Active Family Fun

Make physical activity a family priority. There are many creative ways to bring play into your child’s day.

Play with your kids—the best exercise of all. Challenge your children to a basketball, volleyball, badminton or whiffle ball game. Teach them your childhood jump rope games. Children like the idea of competing against adults. Have a sit up competition during commercial breaks.  Race to the car.

Go on a family hike and don’t be afraid to let the kids get dirty!
 
Let your children include their friends when planning activities. Establishing friendships and forming peer groups are of vital importance to your children at this age.  Children will be more likely to want to participate in activities that include their friends.

Walky talkys.
Walk and talk with your children.  The conversations are often richer and deeper when you’re moving.

Get smart. Instead of sitting at the table to do homework, take a walk with your child and practice spelling words, geography facts, etc. The brain works better when you move.

Pitch and catch. Play pitch and catch with your children.  Use different kinds of balls.  In the winter you can use indoor foam balls.  It’s good for eye-hand coordination and helps conversations flow.

Here, boy!  If you have a dog, play fetch with a stick, ball or disc.  

Join a community center that offers fitness and recreational programs. Check out your local YMCA , Department of Parks and Recreation or an area church with a fitness center or sports program.   YMCA’s have scholarships for children who need help paying membership fees,

If your child is involved in organized sports, offer to help out. Coaching is not the only way to get involved in your child's sports program. Offer to make calls, bring water for practice or transport children. If you stay involved in your children's activities, chances are greater that they will too.

Emphasize fitness, team work and fun, rather than competition and perfection. Not every child is going to be a great athlete. When children are made to feel inferior, they tend to withdraw from organized sporting activities. (See My child will never be an athlete.)

When picking indoor activities, select those that offer some type of physical activity. Bowling, skating or touring a museum are better choices than seeing a movie.

Discuss ways that everyone can be more active in daily life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from mall entrances. Take a short walk after dinner. Don't drive somewhere that you can easily walk to.