races: sprints, egg-carry, three-legged, running backward or sideways, etc.
    – Hopping on 1 foot
    – Long jump
    – Push ups
    – Plank
    – Wall sit
    – Discus using paper plates
    – Incorporate the obstacle course into the Olympics!

    Activity Village has some printables and more ideas on opening & closing ceremony, if you’re willing to go all-out!

    Dinosaur PT also has some great ideas that may require more specific equipment, but if you’ve got it they would be fun!

  3. Yoga – This is one that you can do without ANY equipment at all and it doesn’t take up a lot of space! You could easily search youtube for fun videos to do together, but I’ll link a few & other resources I like here:

    – Cosmic Kids Yoga – including this Frozen-inspired yoga practice!

    – Also Going on a Bear Hunt, also by Cosmic Kids
    Kids Yoga Stories has free printables, yoga games, and a card deck.

  4. Kidzbop Zumba – Did you know there are Kidzbop zumba routines for free on youtube? This was recommended to me by a fellow Austin Moms blogger, as her daughter does these at school. What a fun way to change up the physical activity for the day!
    This one is 30 min long and has a bunch of songs in a row
    – Or you could go song by song, for instance – Can’t Stop the Feeling
  5. Simon Says – I know this sounds silly and simple, but it is a simple way to change up the normal routine for exercise! Just pick a bunch of physical activities and give it a go! For instance:
    Simon Says: Do 10 jumping Jacks
    Do 5 sit ups
    Spin around 3 times
    Hop on 1 foot for 30 seconds
  6. Mommy and Me workout – There is a PLETHORA of these type of videos on Youtube, as well; ranging from mommy & infant to whole family (all ages), with yoga, dance, or cardio-inspired themes. Some fun ones I’ve found include:

    Dinosaur themed Mommy & Toddler

    Mommy & baby postpartum workout
    Mommy & me yoga workout

What other ideas do you have for at-home P.E./exercise for your family in the next few weeks?

Photography: Lauren Samuels Photography

Lauren Samuels is a Michigander who was eager to move away after graduating from college in 2010. In the past 10 years, she has lived in Florida, California, Nevada and now in Texas. She worked in professional sports for most of her adult life until becoming a SAHM in 2018 after the birth of her daughter, Amelia. She is married to Zach who is her best friend. Their family moved to Lakeway in June 2019 and quickly fell in love with the area. Lauren discovered her passion for photography while capturing special memories of her daughter. She is now a natural light, lifestyle photographer over at Lauren Samuels Photography. She specializes in family, maternity, newborn, fresh 48 and everything in between.


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