Exercise. Most people dread it, adults and kids. It’s tedious, time consuming, and everything hurts! How can I encourage my children to exercise when I don’t enjoy it myself?
Today’s kids are consumed with continuous growing technology. Though their bodies may not be moving, their fingers are sure to get a workout! As fun as it sounds to lock down in the living room and play the next challenge on Fortnite with a group of friends screaming through the headset, it’s not idealistically the healthiest way of living.
Why is exercise important for my kids?
Instilling the habit of moving their body while they are young is a good idea. Physical activity in children not only ensures good physical health, but benefits their brain development as well. By encouraging your children to keep their bodies moving you are ensuring the following benefits:
- Reducing risk of illness
- Improving bone strength
- Confidence building
- Structure construction
- Reducing stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increase in academics
In this article, we’ll cover ten fun activities to do with kids of all ages. Some even with technology at their fingertips! The best part? They may not even realize they are getting that dreaded word-exercise.
1. Trampoline Fun!
Do you have access to a trampoline in the comfort of your own backyard? Then, this one's for you! Jumping on the trampoline is fun, even for adults, but what kid can resist the urge to get a good hop in? Not to mention, the countless games that can be created in doing so; crack the egg, music bounce, gymnastic contest, etc. Jumping on the trampoline can be fun for the entire family.
2. Hide and Seek Tag
OK, I can’t be the only parent who enjoys a good game of hide and seek every once in a while? Add some tagging into the mix and you’ve made this simple game into a nice mini-cardio run.
3. Dance Party
Dancing is such a fun way to get an adequate amount of exercise in. Allow the kids to pick the songs to increase the fun! Let each member of the family have a turn at picking the song, but everyone must participate in dancing. After all, it’s a dance party! If you’re feeling a little extra, turn off the lights and get out the flash lights. Now, you have yourself a strobe disco party!
4. Chasing Bubbles
This one is more for the younger crowd, but from my family’s experience, bigger kids can have fun with it as well. Simply put, just blow bubbles and set a timer to see how fast the kids can pop all of the bubbles. Bubble machines work very well for this. Though if you do not have access to a machine, allow everyone to take turns blowing the bubbles so that you can participate, too!
5. Balloon Ball
Wondering what you can do with these leftover balloons from that birthday party last weekend? Here’s an idea! Blow up a balloon or two and toss it up in the air. Incorporate ‘the floor is lava’ into it to help influence the kids to keep the balloon from hitting the floor while also tossing it back and forth to one another. It’s a good activity to do indoors and out!
6. Red Rover
This is an old game that was fun in its time, but sadly forgotten about. To refresh the memories of those who have forgotten, the rules are as follows:
- Link Arms - Two teams form a line facing each other chaining their arms together.
- Initiate Challenge - One team will start by saying the words “Red Rover Red Rover send (someone’s name) over”.
- Defend and Multiply - That person will then run over and try to break through a chain of arms. If they do not succeed then they are to join that team.
- WIN! - The team with the most players at the end wins.
7. Scooter/Bike Riding
Do your kids know how much exercise they actually get from going on a bike ride or riding their scooter? Not only is it fun, easy and time efficient, these activities are also a great way to build muscle and provide cardio. With this activity, you can plan a nice Sunday evening for the whole family.
8. Water Gun Fights
Imagine, it’s a beautiful afternoon in July. The sun is shining and it's just hit the peak of about 88 degrees when you realize you still haven’t finished your workout for the day. Who really wants to go on a mile run in that southern heat? Just then, the idea hits you! You break out the water guns and fill them up with that icy cold water–or at least that's what the tap water feels like compared to the steamy concrete.
Call for the kids to grab one and run because you're locked and loaded and ready to cool off. Now, everyone is running about, getting sprayed and having a blast. Just like that, you’ve instilled the title of “not just a regular mom, you’re a cool mom.” Was it the same workout as a mile run? No, probably not. Did everyone have fun while getting their exercise and making memories? Oh yeah.
9. Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are always fun for the people hunting and for the ones hiding. Whether it be things around the house, toys, food, or even plastic eggs, kids of all ages always seem to be eager for the challenge of finding stuff. The best part of this is that you can incorporate an obstacle course with the scavenger hunt as well! Creating obstacles to get around in order to find the items ensures you’re maintaining your older children’s interest and they’re keeping up decent stealth to get through the obstacle before them. This can be fun for the entire family!
There is so much body movement in swimming. Have you ever recognized how hungry you or your children are after a nice day at the pool? That’s because you are burning calories while you swim and your metabolism is elevated. This increases how quickly your body synthesizes food into energy. Want to get the best work out on a really hot day? Take the family for a swim.
Children’s opinions mirror our opinions!
Exercise isn’t meant to be dreadful. Your body needs exercise to stay healthy and the benefits of exercising really add up. Maybe, the reason we have such a negative outlook on getting exercise for our body is actually because we’re doing it wrong.
Each individual is different and processes physical activity differently. What works for others may not work for you. What could work for you is simply staying active and moving in general.
These activities to do with your kids are fun and physical without pushing your body to do more than what you can handle in that moment.
Take a breath and create a new point of view on that not so dreadful word–exercise. Instill this newfound positive outlook on your children and enjoy being active with your family with these ten fun and easy activities!