Do your kids enjoy playing on their tablets and smartphones? Are they constantly asking if they can watch a movie?
Sure, technology is great for kids. It keeps them entertained and teaches them valuable skills that they will undoubtedly need to use in everyday life. However, using technology becomes a real issue when it’s all that kids are doing in their free time.
Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than seven (that’s right; SEVEN!) hours using electronic devices. The issue here is that kids seem to be spending more time sitting on the couch, glued to their tablets and smartphones than being physically active. When they aren’t physically active, they are missing out on important developmental milestones, and could possibly be impacting their physical health, overall (less activity means less exercise.)
So, the next time you see your kids sitting on the couch watching the boob tube or trying to knock birds out of trees on their tablet, entice them to get up and start moving with these super fun activities.
Have a Dance Party!
Put on some tunes – your kids’ favorites or yours – and have a dance party! You may get some strange stares from the younger crowd, but when they see you’re having fun and being silly, they’ll get up get into the groove.
Make it really fun by showing them some classic dance moves (the “Mashed Potato” anyone?) You could also try making up some signature moves as a family.
Do Some Hula Hooping
If you don’t have any hula hoops in the house, get some. When you see your kids sitting on the couch, break the hula hoops out and get some fun exercise in together.
Teach your kids how to rotate the hoop using their hips. Jump through the hoops. Place a bunch of them on the floor and hop from one to the other. Have a hula hoop relay race.
Play Animal Charades
Write the names of different animals on pieces of paper, or draw pictures of them if your kids are pre-readers. Toss the papers into a bowl. Take turns pulling slips of paper out of the bowl and act out the different animals (remember to be silent while acting) until someone makes the correct guess.
Don’t Touch the Lava!
Randomly place pieces of paper on the floor. Pretend the floor is hot lava and the papers are islands. Everyone has to try to avoid stepping in the lava by jumping from island to island.
If you want to add an educational aspect to this game, use different colors of paper for younger kids and have them identify the colors of the islands; for older kids, you can write vocabulary words or math problems on the islands and have them define a word or solve a problem before they move to the next island.
Blow up some balloons and play a game of volleyball. The cool thing about this version of the game is that one person or a group of people can play it.
Toss the balloon up in the air and keep it moving by hitting it up before it falls to the ground. Use a couch or a coffee table as a center line. If one kid is playing, he can run from one side of the “line” to the other to keep the balloon up before it falls to the ground. He’ll be sure to work up a sweat and get in some good cardiovascular exercise.
Getting your kids up off the couch and moving is not only beneficial for their health, but it’s tons of fun, too! Get involved with these movement activities and you’ll create memories to last a lifetime!
For additional ideas check out our post on How to Create Fun, Safe & Effective Youth Fitness Programs!