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Disguise exercise as fun

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Children need exercise and activity just as much as adults do. So keep them occupied and active in a healthy way when they are guests onboard. Sunshine and nice weather allow kids to enjoy random play outside, swimming, running and playing on the beach.

But, at times they need focus and direction to channel their energy. And, when clouds creep in and raindrops fall, crew can be challenged to keep them busy onboard. Following are some fun activities and exercises that you can do with children for all occasions on your next charter.

Castle contests
Digging and building with the sand can bring out the creative side in kids. Bring some small shovels and pails to be able to scoop up the sand to make sand castles and creatures.
You can also build drip castles if you do not have the sand toys. Just get close to the water so that you can scoop up the wet sand in your hands. As you cup your hands together, leave a small space so that the sand can drip out. See who can make the tallest drip castle before it falls over.

Relay races
Relay races are a great activity for four or more kids. Split up into two teams and mark a starting and ending point at least 20 yards apart by drawing a line in the sand at each end. You choose what the kids will do: run, speed walk, hop, skip, side-shuffle, grapevine, take large leaps, etc. The first person will race from one end to the other and as they get back to the starting point they will tag the next person who will then do just the same.

Water time
Swimming and snorkeling is always fun, just make sure the kids have life jackets for safety.

Twister
Twister is a simple and classic game which tests strength, balance and flexibility. It is easy for all ages to play, and can be played anywhere the plastic mat can be spread on the floor.

Tailored workout
Put together a small circuit workout. Create a few stations and rotate the kids between them in 30-60 second intervals. Stations can include jumping jacks, running in place, ski slalom (jumping side-to-side), wall push-ups, etc. To expand the organization level of the workout, create a mini-Olympics. Have contests complete the most repetitions of an exercise within a certain time frame.

Target toss
Bean bags are great to have around when kids are on board, there is so much you can do with them. Set up a variety of different targets or buckets and assign points for each time they hit them. Depending on the skill level, set up a point deduction system if they miss the target. To challenge the kids, have them call out which one they are aiming for.
Create a similar game with floating balls, rings, baskets or whatever might float. The targets can be off the beach or the stern. The kids can toss from the water, deck or shore.

Dance-off
Make this into a freeze dance game. Play music and have the kids dance. When the music stops they have to freeze- first one to move is out.

Balance games
There are many balancing games you can play with kids, aside from just standing on one leg.
Have them balance a book on their head. Challenge them to stand on one foot, or walk forward, backward or sit down. The first one who drops the book is out. Innovate with anything else that can be put on a child’s head to keep the game interesting.

Create an imaginary balance beam. The kids can put together balance beam routines or practice walking forward and backward making sure the toes of one foot touch the heels of the other with each step. Older children may be able to attempt cartwheels, somersaults and more.

Bowling
Even if you do not have the traditional plastic pins and bowling ball game, it is easy to create a game. Save some plastic soda, water bottles or empty cans. Find a ball or use rolled up socks. Set up the game just like your classic nine-pin our creativity game and get rolling.

By maintaining your creativity, any children onboard can expend their energy, have fun and stay healthy.

Beth Greenwald received her masters degree in exercise physiology from Florida Atlantic University and is a certified personal trainer. She conducts both private and small group training sessions in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Contact her at +1 716-908-9836 or bethgreenwald315@gmail.com. Comments on this column are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com.

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