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Children's Games That Can Help the Whole Family Get in Shape

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Children aren't the only ones who can enjoy playing games like hopscotch and musical chairs. These games can actually help get and keep you in shape. Here, a few popular children's games, how to play them, and their benefits.


Remember when you were a kid and you spent the entire weekend outside playing? Well, those childhood games can actually help get and keep you in shape. Here are a few popular children's activities, how to play them, and their benefits.


Benefits: According to Mieke Scripps, PT, DT, a physical therapist for the Miami City Ballet, hopscotch is great for balance and strength. Hopping works all the leg muscles, and when on one leg the core or center muscles will be challenged. Bending down to pick up stones while on one leg is also great for balance and gluteal strength. In fact, hopping may improve "overall lower extremity mobility given the different movement planes (forward-back, sideways, and rotational)," says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.

What You Need: Chalk or masking tape, a sidewalk, safe street and/or flat surface, and a stone.

How You Play: Using chalk or masking tape, draw the following: A single box with the number 1 in it, then two boxes side-by-side centered right above that box. Label these boxes 2 and 3. Next draw a single box, centered above the 2 and 3 boxes. Label it 4. Continue with two more boxes labeled 5 and 6, one centered above those labeled 7, and finally two more -- 8 and 9 -- with a semicircle or half-moon at the top.

You need two or more players. One person starts by tossing a stone into the first box. If you miss the box, you lose your turn. If the stone falls in the box, you get to go through the hopscotch course putting only one foot in each box. This means you alternately hop on one foot and land on two feet side by side. Skip the box with the stone in it along the way. The idea is to go through the entire course without losing your balance. After you get to the top, you turn and head back down the course picking up the stone when you come to it. If you complete the course without falling, stepping on a line, or missing one of the boxes, you throw the stone to the next numbered box and repeat the process. If you don't complete the course, you must wait your turn and then start in the box where you ended your previous turn. Whoever completes the full course first wins.

How Many Calories You Burn: About 5.9 calories per minute and 175.8 calories per half-hour.

*Calorie burns are based on a 155-pound person.

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