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Children are a wonderful gift, but it can be hard to be stuck at home with young children, especially when you’re not allowed to take them to the park or a friend’s house to tire them out. If you’ve noticed that your kids are bouncing off the walls or, even worse, haven’t gotten off the couch in the last three days, maybe try one of these activities!

Sock “Ice Skating”: If you have wooden floors, linoleum, or any non-carpeted floors that periodically need mopping or waxing, let your children help polish them after you mop or wax. Have them wear clean, dry socks and slide across the surface. Remember, falling hurts. Outfit them with knee, elbow, and wrist pads and with helmets if you have them. You can also put a small cushion inside their pants at the bottom area. Show them how to slide with their feet apart (stink-bug-style) for best balance. They can put socks on their hands too and slide on all fours. Or for younger children, let them sit and spin. Safer still, you pull them as their feet slide. This way they can’t easily fall down if you have sneakers on. Try it, Mom and Dad. It’s like ice skating, only not cold! Wear pads. Remember, adults tend to break when we fall. So, we do this with caution. Before getting started, you might consider checking with your doctor, and do any of these activities with great caution, and at your own risk. We want to build bodies, not break them. We care about you!

This activity is wonderful because it burns off some of that endless energy, cleans your floors, and helps your child develop a sense of balance!

Tuck, Pike, Straddle: This game can be done in 2 minutes or 5 or whatever time you have. The first time you play this, demonstrate and explain each position. Have the children put their bodies in the same position you are in. After the first time, you still may need to remind them what the positions look like until they remember each one.


“Tuck”– children squat into a ball, but stay on their feet, arms around their knees, or hands touching the floor on each side of their knees. For the nostalgic, remember the cannonball position we used to splash all of our friends at the pool?

“Pike”– stand straight, legs straight, feet together. Bend over at the waist or hips until your fingers touch your toes, shins, knees, or as far as you can comfortably bend.

“Straddle” – stand tall, with legs about 1 to 2 feet apart, knees straight, arms straight out to the sides.

As you (the adult) name each position, everyone gets into that position. After you have taught each position, begin this game by giving plenty of time to get into the correct position. Then call out the positions faster and faster. Vary the order you call them. “Tuck. Pike. Straddle. Tuck. Straddle. Tuck. Straddle! Pike! Tuck!” What do they learn? They listen, follow directions, gain flexibility, learn gymnastics terms and positions, move faster and faster, and laugh a lot.

These activities were originally published by Kirby Worthington, a developmental psychologist who has been working in the field for more than forty years. These activities were adapted from those in Getting Your Sweet Potato Off of the Couch: How to Help Your Children Develop Physically in Only 12 Extra Minutes. This book is available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon, $3.50 or free with Kindle Unlimited:

Post by Nicole Urh B.A., PsyD Graduate Student