There’s just something about the Spring air and warmer weather that inspires us to get outside and active. Right? Children, in particular, benefit from getting outside and being active — and you’ll feel good about it, too.
The CDC recommends children between the ages of 6-17 do 60 minutes or more of moderate- to-vigorous physical activity daily. That time has an impact in the short-term and long-term. In the short-term, physical activity boosts your kids’ mood, sharpens their focus, reduces their
stress, and improves their sleep (um…yes please!). It also will help them in the long term maintain a healthy weight, reduce their chances of depression, and foster a better body image. My husband and I have three boys at home. We like to keep physical activity exciting so our kids don’t feel like it’s a chore. Here are seven ways we keep activity fresh around our house:
1. Make an obstacle course.
Unleash your kids’ creativity in creating their physical challenges. Using only the items in the garage, have them make an obstacle course in the yard. It could be as simple as assigning each obstacle to an exercise. Five burpees at the shop vac, jump over the shovel, 20 jumping jacks at the garbage can, then run to the cornhole game for the finish. You’ll love seeing what they come up with.
2. Sworkit App
If you’re looking for a more guided exercise experience, check out the Sworkit Kids app. Choose from strength, agility, and flexibility-focused exercises; then decide how long the exercise should be. The app will provide a guided, kid-focused, fun exercise experience for your kiddos.
3. Progressive plank competition
In our house, we like competition. We recently did a plank competition between the five of us. The great part about a competition like this, is it allows you to start where you’re at, then work your way up. We initially started with a 10-second plank the first night. By the end of the month, we were all planking for nearly a minute! Now, we can plank through commercials.
4. Go for a bike ride
Biking is an activity that the whole family can enjoy most of the year and we have some great trails in our community. Find a trail near your house, load the bikes up and visit one of Central Minnesota’s great trails, or simply bike the sidewalks in your neighborhood.
5. YouTube it
For a quick, free, and fun exercise option, search “kids exercise” on YouTube. Even the littlest movers can dance, jump, sing, and follow along with millions of great videos that encourage activity. We especially love Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s youth exercise video series, available for free on YouTube.
6. Invent a new game
If you really want to channel your kids’ creativity, have them invent a game. Encourage them to work together to come up with rules, scoring options, and equipment needed; then, have them teach you how to play! They’ll work on teamwork, exercise their body and mind, and they’ll love teaching you for once!
7. Play catch
Playing catch is an easy way to be active (and outside) without needing a lot of equipment. We add motion to our games of catch by calling out where we’re going to throw the ball, so the other person has to run to that spot to catch it. The tree! The mailbox! The deck! I could go on and on about the different activities we do in our house to stay active. We try to take regular activities and make them unexpected and fun. As you’re encouraging your kids to be active, know that they’re watching you and your habits as well. Show your kids how to build physical activity into their daily lives by incorporating it into yours. I encourage you to set a physical activity goal for your kids – and as a family for the summer. And let us know where it takes you.