Back in November of last year, I reviewed the adult Animal Moves Deck (you can read the review here), a 54 card fitness deck that focuses on bodyweight exercises that use primal movements in order to increase your flexibility, mobility, and strength. It’s unlike any fitness deck I’ve ever seen, not that I’ve seen many, mind you. Now, Darryl has released the Animal Moves Junior Deck – a fitness deck for children aged 7-14 that will get them jumping, hopping, kicking and crawling to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was sent this product by Darryl’s PR team for my own personal use and to write a review if I wished. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. If you buy anything from the links contained within this review I will not be at any personal gain. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.
It’s pretty crazy to think that children are supposed to do 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Most kids these days are sadly sat in front of a screen of some sort and don’t tend to get out and play as we used to when we were younger. Anya thankfully has always been different and I’ve tried to involve her in the outdoors and movement from a very young age.
Now, I’ve had hold of these cards for some time and Anya has been nagging me to let her use them ever since they arrived. Finally, over half term, I thought it the perfect opportunity to get her moving, especially as the weather has been super cold, wet, windy, and downright miserable.
Darryl’s Animal Moves concept is all about playing in any environment without the need for equipment. The quality of the deck of cards is fantastic, making them super durable and their portability makes them ideal for any environment. I think we can all agree that when you have kids all of these factors are a must.
Unlike the adult version of the deck, the junior version is lacking warmup cards, mobility cards, and the cool-down card. The moves themselves have been somewhat adapted to make them easier to understand and execute as a child. The deck contains the following:
- 9 instruction cards – these include information on the Primal Play philosophy, how to read the Animal Moves cards, how to use them, the games which have 18 games available, and of course a disclaimer.
- 26 black standard movement cards – these include moves like dino walk, flea jump, horse kick, bear crawl and bunny hop. 2 of the movement cards are dedicated to group activities like piggyback and primal play tag.
- 7 red posture cards – most of these are quite yogic and focus on holding certain postures. The 7 poses are; bear pose, crab pose, squat pose, super pose, flamingo pose, alligator pose, and dino pose.
- 12 wild cards – these wild cards add in some extra fun to the game. Some of them offer a welcome break such as ‘half next card’ and ’30 second break’ but then you can be hit with a ‘double next card’ card or ‘go slow motion’ and that makes things tough, even for me. Anya’s favourite wild card was ‘move like any animal you can think of’. She pretty much made up animals but it was great to see her using her imagination.
Although Anya is only aged 6, physically she has always been pretty gifted and is used to seeing me working out and moving in a variety of ways. So, for us, the minimum age of 7 was more a guideline and not something to take as gospel.
Like the adult version of the cards there are different 3 rep or time counts on each card according to the following abilities; beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
The 1st Workout
To start out Anya just simply sat and looked through every card. She said that she wanted to know every move that there was and what they all were. A sensible approach if you ask me! She then decided that she wanted to basically play through every card. Yes, every single card!
Anya literally took no note of any times and counted out really fast thinking that her seconds were an accurate timer. In reality, she was probably doing half the allocated time but to be honest I didn’t really care as we had a whole deck of cards to get through.
When it came to the reps she made sure to do the right number and I told her to stick to beginner level as she’s only small anyway. I don’t think that she minded much about which level she was doing, so long as she did every card, and often ended up going the advanced route. When she came to ‘flamingo pose’ she belted out “That’s an arabesque actually!” and then carried on rather nonchalantly.
Some of the poses she managed to hold with such precision she’d show an adult up in a matter of seconds, for others the moment something got tough she kind of just started cheating a little. Personally I’d rather see her move rather than not at all. Understanding movements take a while to grasp and I think in time she’ll be doing things perfectly throughout.
Anyone that follows my Instagram stories will know that Anya is a pretty hyperactive, highly energetic, inquisitive, and intelligent child. She speaks like the queen and everything must be done properly – a.k.a. her way. I did have my worries that this game would crumble into a thousand screams and tears if she couldn’t do a move properly but thankfully she just got stuck in and loved every minute of it. If she ever needed any help to understand a move then she would ask me but this didn’t really happen much.
There are 18 example workout games included in the deck, however, just like Darryl insists – the number of game options are only limited by your imagination.
One particular favourite game was ‘Add Sound’ which as you can imagine involved a lot of loud, shrill noises being emitted from a tiny little being.
Some of these games are pretty short and sweet like ‘Commercial Break’ where you do 2-3 cards during every TV ad break when you’re watching your favourite show. On the other end of the spectrum, you have ‘Double Trouble’ where you double the number of reps or time on the cards for the whole session. But the ones that really caught Anya’s eye were the ones that captivated her imagination.
One particular favourite game was ‘Add Sound’ which as you can imagine involved a lot of loud, shrill noises being emitted from a tiny little being. ‘Backwards Drill’ was also a great one to get her brain fired up – you simply execute each move backwards. But, there was a firm favourite and that was ‘Create a Story’. Now, Anya can create a story out of thin air at the best of times so this card game option let her go wild, a little too wild (see below for more on this). If you’re a parent of an imaginative child I’m sure you can imagine how long this game went on for.
Much like the adult version of these cards the Junior Deck doesn’t disappoint. As a parent, especially one that’s big on sustainability, it’s important to have a product that can withstand some rough little hands. One of the biggest selling points for me is the sheer durability of these cards – Anya can bend them and they’ll bounce back into shape. Get food or drinks on them and it’s no bother – I can simply wipe them clean in a matter of seconds.
Secondly, the portability of these cards is great – they measure at the same size as standard poker cards – 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches. I haven’t managed to take these cards outside of the home yet but over summer if we go camping, or even if Anya goes for a play date these will be a great way of entertaining her (and her friends). You don’t need the biggest amount of room to use them, and if you’re limited for space there’s always the great outdoors.
…whilst doing bear pose – Anya was growling and dribbling everywhere on purpose because “that’s what bears do when they’re hungry”.
The games really captivate the imagination, help to explore the surrounding environment, and also get your kid to not only use their body in a natural way but really get their brain working too. These cards are about learning through play and staying fit through play. And Anya didn’t view these cards as exercises but as a form of playing. For me, these cards allowed me to bond with Anya in an amazing way but also help me to unlock my inner child who often is trapped due to daily stresses.
But, what did Anya think of using the Animal Moves Junior Deck? Although Anya was keen enough to play solo, the majority of the time she wanted me or her older sister Scarlett (who is now 15) to join in. I really enjoyed playing with Anya and it was a fantastic way to bond with each other whilst getting in a mini-workout. Scarlett who is usually quite moody and at first said she didn’t want to play because she thought it was boring (a.k.a. not cool) I actually caught laughing a fair few times.
Anya’s fave cards were bunny hop and flea jump. The cards she found the hardest were flea jump, alligator pose, and flamingo pose. But what I found interesting was that alligator pose, which is essentially a forearm plank (see below photo), Anya didn’t give up and rather for holding it for the allocated amount of time for a beginner, she held it like a champ, with perfect poise might I add, for a little over the intermediate timing.
When I asked Anya what she liked about the cards she simply said “That there’s different ones that I haven’t seen before and ones that I have seen before. They were very fun.” as you can see, reviews aren’t Anya’s forte. So, I had to press a little harder.
I asked Anya what her favourite game was and she said “the storytelling one”. Now, you don’t exactly tell a story with these, it’s more about embodying the animal and really focussing on what the animal moves like, but for every card, Anya created a back story. For example, whilst doing bear pose – Anya was growling and dribbling everywhere on purpose because “that’s what bears do when they’re hungry”. Apparently she was pretending to be a bear that was waiting to eat something. To be honest, I’m pretty sure the dribbling was more because of how hard the pose was.
When I asked Anya if her friends would like to play these cards she said that she thought all of them would. And I’m not surprised to hear that. All kids love playing and what Darryl has managed to put together for both children and adults is thought out perfectly.
So, would I recommend the Animal Moves Junior Deck? Hell yes, I would! If you’re looking for something to get your kids off the Xbox, iPad, or telly then throw your kids the deck and get them moving. It’s a great way for siblings and parents to bond and I’d highly recommend it.
If you’re looking for the world’s best child tamer then grab the Animal Moves Junior Deck here for just £20.00! You can also purchase Darryl’s new book Animal Moves directly from Amazon – £9.99 on Kindle and £14.99 paperback. For worldwide purchase options head on over to the Animal Moves book site. Not sure if primal movement is for you? Try Darryl’s free eBook – The Importance of Play – just click here and sign up for the newsletter to start the free download.