Young children can best increase their muscular strength and endurance by playing—like hanging from monkey bars, climbing jungle gyms, and swimming in pools. But when you’re competing against video games, computers, and other sedentary devices, it can't hurt to add a few more clever muscle-building methods to the mix. The following games require only two people—one of them could be you!
Bean Bag Hockey Prop: Bean Bags (You can make your own by filling a tube sock with dried beans) or a small ball.
Game: Partner 1 holds the top part of a push-up position (Arms are extended and knees are off the floor). From a few yards away, Partner 2 slides a bean bag across the floor. If the bean bag goes through the arms of Partner 1, it counts as a point. Next the partners switch roles. Partners keep track of their points, trying to get the highest score. But if your desire is to minimize competition between the partners, you can pose the following challenge: How many goals can you two score as a team during a two-minute song? Can you score more than 25? (A small ball can be used if sliding is an issue).
Bean Bag Grab Prop: Bean Bags (You can make your own by filling a tube sock with dried beans) or a small ball.
Game: Both partners get into a push up position facing their partner. A bean bag is placed on the floor an even distance away from each player. On the word ‘go’, both players try to grab the beanbag and return to the push up position. If a player touches the floor with any body part other than their hands or feet they lose the point. Players keep track of their points, trying to get the highest score.
Crunch 'N' Score Props: 10 Lightweight balls and/or stuffed animals and 1 hula hoop.
Game: Partner 1 lies down in a sit-up position while holding a ball or stuffed animal toy. (Knees are bent). Partner 2 is standing at the feet of Partner 1, holding the hoop overhead. Place the toys near the sitting partner for easy access. Partner 1 tries to toss each ball through the hoop while performing a sit-up. Each player get 10 turns before switching roles. The Bean Bag Hockey scoring also applies here.
See Saw Squats Prop: Music
Game:The partners face each other, with a few feet between them. They can even hold hands if they'd like. Legs are hip distance apart. An adult starts the music. The partners take turns performing a squat. (Bend your knees like you're sitting in an invisible chair). The goal is to not get caught in a squat when the music stops. There is no scoring procedure for this game. Squatting is just naturally funny to kids. (You may hear a few sound effects).
The one thing all these games have in common is FUN! Young children, especially, need to associate physical activity with play.