Stay fit as a family this spring with these health and exercise tips for kids and families.
Spring is a perfect time to make new fitness goals, eat healthy, and get outside for fresh air and exercise. Getting the whole family active and involved in activities can be challenging. Babies and toddlers spend a great deal of time sitting in car seats, booster seats, preschool or daycare chairs, on the couch watching TV, and spending time slouched over playing on an electronic device. Try creative new ways to bring the whole family together and ring in spring.
Enter a charity walk or run.
Find a local charity walk or run happening in your area and enter the whole family! Keep an hour open each weekend where you practice walking or running for the event. You can also turn the event into healthy competition and use a stopwatch to time your family members. At the event, the family member who has the best time gets an extra scoop of ice cream.
Turn commercial breaks into dance sessions.
Turn your TV watching time into a fitness challenge for the family. At each commercial break, turn up the tunes and dance your heart out! Create theme music nights and play music from the 80s, 90s, popular movies, and musicals. This family activity gets kids off the couch and moving. Your kids will love wigging and jiggling around the room. Dance is a fun way to stay active and move your muscles.
Build an obstacle course in the backyard.
The television show American Ninja Warrior is a popular family favorite that promotes fitness and health for young and old. Create your own obstacle course in the backyard to stay fit and have fun! Here are some ideas for making your own obstacle courses:
- Agility Race: Put hula hoops or pool noodles (connected together into circles) two-by-two on the ground. Use quick feet to step into each circle as fast as you can! For extra danger, surround the area with water balloons.
- Balance Beam: Create a balance beam out of wooden beams. Elevate the beam off the ground for a greater challenge.
- Leap Frog: Place tree stumps in a zig-zag pattern and have kids leap to each one. For toddlers, use bean bag chairs, pillows, hay bales, or any soft material so little ones don’t hurt themselves.
- Obstacle Crawl: Tie dozens of strings from one tree to another. Kids must craw underneath the string without hitting a single strand.
- Rope climb: Hang a rope from your largest tree and tie a bell to the top. Ring the bell when you’ve reached the top—but make sure you get there within the time limit! Tie knots in the rope to help younger kids climb.
Make a game out of yard work.
Turn spring clean-up into an exciting family fitness activity! Assign family members different yard work tasks like cleaning the gutters, washing windows, planting flower seeds, and mowing. When each family member has completed a task, they run to stick the letter “Y” on the garage door or house wall. The first family member to spell “YARD” wins and gets a special treat for dessert!
Plan healthy meals weekly.
Schedule about 30 minutes once a week to plan the next week’s meals. Pick meals that have a balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables. When the whole family is on the same healthy meal plan, you are more likely to stick with it and stay fit. Balanced meals give kids the nutrients they need every day to grow strong and healthy. When you eat healthy, you will have more energy to participate in fun family activities.
Take a scavenger hunt walk.
Make exercise fun and engaging! Make up a list of items you would find at your local park. Then take a scavenger walk and cross off the item when you see it on your nature walk. Collect some of the items such as rocks, leaves, and pine cones and use them for creating spring crafts for kids. Kids can also start their own rock collection with the unique rocks they find on their scavenger hunt.
Here are some suggestions for your spring scavenger hunt check list:
- 4 Leaves of different shapes
- Pine Cone
- 5 Flowers of different varieties
- Squirrel or chipmunk
- Ant hill
Don’t make beach day boring.
Avoid spending your beach day laying on a towel sun-bathing—as good as it may feel! Stay active by engaging in fun beach activities with your kids like playing beach volleyball, building sand castles, and holding timed swim races. Along with having family bonding time, you’ll also soak in some much-needed sunshine. The beach is a great place to get a workout. Sand offers an uneven surface, so your body works harder during exercises. Make sure you stretch in between beach activities and bring healthy snacks like fruit, trail mix, and yogurt.
Bike instead of driving to school.
Turn the school commute into a family activity by biking to the school. If the school is farther away, have the whole family bike together—for fun and safety. Bike riding gets your legs moving and your heart pumping. This activity will also build stamina in young kids. Start your morning with an invigorating bike ride and enjoy the fresh spring air!
Have a spring rain party.
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Put on your rain boots and rain coat and dance in the rain! Splash in puddles, dance with your umbrella, and look for earth worms that come to the surface during the rain.