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The body is meant to move — not stare at a screen all day. Yet that’s what millions of kids are doing every day, not only in school but in their personal lives, as well.
The dangers of sitting are well known for adults, but did you know that sitting was harmful for children, too? Study after study points to significant health issues in people who are too sedentary, and these start early in children, too. I believe in interrupting these patterns early on. But, what can parents and teachers realistically do, when several hours of school is required every day?
Over the coming weeks, I’ll begin sharing tips for active learning and keeping students healthy and focused. In today’s article, I discuss several clever and affordable products that keep students’ bodies active while listening to online lectures.
When my children were young, we kept several of these ball chairs in our homeschool room. Bouncing and rolling around the room proved really helpful for getting wiggles out, plus they’re just really fun to use. Contrary to my initial concerns, they were impossible to pop with normal use, and adjustable to any kid’s size and preferred level of firmness. It wasn’t until my teens started online classes in high school that I had to replace them again (because they’re just so darned fun). I actually still have one of these chairs in my office today:
Under Desk Peddler
How great would it be to squeeze an exercise sesh into watching a movie or online lecture? That’s exactly what you get with this portable peddler, which you can place under a child’s desk or in front of a chair anywhere in the house. I wish I knew about these peddlers when I wrote my first book and developed body aches from sitting so long (and a bunch of extra pounds). Used mostly as a bicycle, this device can also build balance, strength and coordination in arms and hands, too:
Wobble / Balance Board
Standing has never been more active and fun than balancing on this clever balance board. Instead of just passively watching, students stay alert and challenged the whole time. This product is a lot more tiring than it looks, but it doesn’t have to be used all day. Swapping it out for a chair throughout the day gives students periods of activity while listening to lectures or waiting for their next lesson to begin:
Active Swivel Chair
On this twisting, wobbly stool, younger students can rock, sit, or spin as much as they need to. Available in different sizes online, this one is designed especially for kids up to age 12. The most durable and affordable option for kids in this age group, ordering several of these to use at home or in the classroom won’t break the bank:
Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
Adults may recognize this kneeling chair as a blast from the past, but this innovative design has withstood the test of time, because it works! By keeping knees bent and lower than the hips, the body is forced into better posture for writing or using a keyboard. Available in various price ranges and materials, this particular one is comfortable on both knees and hips:
Feel free to tell my readers about the products you’ve used to combat a sedentary lifestyle — by leaving a COMMENT. Best wishes for staying fit and active throughout your school year!
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA/Tampa, H.E.R.I., HECOA, Start Homeschooling Summit, Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT, Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at email@example.com.