1. FITNESS DICE: I covered small square cardboard boxes for the dice. Then I glued the numbers 1-6 onto one and pictures of exercises on the other. (jumping jacks, windmills, push ups, sit ups, lunges, and running in place.) I did google searches to find the numbers and the pictures of the exercises, but you could just as easily draw the numbers and pictures onto the dice. My kids take turns rolling the dice and they both do the exercises. I set the timer for however long I want them to exercise.
Above: 5 Push Ups
Left: Running in Place for 2 minutes
Jumping jacks and lunges.
2. YOGA KIDS: My sister bought these DVDs for us a couple of years ago. They are very fun and the boys enjoy challenging themselves with all the fun stretches and poses. Click on the picture below to go to their website where you can purchase the DVDs and browse more options. The ages say up to 6 years old, but my oldest who is seven loves it and I can see us using these for at least a couple more years.
I have noticed that when my oldest son has had some physical exercise before school he is more successful in his work. He can focus and concentrate better, he has a more positive attitude toward his work, he accomplishes tasks faster, and stays on task better. So I was not surprised to find a whole chapter in the Day-to-Day Dyslexia book by Pollock, Waller, and Politt devoted to movement and exercise.
Here are a few quotes from the book:
"It has been proved that movement in the form of exercises can help children to learn... New research is constantly being carried out to consider ways in which physical exercise can help dyslexic children and adults on a day-to-day basis." p. 41
"Now it is realized that exercises that mimic the natural development of babies and toddlers are very important and enable not only children, but also adults, to acquire literacy and numeracy techniques much more rapidly." p. 44
The chapter gives several suggestions for daily exercises such as commando crawling, marching, touching opposite hands to knees, and making big figure eights with your hands while your eyes track the movements. They also suggest that climbing, crawling, rolling, spinning, and balancing will also help with cognitive and motor development.
The book also emphasizes the need for children to stay hydrated with water since it improves energy and concentration. I have also seen this to be true. Sometimes a simple drink of water will perk my kids up when they are losing steam during school.
In light of this information:
From now on I will lead some physical exercises before we start school and have a bottle of water at each boy's work station.