Combine Exercise and Math for Learning and Fitness Fun. Really!
Today’s post is part of our first Active Kids Week. For all of the special content for the week, click here!
When asked about your favorite childhood memories, odds are they probably don’t involve doing math. But they may involve playing with friends in the summer, sports activities with friends and recess during school. And while those activities may not look like math at first glance, the subject may have been involved more than you think!
Carrie Scheiner, creator of Exploracise, an exercise DVD for kids and parents, had the brilliant idea of combining math with exercise to get kids moving and learning. Research shows that multi-sensory learning techniques improve recognition and recall, so why not get kids active at the same time?
“It’s all about getting kids to put down the video game controllers and to get off the couch,” she says. “We owe it to our kids to start them off in life with healthy habits that we never learned as kids. As adults, we had to teach ourselves to work out and eat healthy. It wasn’t something that most of us learned when we were young. With this approach, you can help your kids develop intellectually and physically, as well as help them establish healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
We agree! Here are a few tips for combining math and fitness for a brain-to-toe workout!
3 Tips for Adding Math to Fitness
1. Count along. It’s not just about counting to 10 when you touch your toes. There is so much more you can do when your kids are having fun. It can be as simple as having them do the same thing you do—like sets of 12 repetitions of any exercise—and then have them add up all those sets when they are done. It will help them get comfortable tabulating simple equations in their heads.
2. Shapes can be healthy. When I was a kid in gym class, they made us do arm circles, but there are so many other shapes that can be explored. Triangles, rectangles and even more complex geometric shapes can be combined with exercise in a variety of ways. Be creative and don’t be content with your kids using their arms like windmills. Make it fun for them, and it will help to create healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime.
3. Scavenger hunts. Hide and Seek is a time-honored game, and with a little twist, you can use it to make math and healthy eating fun. Hide some healthy foods around the house, and set your kids to the task of finding them, but write down the calories and fat for each healthy food. When they find them, have them match up the foods with the numbers.
Cute tips for the younger set, for sure. I love the idea of using different shapes in exercise—why do a boring box step when you can do a pentagon step instead? —Erin