Between school, chores, meals and a million other little things, you and your kids probably have, what, four minutes total of free time? Well, if you’re trying to fit in some exercise, that might just be enough. In fact, my mother, Judy Katz, a pediatric occupational therapist in Chicago, was recently raving to me about how easy and beneficial FUNtervals can be for children. Developed by Jasmin Ma, Shane Sures and Brendon J. Gurd, FUNtervals are four total minutes of storytelling, high-intensity exercise and rest. One FUNterval includes eight 20-second bursts of enthusiastic movement followed by ten seconds of rest.
Not only are they fun and engaging, but interval exercises have been proven to help kids focus and become more regulated. When kids are emotionally dysregulated, they’re less in control of their responses to certain stimuli. Think: extreme reactions to small triggers. Katz explains, “While you probably experience lots of emotional responses internally—perhaps you found out an ex is dating a new person, or a coworker copied your outfit—you (hopefully) don’t wail and pound your fists on your desk. Kids, on the other hand, don't always know how to regulate their emotions, and a little movement can calm their minds.”
The best part? You can customize the story and exercise. Good movements include frog hops, jumping jacks, squatting, jumping, ducking, scissors hops, bending and reaching and high-knee running—any movement you can complete mostly in place. Leading older kids? Feel free to skip the story.
We’ve created our own story below to get you started. Ready, set, go!