5 Tips For Staying Active With Your Kids

bicycle leaning on wall

There was a time when fun had to be made, a time when fresh air was kids’ main source of energy. Today, however, many parents find themselves fighting to keep their children physically active—and maybe fighting an internal war on the matter themselves. Staying fit and having fun with your family can actually go hand in hand, but only if you know how to incorporate fitness organically into your routine. Follow these five tips for keeping your entire clan in shape:

  1. Take play outdoors. When the weekend rolls around—or summer break—your kids’ first instinct is probably to roll out of bed around 11 and grab the iPad or XBOX controller immediately. Maybe it’s time to recondition their thinking. Instead of letting your youngsters waste away indoors all day, plan a fun activity outside that will get them excited to see the sunshine. Treasure or scavenger hunts are always a huge hit with kids. If you can get the whole neighborhood in on it, host a water balloon toss.
  2. Get into biking. Biking is a good sport for families because you can go at whatever pace suits you. Even if your spouse has knee problems and your littlest child can’t keep up a quick speed, the low-impact, laid-back workout will still work for everyone. Start out biking as a family on flat, paved paths at nearby parks and graduate to more difficult terrain like mountain trails as the kids get older and braver.
  3. Keep TV time short, but make it engaging. It’s unrealistic to ban TV watching for the whole summer (or even a night, really), so don’t. Just try to reinvent what TV time is all about. Encourage your kids to watch active shows that will have them singing and dancing along to every scene. If your children have particularly active imaginations, see if they’ll jump in and act out a scene they just saw during the commercial break. Keep a yoga mat and some hand weights in the living room so that you can work out while they do.
  4. Encourage exploration. Sometimes all it takes is a strong sense of curiosity to draw a child outdoors and into nature. Teach your kids to be adventurers. Take them to a local park or national forest and let them explore the various trails and get acquainted with wildlife there. Get in there with them and enjoy a brisk stroll along one of the winding paths. Bonus points if you can find a park with a nature center that actually teaches about the native wildlife.
  5. Build together. There’s nothing a child loves more than playing with his mom and dad, and building a playhouse is perhaps the best way to get parents in on the action. You don’t have to be handy with a saw and hammer to build a playhouse, though. All you really need is a large box. Carve out windows and a door, add a roof, and perhaps paint a flower bed on the front. Voila! A new playspace where kids can stretch their imaginations and stay active, all thanks to your help.