In this day and age of electronics and video games, it can be challenging to keep kids active. With childhood obesity on the rise, it's important to keep kids active and healthy. But that doesn't mean that it can't be fun.
There are so many easy ways to get kids up and moving that doesn't feel like "work." The important thing is finding an activity that your child enjoys. If they don't enjoy an activity, they won't be motivated to stick with it.
All kids have different personalities and things they enjoy. Some kids prefer team sports while others prefer individual sports. Some kids enjoy activities with structure while others enjoy more free play. Whatever your child likes, there's so many great options to keep them active and healthy.
Team sports are a great way to get kids active and teach them team work. There are so many team sports out there. They can usually be found at your local park district or school. Try basketball, T-ball, baseball, soccer, football or hockey.
Even if you have to try out every sport until you find one that your child enjoys, they are benefiting from the physical aspects and what it means to be a team player.
Individual sports are a great way for children to keep active especially if they prefer doing things on their own. These sports are usually done with other children so they are still getting the social aspect; they're just competing against themselves.
Some of these sports include running and cross country, gymnastics, archery and karate. You might have to try out a few different sports until your child finds one they enjoy, but that's half the fun of it!
Playing outside is one of the best ways for a kid to be active. As long as they are playing and moving, they are being active. Instead of turning on the TV or video games right after school, have your kids play outside.
Free play engages their imagination and social skills. There are so many ways to play outside: throw a ball with a friend, play tag, have races, kick a ball, go to the park, build a snowman or go sledding.
Walking is a great activity not only for children, but for the whole family. In the summer, we usually take a family walk after dinner. If your kids are like mine, they're bored after two minutes of walking so keep it fun. Collect interesting things on the way: leaves, rocks, etc. Walk a new route that you've never walked before. Count things on the way: how many red cars you see, how many dogs or how many other people are outside.
Join a gym
Many gyms these days are catering more to children. My son, who is 12, is a member of the gym that my husband and I belong to. Most gyms will often provide an orientation so younger children and teens know how to use the equipment correctly. There are also a lot more group fitness classes geared toward children these days.
Swimming is fun and it keeps you active. In the summer, kids love to spend the afternoon swimming and playing at the local pool. If you have access to an indoor pool, many offer swim lessons during the winter.
An alternative to swimming would be to set up a sprinkler in your yard. Running around the yard is fun and still keeps your child active.
It's important to our children's health that they be active and happy. Find a sport or activity that your child enjoys, try out lots of different activities to make it fun or just have your children play outside. A fun game of tag with mom and dad can be active, fun and make great family memories.
Heather Holtz is a fitness and health enthusiast who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two boys. She blogs at Run Eat Play about fitness, food, and family.
See more of Heather's stories here.