Physical activity — you need it, your children need it. You need to keep your metabolism up, while they need it for their growth and development.
At the same time, you also need time to be together as a family. The obvious solution is to have active time together. Don’t you love hitting two birds with one stone?
Active Family Togetherness
Downtime with your kids when you do relaxing, low-key activities together, such as watching TV or working on a jigsaw puzzle, is important. But given the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that prevails today, it’s smart to prioritize active family time as well.
The following will hopefully give you ideas as well as inspire you to get moving with your kids.
1. Play with your kids.
It’s nothing elaborate or complicated. If you go out and start a game of tag or hide-and-go-seek with your kids, you’re sure to burn energy and calories as well as get your heart pumping.
Of course, with toddlers, it might not involve the games that bigger kids prefer, but playtime with them can be just as exhausting, if not even more so. For instance, do you have any idea how much crunching and chasing you have to do playing catch with a toddler? You’ll have to run after a wayward ball and bend over to pick it up quite a lot of times.
Playing with toddlers also usually means having to carry them at some point, so, in effect, you get to sneak in some weight training as well.
2. Participate in supervised activities.
For smaller kids, this usually involves the playground. You have another think coming if you believe that this means no more than finding a bench to park your behind on and watching from there to make sure that your kids don’t get hurt, bullied, or kidnapped.
This is especially true with toddlers who need to be pushed on the swing, assisted down the slides, lifted up to reach the monkey bars as they pretend to be ninja warriors, etc. Aren’t you exhausted just imagining it?
For older kids, you can look into organized sports. If you have the skills and know-how, you can take on a more involved role than just that of a supporter and spectator. You can also set up a refreshment stand that offers only healthy snacks and drinks that nutrition experts vouch for.
3. Ride bikes together.
A family who bikes together, improves cardio fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, joint mobility, posture and coordination, and many other good things together. You can pedal with your older kids and strap your toddler onto a child bike seat.
If you don’t have bikes, you can simply rent, especially if you don’t plan to ride them that often. For instance, you might want to just limit the activity to trips to a certain park. In this case, renting would be more practical.
4. Go for walks.
Walking is underrated, but it’s an awesome exercise. If you have to walk a lot in your daily routine, it makes a huge difference on your health and fitness than if you didn’t have to. If you don’t have to do a lot of walking, then you have to make the conscious effort to walk for the sake of walking.
Walking is something you can easily do with your family even if you have members who don’t walk yet. Strollers and backpack carriers actually add to the workout. If you have a dog, you can all walk the family pet together.
If you want a more challenging yet more fascinating kind of walk, go on a nature hike. Look out for birds, bugs, and other wildlife. You might also want to take pictures of all the interesting things you encounter – mushrooms, berries, flowers, rocks, etc.
Once you’ve strengthened your legs and gotten used to long walks, your family might want to join walks for important causes. That would be a fun exercise and a positive lesson for your kids.
5. Do fun chores together.
It’s like what Mary Poppins said: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” If you do chores together as a family, they become less difficult and boring. Washing the car, doing yard work, maintaining the garden — these are just some of the physically taxing tasks that you and your kids can have fun doing together.
Other Ideas for Active Family Fun
Here are some more suggestions for physical activities to do with your kids:
- Building a fort or a treehouse
- Going on a scavenger or treasure hunt
- Spending time in the water
- Dancing to lively tunes
- Doing game or sports nights
By being an active family, you get to address your and your children’s health and fitness. You also get your kids away from the couch potato culture and protect them from the currently pervasive screen time epidemic.
But, most importantly, you get to bond with your family and reinforce your love by committing time and attention to them.