Exploring Fitness Fun from Around the World
Getting to get out and stretch, run, jump, and play is one of the best parts of any kid’s day, and this fact is true all around the world. The time for exercise is an important part of growing up. Not only does it improve physical health and overall fitness, it helps increase concentration and socialization. Sometimes, especially in this fast-paced technology driven world, kids get bored and want something new to do. The swing set may not hold the same appeal, their interest in baseball may have changed, or any other number of distractions can grip a child’s attention, and they may not want to go out. Why not inspire them with a new exercise from another part of the world? They can get physically engaged again, while learning about another culture!
Here are some sports and physical activities from around the world for families to learn and connect together over:
- Cricket is popular in England and India. This very old sport resembles baseball, which means it is good for older kids or easily modified like tee ball for younger children. There is a pitcher’s mound, an infield, and an outfield, but shaped like an oval rather than a diamond. The cricket bat is shaped a little differently, as it is flatter, and there is a wicket where baseball has home plate. Similar to baseball, it has innings to keep track of the game. Learn more about the competitive history between the English and Indian cricket teams, and then step up to the wicket and play ball!
- Tai chi comes from China, and is a style of martial art that focuses on three areas: health, meditation, and martial art. It promotes physical well-being, a calm mind, and includes self-defense elements. This slow-moving workout emphasizes balance and low-impact movement, so it would be easy to do inside on a rainy day. Videos teaching basic movements are free to find online, making it an easily accessible way to get some exercise in, even if your family only has ten minutes. Make a Chinese lantern as a craft before or after and spend a day learning about this ancient style of calming exercise.
- Curling is a winter sport that is popular in Canada, though it does have some fans in the colder parts of the United States. When played competitively, the teams are on an ice rink, where a stone is pushed, and the team sweeps the ice in front of it to try and get it to go farther, ultimately so it will land on certain target spots. Even if you don’t have an Olympic-sized ice rink in your backyard, you take any smooth surface and find creative substitutes for the stone. Online suggestions include unwrapped bars of soap, toy cars, and poker chips. Discover more about Canadian heritage like the French-speaking province of Quebec, how big the Rocky Mountains get there, and so much more before you create your own version of curling at home.
What other sports or exercises from around the world inspire your family? Sumo from Japan? Bossaball from Spain? Get creative and find safe, fun ways to play them at home.
By: Bethany Verrett