Ever wonder why kids have trouble concentrating on rainy days? I mean, when it’s yucky, cold, and gray outside, why should they be distracted from schoolwork? It’s not like they have anything better to do.
Our brains are oxygen hogs. And the more we think, the more neurons are being built, the faster we use up that oxygen. We don’t get enough oxygen for serious brain work just by sitting around in a chair all day. To get enough oxygen to our brain for serious sustained mental work we need to work our bodies. We need to push our heartbeat and breathing out of the resting zone and into the intense activity zone.
This is even more important for kids. Their brains have a lot of building to do. If we want them to actually build neurons and learn something while they are sitting in their chair doing their schoolwork, we have to ensure that the level of oxygen they need is available to them.
This can be a challenge anytime of year, but is often hardest to achieve during those cold dreary months of the year. The lack of exercise tends to build up to a point where are kids are basically just struggling through their work in a trance. As adults, most of us have experienced moments, days, or even weeks of brain fog. In fact, many of us drink coffee to pull us out of that foggy mode.
Kids can have brain fog too. Even though they might not know how to name it or even be aware of it. Getting kids physically moving is one of the most important things we can do support their brain growth and development.
Without further ado, here are a bunch of ways to encourage your kids to get moving so they can concentrate on that schoolwork.
25 ways to Get Kids Moving Indoors
- Crawling around like various animals (spider crawl, snake slithering, monkey jumping ect.)
- Put on a March and have them march around the house. The higher they get their knees, the more this will get their heart beating.
- Skipping in a circle
- Dance the Hokey Pokey together
- (Competition) See who can do the most jumping jacks. (Yes, mom, you get in there too.)
- Falling off the couch, sing or play Humpty Dumpty and encourage the kids to fall of the edge of the couch when Humpty falls off the wall.
- Rolling around on the floor. Encourage them to hold their body stiff like a stick and, staying as straight as possible, roll from one end of the room to the other. (This uses a lot of muscles.)
- Practice a bridge pose
- Teach them to stand on their heads
- Jump on a mini trampoline (the small, indoor, exercise type)
- Jumping Jacks
- Jumping rope
- Running up and down the stairs. (Of course, make sure your stairs aren’t slippery and the child is careful and wearing appropriate footwear to keep this task safe.)
- Push ups. (They might not be fun, but every kid needs to learn how to do them well for solid physical development.)
- Dancing, be crazy, or learn a folk dance with a YouTube video.
- Motion songs, look for songs using big, whole body motions, things you can’t follow along with while sitting down. (Smaller hand motion songs are great for fine motor skills which are also important for brain development, but here we are focusing on raising that heartbeat so we need more of the body moving.)
- Somersault across the room or down a hallway.
- Leap frog. (If you have a few kids of similar enough size.)
- Ring around the Rosy.
- Rough-Housing or wrestling around on the floor.
- Tickle fights
- Pillow fights
- Bounce on a large ball
- Keep a balloon in the air
- Climbing doorways or walls of a hallway
I know these all sound like simple things to do, but they are also very important things to do. And some of them may be things you don’t want your kids doing indoors. I get it. I never shouted for joy when I spied dirty footprints on all my door jambs. But honestly, a bit of mess and chaos is worth it. Sometimes it’s just to cold or muddy to kick kids out of the house. Or they are too young to be outside without us, or you may even live in an apartment without a yard.
It’s okay, none of those things have to keep us from encouraging our kids to get enough oxygen, we just have to remember that a little indoor chaos may be just what the child needs to wake up their brain and be ready to sit and concentrate for a short little while.