Keeping kids exercising is often as simple as finding a fun, energetic sport or activity that they enjoy. One sport you don't see enough of anymore (besides on school playgrounds) is tetherball. Remember that game from the schoolyard where you would take turns trying to punch a ball on a string around a pole? That's tetherball.
To enjoy tetherball, you don't have to hunt down the nearest gym or school who happens to have access to it. All you need to do is either buy your own or make your own. It's not as hard as it may sound. The local sporting goods store will generally have an easy-to-set-up, low-cost, low-grade tetherball game, even including the pole. The instructions will come with the set.
If you want a more sturdy tetherball game, try making your own. It's very simple and depending on the ages and abilities of the kids, they may even be able to help. All you need is a small bag of concrete mix, an old tire with the rim still inside, a cheap tarp, a metal pole, a bolt with a hook, a drill with a metal bit, and a pre-strung tetherball.
First, drill a hole the correct size for the bolt into the top of the pole. Next, screw in the bolt. Mix the concrete thickly. Set the tire on top of the tarp.Now place the mixed concrete inside of the tire. Fill the entire hole. Place the pole in the center of the mixed concrete inside the tire. Smooth out the concrete. The pole should stand straight up and if the concrete is thick enough, it will not move. Allow it to dry completely. There's your tetherball pole. Now, just hang your tetherball and you and the kids can start to play.
Tetherball rules are very simple. Player one is the server. To serve the ball, much like volleyball, set it atop the non-dominant hand and punch it with the other. The goal is to get the tetherball to wrap completely around the pole without interruption from the other player. Each player must take turns hitting the ball in opposite directions until one player wraps it around the pole.
Whomever wraps it around the pole first is the winner. Players may not grab the string or hold onto the ball. Either is an automatic "out". If this occurs, the next player will come in and a new game will begin. Players may only punch or hit the ball.
As you can see, a simple project can provide the kids with a lasting way to be active. Sports like this are great because a child can play solo or with a friend or family member. This helps them reach sports and fitness goals more often.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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