6 Ways to Make Exercise Fun for Kids
Kids need exercise. Children’s activities, many of which are dominated by computers, music and gaming devices, are becoming increasingly sedentary. The rise in childhood obesity is disturbing. In just one generation, the rate has tripled. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects the lives of 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years old in the U.S. The CDC recommends a daily dose of 60 minutes of aerobic activity to improve a kid’s overall health and fitness.
These fun activities are great ways to get your kids’ hearts pumping, muscles moving and bodies working up a sweat. These aren’t just for children, so lace up your sneakers and join your kids. You can get a workout too.
Gallop like a horse, run like a tiger and hop like a kangaroo. Call out an animal name and have everyone mimic its well-known action. Let everyone take a turn calling out animal names. Who knows where this could lead!
Younger kids love acting out their favorite animals. For older kids, incorporate this fun game into a lull in the action during a round of soccer kicks or playing catch.
Kids of all ages love balloons. Blow up one for every kid and have each child keep his or her balloon in the air. Challenge your kids to see who can keep theirs afloat the longest without it hitting the ground.
Change it up and have a balloon volleyball game. Create a court by stretching out a jump rope to make two sides. Have players alternate serves and play until one reaches a score of 21, the winning score in volleyball.
Family-Made Obstacle Course
Everything you need to make an obstacle course is probably in your garage. Pull out all the sporting equipment and the empty cardboard boxes piled up in the corner. Set up stations by placing a jump rope in a zigzag pattern. Next lay a set of Hula Hoops and a series of cardboard boxes to leap over. Encourage your kids to get creative, and come up with fun ways to jump and run over found objects in your garage.
Who can walk backward the farthest? Who can hop 10 yards on one leg the fastest? How long can you dribble a basketball? The possibilities are unlimited. Challenging one another can spark a competitor’s spirit.
A highly competitive game can backfire for some families. If the range of kids’ ages is too far apart, the younger child could potentially be the one to always finish last. Pull out the stopwatch and make a chart. Have your kids compete against themselves. Time how many jumping jacks your kid can do or how many times he can jump rope in a minute. Encourage him to beat his personal best. It will help your child strive to become stronger and faster.
Throw a Dance Party
Athletic skills are not required at this party. Crank up the music and just move to the beat. Everyone has a move or two to show off. Even air guitar counts.
Play freeze dance. One person controls the music by hitting the pause button. When the music stops, so does the dancing. Keep the music paused until everyone has stopped dancing and is holding their last dance position. Turn the music back on and repeat until the end of the song. Give everyone a turn at controlling the music. It will give everyone a moment to catch their breath and watch the fun.
Be a part of bringing up a healthier generation. Active kids are healthier kids. Developing a fitness routine early in life will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of good physical health. Make exercising fun and get your kids’ feet moving.
Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mother of two daughters who lives in Charlotte.
Did you know? These fun activities can earn you points in the Fit Family Challenge!
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