How to Keep Your Kids Active Through the Act of Play

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to walk everywhere together.  On the weekends we would longingly listen to the sound of the ice cream truck mysteriously making its way through our neighborhood without any site of the truck until the later hours of the evening.  My father would see us waiting on the porch and whether out of encouragement or just to get us out of the house, he would give us a challenge – to go find the ice cream truck ourselves.  This would be our adventure for the day and despite the fact that we never actually found the ice-cream man until we were too pooped and sitting on the porch where we began, this was a challenge that kept our minds busy and our bodies active.  Keep in mind, I grew up in what was a very safe town at the time, so wandering about the neighborhood on foot for hours on end was of no worry.  The point is, as parents, it’s our job to make sure our children are active on a daily basis and at that time, my father had a creative way of doing just that.

So, in today’s world, what are some creative ways to be active with your kids?

Here are some of the things I do with my children:

 

Idea #1: WORKOUT TOGETHER

Each morning, I wake the children, feed them breakfast, get them dressed and head out the door on foot to take my son to school.  As this is a daily thing, we are fortunate enough to have 10-20 minutes together where we walk outside, rain or shine.  However as summer approaches, my son will finish school and we will have the entire day together where I’ve made a plan for us to begin working out together so that I don’t fall behind on my morning routine of self care, and they can continue to stay as active as they were when school was in session.

As I don’t see both of my children lifting weights with me, I’ve chosen to start to integrate some yoga for us to do as a family.  The Kids’ YOGA Deck is a fun way to not only get them moving, but to also stimulate their brains as this is a deck of flashcards with different yoga poses.  Bring out the deck, hold up a card, and make it a family challenge to hold each pose for 30-60 seconds.  To make it even more fun, create incentives for them.  For example, If they get through 10 yoga poses 2xs through, everyone gets to have a healthy frozen treat of some kind!

 

Idea #2: Take Them to the Park…and PARTICIPATE 

I can’t tell you how many times I go to the park and see kids running around only to find their parent(s) or caretaker on the park bench, texting away on a cellphone.  I’ve been plenty guilty of this as well, however, having multiple children to take to the park at varying ages makes this a very difficult task.  That is, unless I don’t mind the thought of them getting lost, kidnapped, etc.  (note sarcasm)


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     So, in what ways can you participate at the park?  For starters, THINK LIKE A KID.  Crouch yourself down, get your knees dirty, and make a game of whatever is going on.  Perhaps it’s a simple game of hide-go-seek or a simple game of freeze tag that gets everyone moving in the some direction.  Maybe you simply stop by the dollar store and pick up a few bottles of bubbles so that they can be chased by all?  (a personal favorite of mine)  By the end of whatever game you choose, you’ll find that your kids are entertained, you are sweating, and everyone is ready for a snack and perhaps a nap! (fingers crossed)

 

Idea #3 It’s Raining Outside…NOW What

This one can get tricky because when it’s raining outside, I often think of curling up inside with a movie, a board game or some other sedentary game.  This is where you can really get creative.  Challenge yourself to forget about the clean floors and your clean kids for a moment, put on your raincoats, and HEAD OUTSIDE.

Jump in puddles, make mud pies, and bring the bath toys out for a swim.  No one ever gets sick from getting wet, and kids love to play in the mud!  Just be sure to have warm, fluffy towels handy!

 

If you have ideas that you’d like to contribute, please comment below or join OPAL Mom™ for FREE & share in the OPAL Mom™ Community Forum!  !  I’d love to hear about the creative ways that you stay active with your kids!

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