Many of the same parents who hated gym class as kids are nostalgic now that schools have cut physical education from the curriculum. Okay, the public humiliation, mildewy locker rooms and angry coaches many of us grew up with were nothing to celebrate—but your child’s birthday is, and what better way than with a healthy blast from the past? There’s no need to spend the big bucks on a party package at your local kids’ gym; you can throw a P.E. party in your own backyard that’ll make fitness fun!
Of course, you’ll want to feature only the best and most fun aspects of gym class—no picking teams allowed. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard, and everyone can work out at their own pace. Want to do it boot camp style? Use a stopwatch and a megaphone to give everyone two minutes at each station.
Goody bag stuffings: healthy snacks or small toys that encourage physical activity (bouncy balls, squirt guns, jump ropes, etc.)
What You Do:
The party is pretty free-form. How you structure it is up to you. For activities, you can try:
using chalk or masking tape to set up a hopscotch court on your driveway
making a jump rope station
laying a towel on the grass for sit-ups
setting aside a corner for jumping jacks
establishing some wacky cool-off stations between cardio spots: hula-hooping, toe-touching, balloon blowing, basketball dribbling, yo-yoing
incorporating any equipment you already have, such as slides, basketball hoops and jungle gyms
Kids can earn a ticket for each completed activity and turn them in for goody bags. Stuff sacks with tube socks (cheap, cheap, cheap when purchased in bulk!), jump ropes, boxes of raisins, granola bars, balls, paddle balls, yo-yos, whistles, wristbands, and sunscreen.
There’s no point spoiling that wonderful workout with cake and ice cream ... well, the kids probably won’t agree, but supplement the sweets with some healthy treats. Try a fresh fruit salad, cut-up veggies with dip, whole almonds and whole wheat crackers with cheese. Set up a make-your-own yogurt sundae bar: vanilla yogurt with serving bowls of crunchy granola, dried cranberries, raisins and blueberries, chopped nuts, and diced bananas and apples for toppings. Or, get out your blender and whip up fresh fruit and yogurt smoothies for everyone.
It may not bring back many memories of sixth period gym class, but who knows—it just might inspire you, too!