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5 Playground Exercises for Busy Parents

5 Playground Exercises for Busy Parents

As a busy parent, you may find it difficult to get to the gym. Actually, that previous statement isn’t entirely true. You do find it difficult to get to the gym – at least on a consistent basis. But does that mean your exercise has to be limited to chasing toddlers around the house? Not exactly. There’s one place your children can play and you can simultaneously get exercise: the playground.

Think about it. While the playground is designed for children to swing, slide, run, and jump, it has a number of elements that are actually pretty conducive to staying in shape.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these playground exercises so you can get fit while the kids have fun.

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1. Monkey Bar Climbs

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    (Photo by Jeff Kubina)

    As a kid, you probably loved the monkey bars. However, you probably never realized they’re actually a very effective piece of exercise equipment. Monkey bar climbs can be performed by starting on one end and climbing to the other side using just your arms and hands.

    While your goal in the beginning should be to simply complete the climb from one side to the other, you can eventually make it more challenging by limiting your swaying and consciously keeping your core stable. It’s best to use a playground with rubber mulch, as opposed to other surfaces, since this material has a much better fall height rating.

    2. Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups

    Monkey bars
      (Photo by Matt Brown)

      Another classic playground exercise is the pull-up or chin-up. Not only are these extremely effective at building upper body strength, but it’s easy to find something to use. Some playgrounds actually have pull-up bars meant for this very purpose, while you may have to use monkey bars or some other playground element to achieve this workout.

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      If the bar is made for a child – i.e. too close to the ground – simply bend your legs at the knee. Try to get in as many sets of 10 as you can – alternating between pull-ups and chin-ups as you go.

      3. Swing Set Squat

      6960361487_72d6730fed_k
        (Photo by Giggles for Lisa)

        Here’s an effective lower body workout. Find a swing set and stand with your back to the swing. Now tuck one of your legs behind you on the swing. Point your other foot straight in front of you and your hands directly on your hips. Now lower yourself into a squat position. As you squat, your back leg will glide further back and you’ll feel like you’re doing a half split.

        4. Jungle Gym Push Up

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          (Photo by Dan4th Nicholas)

          While you can always do a traditional push up anywhere near the playground, add a level of difficulty by doing an angled push up on a jungle gym or playground ladder. Stand arms-length away with feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the bar at chest height and keep your back straight. Now, bend your elbows until you’re a couple inches from the bar. Extend back up and repeat.

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          5. Bench Dip

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            (Photo by Edi Hargett)

            Too many kids on the playground and don’t want to interfere? Head back to the bench and do some dips. Simply stand with your back against the bench, and grip the edge with your legs extended in front of you. Lower yourself until you’re a few inches from the ground and then slowly push back up.

            Have Fun at the Playground!

            When it comes to being a good parent and staying fit, you shouldn’t have to compromise. There are ways to effectively multi-task and enjoy the best of both worlds. While the playground may be where your children enjoy spending an hour in the afternoon, it’s also somewhere you can get a good workout in.

            Try out these creative exercises and don’t be afraid to come up with a few of your own.

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            Featured photo credit: Matthew Paul Argall via flic.kr

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            Published on November 7, 2018

            How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

            How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

            In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

            The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

            Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

            How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

            After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

            Figure Out the Laws

            Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

            The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

            Decide on an Approach

            Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

            Supplies/Resources

            Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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            A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

            Find a Community

            Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

            Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

            7 Different Homeschooling Methods

            1. School-At-Home

            Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

            The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

            • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
            • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
            • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

            2. Classical

            One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

            Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

            3. Unit Studies

            Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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            For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

            • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
            • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
            • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

            4. Charlotte Mason

            This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

            Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

            5. Montessori

            Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

            With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

            6. Unschooling

            Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

            For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

            7. Eclectic/Relaxed

            As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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            Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

            How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

            One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

            Email

            Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

            It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

            Google Drive/Calendar

            Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

            With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

            Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

            Ebooks

            Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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            E-Courses

            When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

            From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

            The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

            Some recommendations:

            Youtube

            Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

            Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

            Some recommendations:

            Final Thoughts

            Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

            Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

            Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

            Reference

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