Children are created to be in motion! A fundamental right of childhood is to move – to run, jump, climb and dance, yet children are confined in small spaces more and more. Instead of moving they sit, they watch, they wait, and wait, and wait – it’s no wonder they’re so full of energy that it explodes out the first chance it gets!
The best place to release energy is outdoors, where children can be loud and exuberant. Children should be encouraged to play outdoors whenever possible. Ride bikes, roller skate or blade, hike, blow bubbles and chase them, have races, etc. Visit parks and playgrounds so your child can explore new places and experience new challenges. Find open spaces where your child can roll down hills, climb on rocks, dip his toes in water.
Here are some more ways to encourage your child to move and expend some of that boundless energy, all of which can be done outdoors:
Games: Children love games! Not only do they learn how to follow rules and get along with others, whole-body games let them release energy. Younger children can play Duck, Duck Goose, Ring Around the Rosie, and London Bridge while older ones will enjoy Red Rover, Hide and Seek, and Red Light, Green Light.
Drama: Encourage your child to act out familiar stories like the Three Little Pigs, The Billy Goats Gruff, and Jack and the Beanstalk. Or encourage them to make up their own stories that involve lots of movement.
Dance: Put on music and encourage your child to dance along. Or find music for favorite traditional dances like the Hokey Pokey, the Mexican Hat Dance, the Chicken Dance, or even the Macarena! When Z-Man and I-Matt were younger they loved doing the Chicken Dance at home, and were thrilled when it was played at a wedding dance!
Exercise: Children can jog, do jumping jacks and toe touches, and even do yoga right along with you! There’s a wide variety of workout videos available online and in local stores.
What’s your child’s favorite way to release energy outdoors?