There’s been a lot of chatter here on OnBalance and in my community about a new study for kids and exercise, linking their aerobic health to their success on standardized tests. There’s another study that was done recently in Europe that indicates that our “Hour a Day” recommendation for physical activity may not be enough, especially for boys. This study also breaks childhood into two age groups, giving us insight into the needs of our younger children (ages 2-6) who are often overlooked in school-aged studies. I suggest you read the excellent post from the Cooper Institute about these findings.
But if you’re looking for a fun way to get some movement into your day, check out this video from my kids’ PE coach. The Hamster Dance is the coach’s interpretation of a book character; I love that it was inspired by Beverly Cleary’s Ralph and the Motorcycle (cross-curricular learning!). Here’s the coach’s story:
“My favorite book as a boy was Ralph and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. Ralph is a mouse who lives in a rundown hotel. A young boy about 9 years old, named Keith, comes to stay in the hotel. The two becomes friends. Keith has a toy motorcycle and Ralph learns to ride it by making motorcycle sounds with his mouth. Keith even made Ralph a helmet out of a ping pong ball so that he would always be safe when he rode.”
“I loved the book so much I wanted my own mouse for my birthday. My mother, by mistake, bought a hamster instead. By the time I figured this out, it was too late and the pet store would not take the hamster back. I was so sad I cried and cried because I wanted a mouse — not a hamster. To make me feel better, Mom bought me a small toy motorcycle, much like the one in the book.”
“Well, the hamster hated that motorcycle, because I would grab him out of the cage and plop him on the seat and drive him around real fast. My pet cat would stop and stare at us hoping I would leave the hamster alone for just a second so he could gobble him up. The hamster couldn’t stand it anymore. He started exercising so he would get strong enough to break out of that cage. I would see the Hamster doing sit-ups, push-ups, and stretches everyday so he could bust out.”
“Which he did. And, he even took my motorcycle.
Boys and girls this activity is about that brave hamster.”
Furthermore, the movements are so kid-like. But what it’s so awesome is that if you get down on the floor with your kid to do it, I guarantee you’ll be winded at the end.
With no further ado, I present to you the Hamster Dance.