My name is Camber Barko. I am a Marketing and Development Intern at Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS). I am thrilled to join the marketing and communications team at CIS, not only because this directly correlates with my studies at Florida International University with a major in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications, but because I have a passion for kids.
As far back as I can remember, I have always enjoyed staying active and learned, from my own experience, the value in maintaining an active lifestyle. As part of our new blog series, I am excited to connect these two passions of mine—physical health and kids!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 6-17 should be participating in about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This is very important because child obesity has become very prevalent in the US, about 13.7 million children are affected by obesity. Not only will physical activity help reduce child obesity numbers but it will also help students improve academically, increase school attendance, assist with cognitive performance and classroom behavior.
I personally choose to stay active by riding my bike and participating in outdoor activities like long walks and hiking. Although I do these activities for myself, I know life during the pandemic is different and challenging. While parents are working, helping with virtual learning, and so much more, maintaining exercise and outdoor time may be difficult. We have gathered a few ideas for you to try at home.
Create a bingo sheet with simple exercises (here is a link to sheets that you can reference). Each time a token is placed on a space the child will do the exercise under the token. This activity keeps the brain active when looking for the correct spaces on the bingo sheet while staying active.
Take your kid to a simple trail near you, a park, or even your back yard. Give them a list of things to find while they are on the nature walk. This will get your kids excited to look for the items and help to keep them entertained throughout the walk.
List ideas include: 3 rocks of different colors, 3 twigs of different sizes, a fluffy cloud, a furry animal, a spider web, a flowerpot, a leaf, a bird, a bug that crawls, pine needles, etc.
If you have a little extra time and space, set up an indoor bowling alley. Use plastic water bottles or anything you can find in your house that can act as bowling pins. While this activity is not educational, it will definitely keep your kids active and entertained for a long time.