When school is in session staying active as a family may feel like a challenge. Unless your child is naturally drawn to after-school sports, it is easy for physical health to go out the window—especially when kids are buried under a mountain of homework, studying for tests, and distracted by their electronic devices.
Thankfully, there are plenty of creative ways for kids to get moving once the school bell rings, especially when the weather is a little warmer. We spoke with three moms to learn their unique parenting techniques that add fun activities to the family planner.
Take group walks
Get your family into the habit of taking walks in the neighborhood after dinner. Not only will kids get some fresh air and exercise, but it’s a great opportunity to bond!
Get into the competitive spirit
There’s nothing like a little competition to stoke a kid’s motivation to get off the couch. If everyone has an activity tracker like a Fitbit, you can give little rewards for the best step count!
Go on nature hikes around the neighborhood and back yard
Hikes may not get your heart pumping as much as soccer practice, but they’re a great opportunity to sneak in some physical activity while bird watching or looking for collectibles to use for craft projects.
Take advantage of indoor play spaces
So many of these physical activities require the cooperation of the weather. But what if it’s too windy, dark, or rainy to run around outside? There are lots of indoor play spaces popping up all over the place, bounce houses, indoor trampoline parks, and even the Thibodaux Regional Fitness Center provides membership for teens 12-15 with the supervision of a parent member!
Encourage “old-school” games from your childhood
Do you remember when you used to play games of pick-up basketball with the neighbors? There’s no reason why you can’t pass your childhood games onto the next generation. Try four-square, hopscotch, or jump rope. Parents: get out your old jump rope and you can join in too!
Take the stairs
Encourage the whole family to ditch the elevators and escalators for stairs, make a game out of it with stair races if you live in an apartment building.
Put on a YouTube tutorial
Yes, that thing that often keeps them from any physical activity can also be a source of great (and free) exercise for all different ages! Check out kid-friendly exercise tutorial videos on YouTube.
Organize play dates around physical activities
Make exercise a social activity! The same kid that has zero interest in running or taking a walk with mom or dad will jump up and down to do an ice cube relay race or a three-legged race with friends.