With Pokemon Go getting millions of kids (and grown ups) out the door and moving with the simple click of a smartphone – parents are now pondering what other playful activities can have a similar effect. And while that’s not to say that exercise for exercise sake is not an impactful and extremely beneficial way to activate a child (have you ever seen the victorious smile of a 7 year old try showing off a push up or a plank? ) — for those looking for a more surreptitious angle to motivate movement here are five simple ways to a productively positive day.
Note: All activities and the many others like it are predicated on the same premise: Fun.
Encourage FUNctional Fitness – At PopFit Kids we like to say that Functional fitness is about doing everyday (fun) physical activities that accomplishes a task. Many of which can be done as a family where you can strengthen bodies and bonds. Join your kids for yard work or see who can get the car cleanest with a good ole’ fashion car hand wash. Take your four-legged friend for a walk. Ride bikes to the grocery store or the post office. The options are endless.
Make the Playground your Outdoor Fitness Center: Think American Ninja Warrior style! – Challenge your kids through a series of jumps, climbs, and runs on the play structure, around it and then back again. Draw a line of chalk and attempt a “high wire” balancing act (a must-have for overcoming dynamic obstacles not to mention an essential gross motor skill ). Create circuit stations using the many strength and cardio items in the park — mini-rock climbing areas, pull up bars, tunnels to army crawl thru are just a few fun things kids can tap into to create their own obstacles.
Dance, Dance.Dance. iPod? Check. Top 40 list? Check. Cool moves that groove in the mirror? Check. Now bring on the boogey! Dance is an effective aerobic workout that can also increase flexibility and improve body confidence. Whether belly dancing in your bedroom or hip-hopping after homework, dancing is a fun way to exercise Anytime, Anywhere.
Buddy System – Kids love to hang out with their friends, so invite a buddy along for a bike ride, offer to bring a classmate for a walk to the ball field, or head to the pool with a companion. Have a playdate at an ice-skating rink or sign up with a group of friends for a local charity fun run.
Games Kids Play. Reminisce a little amongst your parent friends and think about what made movement enjoyable for you. What games did you play as a child? Capture the flag? Kick the can? Tag your it? Put a fun, fitness spin on your favorites from yesteryear and introduce some creative twists to your family and neighbors. Oldies not all goodies? Ask your kids what daily games they like to play at recess and join in on their fun.
Bring along a healthy snack for in between breaks and your kids are sure to stay active and entertained for hours.