Festive seasons mean lots of indulgent treats that are not the best for our health. We may also spend more time sedentary after celebrations involving heavy meals or drinks. To counteract extra calories and inactivity during the holidays, get your family moving with these twelve mini-challenges! Time each activity to last five minutes, and by the end of the day, everyone will reach 60 minutes of physical activity. Every bit of movement counts to keep you healthy and holiday spirits high!
- Color Collage: Pick colors associated with the holiday. Run and find objects around the house or outside that fit within this color palate. Once the five minutes are over, make a collage of the items, and take an artsy photo! Get bonus activity by returning each item to its original spot.
- Backward Burst: Walk the entire five minutes backward! Be aware of surroundings to avoid causing chaos. Pro tip: keep adjusting your technique to make strides feel comfortable and natural.
- The Floor is Lava: Use soft objects from around the house to stay off the floor for five minutes. Every time a player’s foot touches the floor, they must do ten jumping jacks to “blast out of the lava.” Put your spin on the challenge by making players walk throughout the house and between obstacles.
- Scavenger Hunt: Hide a unique holiday-themed item somewhere challenging to find indoors or outdoors. The player that locates the item gets to keep it. The more desirable the item, the more competition!
- Simon Says: Designate one player as “Simon.” The remaining players must do any activity Simon says, for five minutes. Try asking players to pick up toys, fill reusable water bottles, clean the kitchen, or take the dogs for a quick walk. Anything goes!
- Act it Out: Each player becomes their favorite holiday character, taking on its full behavior, noises, and movements for the entire five minutes.
- Slump Squats: Beat post-meal slump with squats for more energy. Proper form: stand with feet hip-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Keep the chest lifted and bend the knees. Imagine sitting in a chair and send the weight of the body into the heels. Do not allow the knees to extend past the toes. Modify your squats using a chair to sit and stand. Whoever completes the most squats wins this challenge!
- Dance Party: Pick a favorite holiday song and crank it up. Show off the coolest or silliest dance moves!
- Relay Race: For a new spin on the traditional relay, add in fun holiday twists. Have players run in an obstacle course made from extra holiday decorations, or have players keep their eyes closed and receive instructions on how to move from their team.
- Wall Sits: Who can last the longest in a wall sit? Stand with your back flat against a wall and feet flat on the floor. Then, form 90-degree angles at the hips and knees and hold. Are you missing a wall outside? Use a tree for the support instead!
- Ball Toss: Practice your hand-eye coordination with a classic game of ball toss. Keep increasing the distance between players until one drops the ball.
- Partner Yoga: Do a quick online search for partner yoga videos and give one a try. Make sure a Registered Yoga Teacher is instructing. Bonus: all the giggles spent doing this activity will burn extra calories!
Take note of your family’s favorite mini-challenges and try similar ones for your next celebration. Happy holidays!
For more family physical activity ideas, see https://hgic.clemson.edu/fall-in-love-with-physical-activity/, and https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/physical-activity-for-children/.
- Bennett, J. (2019, December 05). How to Perform a Squat: Tips for Proper Form & Technique -. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.hss.edu/playbook/how-to-perform-a-squat-tips-for-proper-form-technique/