My kids were driving me nuts over Christmas break. It was freezing outside and we were stuck in our one level rambler home. I had an idea to get something that would satisfy their appetite for being rowdy. I remembered seeing an inexpensive gymnastics mat in the Ikea catalog. All 4 of my kids, 2 boys and 2 girls have or are currently taking gymnastics. I can’t say enough about the sport. It is great in so many ways. However, what I will say that it, of course, comes with risk. Gymnastics, compared to some other sports, comes with a very heavy risk of injury. Some of the most common injuries can range from fractures to spinal injuries. One of the most common injuries that can happen in not only gymnastics but a wide variety of sports is spondylolisthesis. This is a hyperextension of the back due to a high intensity of training, causing one of the bones of the spine to slip out of place and under the vertebra below it, affecting the lower back. You can learn more here about the condition and other spinal injuries. I ran to Ikea and bought a couple of mats and a balance beam. The choice is yours on how many you want to buy, but with 4 kids I felt we needed more than one. We moved out the ottoman in our family room and set up our own personal “get wild” space. My kids became very creative and found several games and activities to play with the mats. These games can be played with either one or more mats.
Every kid loves playing with the hose. Why not let the kids spray each other and have water fights to cool off in the heat. This is a favorite activity at our house. We get the occasional sad face, but mostly just laughs. This could also be used at a party by filling up a kiddie pool with water and let the kids run around with water guns, or spray the trampoline with water for a slippy tramp. There are so many funny sprinklers to hook up to the hose and let go wild.