Being active is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for both children and adults. However, especially when it comes to kids, it can be tough to find time each day to get up and get moving.
The best way to make sure your kids are getting their recommended amount of playtime each day is to find ways to be active that the kids will enjoy. The more fun they’re having, the more likely they are to want to keep playing day in and day out.
As children get older, many of them will spend time in organized sports or other specific pursuits that get them moving. But for younger kids or those who don’t take to organized play, it’s important to find other ways to capture their interest.
You don’t need any special equipment or training to come up with a game that will get your kids moving. All you need is some time and a little imagination, and you can find an activity they will keep coming back to day after day.
In this article, we’ll give you some examples of games you might want to try the next time you’re looking to get your youngsters up and moving.
Hide and Seek
This game is a classic for a reason: it works! Join in the fun yourself and help your kids find more and more inventive places to hide.
For an added layer of difficulty, I like to take the game out to the backyard.
One aspect of play that often gets neglected with younger children is the social aspect.
Yes, we’re looking to get them moving, but there’s also a lot of socialization that can go on while kids are having fun together.
Take some time to get to know other families in your area.
Try to find something all the kids like to do, like walking, running, or playing baseball, and take time each week to meet up and do it.
One fun thing to announce on the weekend is that you’re going to have an exercise Olympics!
Take time to make little prizes for the winners, such as tin-foil medals, bookmarks, jump ropes or stickers.
Then compete in a variety of activities. It might be boring for your kids to simply complete 20 jumping jacks, but when they’re doing it to compete against their siblings, they’ll be excited to begin!
Playground Obstacle Course
It’s great to have time for unstructured play on the playground, but if you’re looking to focus a little more on moving around, set up an obstacle course that your kids can run through while you time them.
I have a few small plastic flags that I’ll stick up around the gym and let my kids grab or touch on their way through the course.
Card games can be fun, but they aren’t usually very active. You can change that by adding some rules to help everyone get out of their seats.
Try this alternative to Go Fish! Beforehand, assign an exercise to each card. When someone plays, say, a set of fives, they do five pushups or burpees.
Come up with a different fun exercise for each card and see who can make it all the way through.
This one will require some research, but it can be a ton of fun.
Find a few yoga poses that you and your kids can both handle and lead your own class just for the family.
You can even use YouTube to find a kid-friendly, yoga routine.
Make sure you take it slowly and pay attention to how your kids are doing – you don’t want anyone to get hurt during exercise time.
If your kids enjoy yoga, you can progressively get to more complex positions and eventually, you can go to classes together.
Get Moving Dice
This one is a quick craft that can easily turn into a great game to play. First, grab two different colored dice (red for cardio and black for strength), and write a list of short activities to coincide with the number and color.
Then, let the timer go for 10 to 20 minutes and see how many exercises can be completed. Now you and the kids get to roll the ‘dice’ and challenge yourselves to do whatever activity you get!
- Strength exercises: squats, push-ups, lunges, crunches, a wall-sit and tricep dips.
- Cardio exercises: jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers, running to a tree or post and back, jump rope, and burpees.
Simply pick a number between 5 and 20 (depending on the age range) for each activity and let the dice roll!
This is a great way to take some aerobic exercise and disguise it as a fun game.
Try teaching your kids a fun new dance to one of their favorite songs, making sure that the dance contains a bunch of lunges and other movements that will work out their legs and arms.
They’ll love getting to hear their music and dance around. Plus, you’ll like that they’re exercising, too!
One fun way to involve the kids more in this game is to let one of them play choreographer from time to time. Take turns letting each child decide on their dance and then take some time to learn it along with them!
The Bottom Line
No matter what activity you choose, the important thing is to make sure you and your kids are getting up and getting active together whenever possible.
Try to schedule at least 30 minutes for aerobic activity five or more days per week. Your kids need this exercise time to help develop their motor skills, cardiovascular system, and their metabolisms.
Not only that, but getting active with your kids will ensure you’re staying happy and healthy yourself!