RVA Parenting: Keeping your kids moving

RVA Parenting: Keeping your kids moving

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Running out of clever ideas to keep the kids busy and entertained? You don't have to turn on the TV just yet.

We went to the experts for some good ideas to get your kids moving.

Kelly Ferguson is a fitness instructor with American Family Fitness and a speech and language pathologist.

"I believe it's important to stay active with your kids because in order for children to learn, they need to explore the environment around them," said Ferguson. "They need to learn turn-taking skills, team-work or team building, playing outside, or playing with other children actively teaches them leadership skills. It teaches them to be creative. It's all around just one of the best things that a kid can do for development."

Play is also a good way for your child to work through some of his or her emotions.

"They try to deal with understanding why mom's paying attention to another child or sibling, or why they have to follow directions, or something gets taken from them for a safety reason," said Ferguson. "All these emotions build up and there are only 2 ways children can get these emotions out and one is by tantruming and the other is through active play.

"If you can get a kid outside or you can get a kid even inside, playing, sweating, yelling, laughing, they can get all those same emotions out in a very positive way," Ferguson continued.

So, what can you do to encourage play?

Ferguson says to consider a scavenger hunt, hide items around the house, give clues and let the kids hunt. Make "roads" with colored tape all over your floor or furniture.

Play "animal games," pretend to be an animal and give them a route to move as that animal throughout the home. And when in doubt, grab some chalk!

You can explore letters, numbers, coordination- draw a path the child has to hop and jump and follow. Or create a game where you have to race back and forth.

Many schools are cutting back on recess games, but that doesn't mean you can't play them at home.

And help your kids use their imaginations! Could a toy car be a bug crawling up their back?

"Pretend play involves taking an item that may or may not be what the child is pretending it to be,"
explained Ferguson. "So, for example, you know, they might pick up a book and hold it to their ear and pretend that it's a telephone  and they're using their brain and their creativity to come up with these different types of games."

Consider a family walk at the park. You might write a check list and have the children spot the items on the checklist during your visit.

Maymont has all sorts of activities and trails. So does Rockwood Park, where you can get on the playground and trails. Forest Hill Park has a great playground and lake.

You can always explore the river, Belle Isle and Pony Pasture.

Inside, try Skyzone. There is even a toddler time! There is a playroom in Chester.

"For families who live in areas where there isn't much access to gyms or places like Skyzone or Jumpology, Sports Backers has a program called the Warriors Program," said Ferguson.

"These people volunteer to teach free classes in communities where they don't' have access to those things and they teach classes, everything from Yoga to boot camp to kick boxing. And it's all family friendly. They encourage people to bring their kids."

If your kids are a little older, you might need an older scene. Walking through Church Hill, the Stairs at Libby Park or even Hollywood Cemetery can make for a fun afternoon.

"Richmond is full of all kinds of history and for our older kids who are bored and maybe looking for something fun to do you could go out to Hollywood cemetery. You could spend hours in Hollywood cemetery just looking around and just looking at all the different historical things that are there."

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