Our kids class has been full of magical alignment opportunities for elementary-age kids. If you think about how much time that little developing body might spend stuck in a plastic, rounded-backed chair, hunched over a desk, the consequences are alarming. Most playgrounds are equipped with a set of monkey bars. However, I was dismayed to discover that the monkey bars at our local elementary school had been deemed “off limits” because there was not enough yard supervision and some monkeys were getting hurt in the rough-housing. Imagine! Kids who need to move their bodies, stuck in a classroom, and then even at recess they can’t get their bugs out on the playground because some are getting hurt. Hm.
Kids need to move! And, as we practiced yesterday, they need more opportunities to move and strengthen their upper bodies. In addition to stretching and warming up, we discussed installing pull-up bars in the doorways of the kids’ rooms:
These are sold at most sporting goods stores but I found some on clearance at Ross for half the price. We emphasize that this tool is not a toy; it is not a jungle gym and is not for swinging on. But with a little stool placed underneath, it can be a place that kids go to hang, pull up, and stretch whenever they want to.
Other opportunities for upper body movement abound, if you have your eyes peeled for them. On our daily walks, we make a habit of stopping by the places where we can hang on a well-placed tree branch, a local park, or the running parcourse.
At first, their hands might be weak (hey, did you know that strengthening the hand for the bars will help with handwriting skills?!). We start off simply by stretching the fingers and then hanging long from the parallel bar. Then we can work on shoulder placement, opening the thoracic spine, and strengthening the muscles for pulling up and swinging. Start slow so your monkey won’t get frustrated.
Parents who do these exercises with their kids will have fun and feel healthy too!
Let’s get moving!