No Yard? No Space? No Problem
By Nike Training
Three ways to keep your kids active with limited space.
Keeping your kids active, without a lot of space, just takes a bit of creative thinking. In this article, Karen Santesson, who runs the Everybody Moves activity program at Nike World Headquarters, takes you through her top recommendations to keep kids active, healthy and engaged while indoors.
If you’ve ever done an NTC workout, you already know that all you need is a space the size of your body to get most of your training done. And your kids? Well, they’re smaller than you—which means you truly don’t need much room to get your whole family moving.
So in the absence of a big backyard or a large, open area inside your house where your children can run around freely, try these tips from Karen Santesson, a supervisor at Nike’s Child Development Center who runs the Everybody Moves activity program at Nike World Headquarters. By nature of rainy Portland, Oregon weather, movement often happens in small spaces indoors.
01. Build designated activity stations.
A bunch of tiny spaces can add up to one big space, says Santesson. For example, you can designate specific areas around your home for your kids to perform a certain activity, such as jumping jacks by the front door, running in place in front of the fridge, or downward dogs next to their bed.
You can make it a one-time game: Your kids choose from a deck of cards at each station to determine how many reps or seconds they’ll need to move, and maybe they bear-crawl or side-step (instead of sprint) from station to station. Or turn the stations into a regular routine by asking them to do the exercise for 30 seconds every time they find themselves at that particular place in your home. If they’re not initially sold on the idea, Santesson recommends doing the activities with them—consider the extra movement a bonus workout for you.
"If they’re not initially sold on the idea, do the activities with them—consider the extra movement a bonus workout for you."
Karen Santesson, Nike Child Development Center
02. Make a contest out of stationary exercises.
Kids rarely like staying in one place, Santesson says, but now is a great time to teach them that they can still get out all their energy in one confined spot. Put down yoga mats or create body-size squares on the floor with tape to make clear visual workout boxes (one for you and one for each of your kids). Show them a few simple exercises—mountain climbers, scissor jumps, or any moves from the For the Whole Family Collection on NTC—and tell them you want to see who can do 10 of each first. Then let them know they’ll win points by not just winning the race but also by staying within their borders.
03. Include your kids in daily “moving chores.”
Feeding the dog, vacuuming, watering plants—all these minor tasks involve movement, and there’s no reason to exclude your little ones from them. At least once or twice a day, bring your kiddos along for any safe, feasible activity where you’re on your feet in the confines of your home, says Santesson. Add some fun into the mix whenever you can. For instance, shout, “I’ll race you to the kitchen!” or let them carry the water bowl for your eager pup so they get excited too.
“Children learn best with repetition, so turning even these little, daily activities into part of their routine now will go a long way later,” she says. And guess what? You don’t need any space for that.