Get Fit! How To Get Your Kids Active

With more concerns about the rising rate of childhood obesity, we certainly know that keeping kids active is an important part of helping them stay healthy. Of course, most people can easily think of all the organized sports that may keep their kids active, but how about for younger kids or those that just don’t like organized sports? One suggestion is to have a box that contains folded notes describing activities. When your kids say, “I’m bored,” have them draw a note randomly from the “Boredom Box.” Here are some ideas to get your box started:

  • Find fun indoor activities for kids like hacky sack, hide-and-seek, basketball with a soft foam ball. Have the kids make up a new dance or create a play to share with family and friends. Make a game out of jumping in place or hopping on one foot and see who can go the longest. Have them pretend they are bunny rabbits or kangaroos.
  • Suggest some inexpensive outdoor activities like jump rope, 2-square or 4-square games with bouncy balls, pitching tennis balls or other soft balls against a wall (put up some targets to make it fun for younger kids), Frisbee, hopscotch, or tag.
  • Household activities can even be considered physical activity and help burn calories. Have them wash the dog or car, vacuum or dust. Besides getting a cleaner house, you will create more active kids!

Other ideas to find that balance for being physically active:

  • Schedule in family time for active things like going for a walk or bike ride. Make sure to put it on your calendar and make it a priority. Look for nature walks or other family activities at park and recreation centers in your community.
  • Most important, set limits on screen time, which includes TV, computer, video games and handheld games. Just about anything kids find to do will burn more calories than setting in front of a screen. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than 1 to 2 hours a day of combined media time for older kids and no TV for kids under 2 years of age.
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