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Fitness Benchmarking Games For Children

The start of a New Year is a great opportunity to being marking your child's progress. Much like marking your child's height against a wall, it can be really fun to monitor their fitness and physical agility, then as they get older, your children can see how much they've improved.

The fitness measures outlined below are designed to be simple enough for the whole family to participate in. You don't need to complete all the exercises, simply pick which ones your family likes best, but you will need to stick with these selections to monitor the overall improvement. You might want to try each exercise three times, and only record your best result. This is especially useful with younger children who will need a chance to practice and perfect the exercises.

Store the results somewhere you will be able to find them, and look back over, such as in scrapbook or diary.

1. Test balance, and muscle strength by timing how long you can stand on your right leg, and then your left leg.

2. Time how long it takes to sprint a set distance.

3. Look out for local fun run events you could participate in as a family every year, and track your times.

4. Measure fitness and endurance by timing How long can you bounce on the trampoline before you get too tired to continue.

5. Test upper body strength by seeing How quickly can you get across the monkey bars, or how far across can you get before falling off.

6. Set up an obstacle course in the back garden incorporating the climbing frame, and a jog around the perimeter of the garden, and time how long it takes each person to complete it.

7. Test lower body and abdominal strength by racing a set distance in a space hopper ball.

8. Place five soft toys of balls in a box on one side of the garden, with an empty box on the other side of the garden. Time how long it takes to move the toys, one at a time, to the other box. This tests speed, fitness and co-ordination.

9. How long can you keep a balloon up off the ground? A balloon is much easier to use than a football, making this activity suitable for children of all ages. You can measure the success as the amount of time in seconds, or the number of times the balloon is batted up in the air.

10. Measure hand-to-eye co-ordination, by counting how many times can you bounce a tennis ball up and down on the ground using a tennis racket.

11. Sit on the ground and slowly raise your feet into the air, until you are making a V-shape. Time how long you can sit there with your hands out horizontal, and your legs off the ground. This is a great measure of abdominal strength.

12. Place a ping pong ball on a spoon, and time how long it takes to cross the garden without the ball falling off.

13. Hold a tin of beans in each hand like weights, and count how many arm curls you can do.

14. Place a tennis ball, or balloon between your knees, and see how long it takes you to bounce across the garden without it slipping out.

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