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If the grandkids are visiting and you can’t get out to the mall to walk or you’re looking for something a little more active to “shake the wiggles” out of them and keep yourself in good shape, here are some grand fun ideas – starting with this awesome cool ball they can climb in and through! Now I do have to preface this with saying these are intended for those of the Sandwich Generation who are in reasonably good physical condition. If you are not sure, ask your doctor first. My doctor would tell me I’m not doing them enough!
DODGEBALL – A smaller ball than the climbing ball, but just as much options for fun! Works for all ages from 2 on up. Have all but one person stand in front of some kind of wall. We like to do it in front of the garage door. Have the person who is IT take a ball (One of my favorite ways to save money – I use the grocery store plastic balls of any size. They are soft enough they rarely hurt, cheap, and great fun for a variety of games.). IT tries to throw the ball at one of the other players. When they get hit, they are then IT. It’s important to remember with the little ones that they have very short attention spans. So it’s up to grandma or grandpa to make sure all get to be IT regularly.
I get in a little aerobics exercise and give my grandkids a sporting chance by trying to get them as if I was playing handball. I whack at the ball with my hand and it goes all over the garage wall. This requires more exertion than just throwing the ball. Thus I get more exercise and my grandkids don’t get out as quick. Just be careful not to whack too hard in their direction.
TAG – There are several variations of the old beloved game from our childhood. Our current favorite is a takeoff of a game we play at our Awana’s meetings which is a take off of the video game, PacMan. The person who is IT has the ball. He has to try to touch one of the others with the ball. No one is allowed to run but walking fast is fine (there’s those aerobics again). You must, however, walk only on the agreed upon lines. We have enough lines and cracks on our driveway we just use those. If you don’t have enough, you can use outside chalk to draw your own lines. You can make them in a circular pattern, a square pattern or any pattern you want. Then everyone has to walk on those lines to get anywhere. Of course, the younger the child, the more often they’ll get excited and forget to stay on the lines. Depending on the child and how the game is going, you may choose to exercise a little grace there. One of my grandchildren has added an extra dimension to our game. He prefers to ride his little scooter car around in the area we are playing. If he is in our path, we have to turn around and go back the way we came, just like the video game. It definitely makes it more fun and challenging.
Hairy Ball CATCH – My granddaughters and I love to play Hairy Ball Catch. Amazon has a couple of different urchin balls similar to what we have, though ours is rounder and more ball, less hair. If you type in the words Hairy Ball, they actually have those in stock. The one below may no longer be available at Amazon, but you might be able to find it elsewhere. Any of these would probably work well. I got mine at Target or Wal-Mart for about $6. The great thing about this type of ball is that it is much easier to grab onto than most normal balls. So even the 2 year olds can usually catch this ball. We have so much fun throwing it to each other. Generally they like to throw it to me and I then throw it to the next one. That keeps us all on task and makes it easier for the little ones to catch it. When you do miss the ball, I highly recommend running to get it. Thus you get in some extra exercise while having lots of fun .
FLYING DISCS – All my grandchildren and I love a good game of tossing a flying disc around. There are so many varieties available now, starting with the most famous one, the Frisbee, and, for the most part, they are all very affordable. One of my favorites, which I picked up at the airport (not so affordable there!), is a soft rubber flexible one that is only about three inches in diameter. It is great for playing in the house on a rainy or snowy day. It’s soft enough it would be very difficult to break anything. Again, most of the exercise with this game comes from chasing it when you miss catching it.
GRAND TIMES AND GRAND EXERCISE – I remember reading an article when my kids were young that recommended playing with your children to help you stay in shape. That is just as true for grandparents as it is for parents. Not only that, these make a fun addition for your grandkids’ homeschooling programs. Have fun trying these out. Do write and share your favorite game/exercise with your own grandkids.