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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many play and sports facilities to shut their doors. Scientists have found that children are spending more time being active in lockdown than they would have been when engaged in their usual sporting pursuits. They are simply looking and longing for ways to get moving. These ten games help to make breaks (more) active, whether in school or while tackling home schooling or mountains of homework. Stationery retailers can win customers by offering all of the various products needed for such games and thereby motivating learning.
All over the world, families are confined to their homes on account of the pandemic. Sports facilities in schools and clubs are only open with restrictions, if at all. According to one study in the Scientific Reports journal published by Nature Research, children and young people in lockdown are looking for everyday ways to get moving. The children surveyed for the study, aged between 4 and 17, were active for longer without their usual sports programme, including those who had never done sport before. We cannot change many of the factors that affect the quality of any activity, such as the weather, our home situation or our surroundings. Urban families in particular often have only limited opportunities for active pursuits while in lockdown. But even indoors, there are still lots of ways for kids to work off their energy.
These ten activity games can be played in confined settings, whether in a classroom where social distancing has to be maintained or at home. One key aspect is that the games themselves or the materials needed to play them can also be easily obtained from local retailers during lockdown via click & collect.
Balloons can be quickly inflated and are fantastic for throwing, catching and heading. To improve dexterity, they can also be clamped between two players who then have to move to music (balloon dancing) or cover a particular distance without letting the balloon fall. And when you blow up a balloon and let it go, kids love chasing after it (running forwards, backwards or sidewards, jumping, crawling or on tiptoes) as it zooms around like a rocket – improving their reaction speed in the process!
You have to be quite agile when trying to catch bubbles blown into the air. Alternatively, you can blow light balls, spherical objects or marbles with the help of drinking straws – either around an apartment or through a specially built obstacle course.
Active playing cards
By linking shedding cards to physical exercise in popular card games such as the Mäuseschlau & Bärenstark version of the Mau game (Bewegungs-Mau-Mau from publisher Ravensburger), all players have to move to win.
Active flash cards
The 30 Power-Pausen für Kinder (30 Power Breaks for Kids) flash card collection contains 30 ideas for letting loose. Each card prompts a new exercise that improves coordination, balance and dexterity and ensures a positive mood. 30 Kinderyoga-Bildkarten (30 Yoga for Kids Flash Cards) and 30 Faszientraining-Bildkarten für Kinder (30 Fascia Training Flash Cards for Kids) are other recommended collections in the product series.
Active memory games
The memory game I Packed My Bag is a popular activity in which each player must first list what the other players have already packed in the imaginary bag before they can pack their own item. This classic is now also available as an activity game – Ich packe meinen Koffer Bewegungsspiel – with 18 different movements, each shown on a wooden disc, that have to be repeated in the chosen sequence.
Active indoor balls
Countless games can be played with a ball: it can be thrown, caught, kicked and rolled. Thankfully, there are also indoor balls that children and their parents can use to play ball games inside as well. What about a Luftmatz®, for example? A balloon is placed inside the small opening in the ball’s fabric cover and then inflated. Even when given a good kick, this "air ball" still won't cause any damage to your home. Alternatively, you can get soft fabric or plush balls or special indoor hovering footballs that glide above the floor and are gentle on furniture.
Active play mats and rugs
Think of Twister, the game that was such a hit in the nineties, and you're on the right track: the Twister mat with its bright dots is still used to really get kids moving in classrooms and homes today. But play mats and rugs featuring the alphabet also encourage activity. Children in junior classes can hop out their names and first words. Older kids can hop out words that other players have to guess or all players can take turns to hop out an entire sentence.
During playtime, nursery kids move like animals using movement dice developed by Maria Montessori. Each player has to imitate the movement of the animal shown after rolling the child-friendly dice. Or one person rolls the dice each time and the children then compete in a race as the animal shown from start to finish.
Children can use colourful activity rings to juggle and balance. These can be rolled on the ground by hand or using a stick and thrown on to targets. They can also be used to exercise by moving them like a mini hula hoop on arms and legs.
Balance until you fall over: children can still do this on the floor at home. After all, the popular Slacklines are not just good for outdoor balancing acts, but can also be used inside: the two "trees" for tensioning the balancing ropes are included by manufacturer Erzi with the product, promised!
Step 1) Add games that can be played during breaks in home schooling to your range
Step 2) Post a series of activities that add pep to break times on your social media channels and website (brief description of the games)
Step 3) During lockdown: add information on how customers can order from your online shop or via email and use your click & collect service
Point of sale or display window
Set up a presentation table with stationery products related to home schooling and integrate products that motivate learning, such as task planners, activity games, funny pencil boxes or writing utensils, large sand timers, vocabulary flash cards and books on learning styles and efficient learning.
Write a post on motivating children to learn and publish it via your website, newsletter, blog or social media, referencing suitable products in your range.
About the author
Freelance journalist Doreen Brumme, a #motherof4 whose work focuses on organic issues, shares her thoughts on how to enjoy a green lifestyle at work, in school and at home via her blog doreenbrumme.de.