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Homeschooling PE Indoors

Kids' Fitness Training and Games You Can Do at Home

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The weather outside is terrible, but your kids are bouncing off the walls. Or they're so engrossed in a project that they'd sit there all day if you didn't prod them to get up for a quick exercise break.

As a homeschooling parent, it's part of your job to help your kids get the benefits of physical education. And it doesn't really matter where it takes place.

Even when you're housebound, your kids can keep their minds and bodies in shape with some simple physical activities. Here are some suggestions:

Dance, Movement and Sports Games for Wii and Kinect

Wii Sports Resort
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Now that "exergaming" is available on many gaming consoles, most kids have a variety of physical activities literally at their fingertips. Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, Kinect Sports and the boxing game Punchout are just some of the most popular sports titles. "Just Dance" and "Dance Dance Revolution" get kids moving to the beat.
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Juggling

Klutz Juggling Book
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Learning to juggle can develop eye-hand coordination and provide a great workout. In fact, a Waldorf school in my area uses juggling as part of its physical education program. Students are free to get up and juggle a few balls or scarves if they're done with their work early or need a break.

On her website JuggleFit.com, instructor Heather Wolf says that juggling is also ideal for homeschooling PE because it burns 280 calories per hour, improve focus and concentration, and stimulate creativity and imagination. Most appealing is that it's compact and doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment. For an easy way to get started, the book Juggling for the Complete Klutz comes complete with three bean bags.

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Yoga Videos

YogaKids DVD
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Yoga is great for kids. It improves flexibility and balance. It's also very helpful for focus. And it's very relaxing. My kids took a class just for homeschoolers at a yoga studio for a couple of years, and their calm and peaceful mood afterward was plain to see.

There are a few yoga books and videos especially for children you can use at home to learn the basic poses and moves. Be sure to pay attention to proper form, to avoid over-stretching or injury. One video to try is Yoga Tools for Schools, from the makers of YogaKids, the video recommended by About.com Yoga Guide Ann Pizer.

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Indoor Fitness Trainers

Kids rowing machine
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Indoor trainers are more expensive and take up more space than other indoor exercise options, but they're great for helping athletes practice during the off-season. They can build muscles and provide an intense cardiovascular workout.

Popular kinds of indoor trainers include rowing machines, stationary bicycles, and treadmills. Advanced models come with computer read-outs to track time and level of difficulty. But you can also get smaller, simpler models made for children.

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Balance Balls

Balance ball
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Balance balls or stability balls are those soft plastic oversized balls you see in gyms. They can be used to do a variety of exercises that stretch the arms, back, and legs. But they're also good for building up abdominal muscles when used to sitting exercises. Some schools have started to provide balance balls instead of desk chairs. They say the balls will also improve their students' posture.
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