Why is Jumping one of the Best Exercises for Children?
(Knee and Leg mobility)
Jumping is not only fun, it is beneficial as well. It brings physical, health, and educational benefits together. The best part is it is simple and cost effective. Even if you child prefers to play alone, or is not into sports, they'll be getting a pysical workout without knowing it. Leaner, stronger, improved co-ordination and core strength are but few of the benefits of jumping.
Children can jump anytime of the day and anywhere, exploring and learning to control different movement patterns of their bodies. Gaining flexibility and improved posture.
It is always fun to have a couple of hula hoops as these are often used for jumping exercises and to demarcate a target area.
Put a hoop on the floor. Let the child stand in the hoop. Give instructions like: jump forward, backwards, and to the sides in relation to the hoop. Let the child hold a stick in each hand. Let him jump up and down with his feet together and then hit the two sticks against one another. Let him do this activity in this sequence. Count and demonstrate: “Jump 1-2-3, hit the sticks together 1-2-3.” Repeat this sequence a few times. Kicking a ball: Let the child run towards the ball and kick it. The child will copy what you do. Run slowly towards the ball and kick it. Encourage the child to do the same. When he manages this well, one can make a goal post or put a dustbin or some object in front of him, which he must try to kick over with the ball. Let the child stand on a step or a chair. Let him jump off into a hoop on the floor. For older child you can make it more difficult by putting the hoop further away from the step or chair he is standing on. Let the child play games on steps. He can jump up and down in different ways i.e. on one leg or with both feet together. Put a rope on the floor. Let the child walk on the rope, jump over the rope and jump in different ways in relation to the rope. Take the rope at one end and move it fast, for it to look like a snake sailing. The child must jump over the rope. Arrange a few old tyres in two rows, next to on another on the ground. The child can play different games on the tyres, i.e. to jump from one tyre to another or jump diagonally, etc. Put a few hoops on the floor. Let the child jump from one hoop to another keeping his two feet together. He can pretend to be a rabbit jumping from one stone to another across a river. Put a few hoops on the floor in a row. Let the child jump from one hoop to another in a certain sequence. E.g. jump with two feet together in the first hoop, jump with feet wide apart in the second hoop and on one leg in the third. Repeat the sequence to the end of the row of hoops. Let the child skip with a hoop. He must hold the hoop above his head with both hands. Let him swing the hoop towards his legs and jump over it. As the child’s skills improve, he can turn the hoop to go over his head and then jump over it again. Use a fairly large target i.e. a hoop and suspend it above the ground. Let the child lie on his back and hold a ball between his feet. He must now raise his legs towards his chest, bend his knees and kick forward to release the ball to go through the hoop. He must lift his head from the floor during this activity to see where he is aiming the ball; he may not use his hands to support his head during this activity. Tie a piece of rope or elastic to the two legs of two chairs about 15cm above the floor. The child must then run and try to jump over the rope. Let the child see how far he can jump with his two feet together. He must run up to a certain point and then jump; measure the distance. Let two children “sit-lie” on the floor with feet against one another, lifted from the floor. They lie on their backs and must also keep their heads lifted from the floor during this exercise. Let them try to push one another away by pushing only with their feet. Jumping exercise: Place two hoops on the floor, touching each other. Let the child start by standing with the left foot in the front hoop and the right foot in the back hoop. Bend at the waist and place hands on floor. Then he must jump in such a way that he will end up with his left foot at the back and right foot forward. Let him do this repeatedly. Let the child lie on his back with you standing a distance away from him, facing him. He must lift his head to see when you throw a beach ball for him. Let him try to kick the ball back to you with both feet. He is not allowed to support his head with his arms during this exercise.