Wednesday, January 11, 2012

15 Ways to Exercise with Your Kids

photo by Neil Gould
It’s important to instill healthy habits in children when they are young. However, finding time to exercise is difficult when you are a full-time parent with young children. Instead of worrying about finding time to exercise, play actively with your little ones. Both you and your children will have fun and get exercise—and they won’t even know it! Get playing with these activities:

  1. Play tag outside. Children love to run around. You can also play Duck Duck Goose, Hide and Seek, or Kick the Bucket if your kids enjoy those games.
  2. Play catch. For more exercise, have your children throw the ball and you chase after it and vice versa.
  3. Jump on the trampoline, play jump rope, or play hopscotch with your children. All the bouncing is good exercise.
  4. Race your children in the yard or at the park. Children are very competitive and will give you a run for your money. Have different types of races or relay races for a good and fun workout.
  5. Make an obstacle course in your yard with things you need to climb over, jump over, run around, and crawl through.
  6. Blow bubbles and try to pop them all before they float away.
  7. Ride bikes together. If your children are too young, buy a bike seat for your child or a trailer to attach to your bike if you have more children. You can also roller-skate together.
  8. Take a walk together. If you have a dog, bring the dog along. Everyone can walk or your children can ride their bikes or roller-skate while you walk the dog. If there is a park within walking distance from your home, walk instead of taking the car. If your kids don’t like walks, disguise it as a scavenger hunt.
  9. Play with your children at the playground. Lift them up to go across the monkey bars; push them in the swing; play soccer or Frisbee. Be active with them instead of watching them from the bench. They will love the quality time you spend playing with them, too.
  10. Go swimming together. If your children can’t swim, carry them on your back for extra weight while you swim. If you don’t have a pool, run around in the sprinklers or have a water-gun fight. If you live near a beach, do some of these activities there.
  11. Have a dance party. Sing activity songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” or play their favorite music and dance free style. If they take dance lessons, let them teach you some steps.
  12. To increase balance and flexibility, play Twister or teach them yoga.
  13. Teach your kids how to hula hoop with various parts of your body. Or use it as a jump rope, roll it and chase after it, or include it in the obstacle course (see step 6).
  14. If your kids are involved in sports, practice the sport with them at home and let them teach you. If they aren’t, teach them a sport in the backyard or play a simple game like croquet or ping pong.
  15. Play energetic games on the Wii or Kinect.


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