The facts are undeniable – kids today are spending more time each day on homework and less time being physically active. The debate rages on between parents, teachers, school boards and even kids themselves as to whether or not the excess amount of homework helps, or actually hurts a child’s grades.
With more time spent doing homework there is less time for physical activity. With new studies out seemingly everyday raising concerns about obesity levels and our kid’s inactivity, I thought a post with some ideas on how to combine homework and physical activity would be a great start.
Basketball Study: Play a game of basketball. Whenever your child scores a basket, ask them a question based on what they are studying. If they get it right they get an extra point! Afterward, enjoy a healthy snack together.
You can also do this with hockey, baseball, soccer or any other sport your child enjoys.
Treasure Hunt: Create questions on the the topic your child is studying and turn it into an active treasure hunt. This is a great way to study for tests.
Create index cards with questions on them and hide them around the yard. Set a time limit (so your kids have to run) and have them bring back the questions. Have them read the questions and if they can answer the question the get a point.
For younger children who get weekly spelling tests, you can hide letters and have them run around to collect them and unscramble them into their spelling words. Or you can write half the word on one index card and half on another, and have your child collect them and put them together, customize to your child’s age and skill level.
Questions and Crossroads Walk: have a list of study questions prepared to ask your child and head out for a walk. Every time you reach a crossroads, ask your child a question. If they get it right, they get to choose which direction you go, if they get it wrong, you get to choose. See where you end up, hopefully somewhere fun like the park or another of your kid’s favorite places.
Study Breaks: When your child is doing homework set a timer. Every ten or fifteen minutes get up and jump around, do some light stretches, put on a fast song and dance like crazy, have a hula-hoop or jump rope nearby. I use a mini trampoline for my study breaks.
Simon Says and Spell: Playing “Simon Says” is a great way to study and be active with younger learners. Incorporate spelling questions or math questions (whatever your child is studying) into “Simon Says” Instructions.
To Play “Simon Says” One person is Simon and he/she gets to give instructions for others to follow. If Simon tells you “Simon Says:” then you must do it. If they give instructions without saying “Simon Says:” first then you do not do the action. For example: “Simon says spell CAT” then the child would spell CAT. If you say “Jump up and down” then the child should not do the action because you did not say : “Simon Says jump up and down”. This is a great way to include instructions for physical activity and homework review.
Study Freeze Tag: A good group review game. Play freeze tag as normal, one person is IT and runs around tagging others. If you are tagged you are “Frozen” The only way to get unfrozen is to answer a question correctly that the adult gives you, then you are back in the game.
It takes some pre-planning and adult involvement to incorporate physical activity into your child’s homework routine, however the pay off in learning and health are worth the effort. children learn easier and retain more if they are actively learning. Why not have an older sibling or caregiver help with active study?
How do you incorporate homework and physical activity into your child’s routine? Please share your ideas below!