Every family knows the importance of being active. Exercise helps keep the heart, bones and muscles healthy and also helps with children’s brain development. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children and adolescents have at least one hour of physical activity each day. It can be hard to think of new, interesting activities to do as a family. Here are 10 fun ways for your family to be active together to help burn calories and stay in shape:
- Take a family bike ride. Strap on your helmets and ride around the neighborhood or to your neighborhood café for a healthy afternoon snack.
- Head to the park together and play. Play Frisbee, tag, enjoy the playground equipment or take a walk.
- Practice your child’s fall sports. Does your child play touch football, soccer, volleyball, basketball? Play together and consider inviting other neighborhood kids and families to play along.
- Take a nature walk or hike. Look for interesting or unusual plants, birds, bugs and other animals. Bring binoculars and magnifying glasses to get a closer look and a camera to record your finds. Don’t forget to pack water, bug spray, sunscreen and a hat to stay hydrated and protected while you are exploring.
- Plan and go on a treasure or scavenger hunt. If you’re planning a treasure hunt, take your family to a local park and set a course on a map, circling various “checkpoints.” Let your kids take turns navigating to each destination. If you have smaller children, consider a scavenger hunt at a local park. Consider what might be found at the park and customize your list to your children’s ages and abilities. You can list such as a purple flower, an acorn, three green leaves of different shapes and more.
- Play follow the leader. Parents and kids unite in this fun outdoor game. Line up single file and take turns weaving your way through the backyard, neighborhood or a park. Include jumps, skips and other fun moves those who are following must imitate.
- Have a dance party. While you’re watching your favorite family show, play some music during commercials and get up and dance. Be silly, be funny — just have fun and get a short burst of activity as a family.
- Sign up for a local 5k walk/run event. Many take place in the fall. Most offer a great family atmosphere and encourage participation of all activity levels for children and adults. Visit Active.com to find a race near you.
- Host a “backyard Olympics” with your family and friends. Include sack races, wheelbarrow races and three-legged races. Lay a yardstick on the ground and see who can jump the farthest. See who can hula-hoop the longest. Ask your kids for suggestions for games. Be sure to have water and healthy snacks for everyone who is participating.
- Teach your children games from your childhood. Remember hopscotch; Simon says; duck, duck, goose; red light, green light and other games you played as a kid? They count as exercise and will give your kids something fun to teach their friends.
Do have other ways you stay active with your family? Share them with us in the comments!