10 Activities to Get in Shape with Your Kids
Birth2Work Staff, mother
Is “Get in Shape” one of your resolutions this year? Are you wondering how you’ll do it, though, with a little one (or two) clinging to you? Don’t leave them out of the equation!
They can actually be quite motivating as fitness buddies.
Indoors or out, clear some space and have some fun! You might just be surprised at the workout you get from wiggling your booty, jumping up, and touching your toes.
Or, if your kids love to be tossed, flipped over, and spun around, you might break a sweat in a full 1940’s style “Swing Kids” remake in your living room! (Pro Tip: let everyone take turns as d.j. so everyone’s favorites get heard.)
GET IN SHAPE FOR A CAUSE
Letting your kids know that exercise can raise money for a good cause takes the pressure off you to provide the inspiration.
There are kids races (around 1 mile, you can run with them) and 5Ks in just about every town. Causes can be for local schools, charities, or national organizations like the American Heart Association.
Kids are surprisingly amenable to getting active when a medal and goody box are at the finish line!
WALK ANYWHERE YOU CAN
In a busy, busy world, it’s so easy to get in the car and get things done. But stop to consider the journey, not just the destination. If weather and proximity allow, walking with your kid(s) allows for some wonderful communication time between you.
You get to talk with them about the community and environment around them. They get to point out what they see and ask questions.
(Bonus: you don’t have to look for parking!) If you live too far to walk to your destination, don’t worry about “rock star” parking, just park at the very edge of the lot and walk in!
CREATE AN OBSTACLE COURSE OR “NINJA CHALLENGE”
Depending on your level of enthusiasm and your capability with tools, you could create an obstacle course at the park or your backyard—you name one for your kid and they name one for you.
Or, you could go all out American Ninja Warrior and build something at home. The key to fitness here is moving your body in all kinds of ways you don’t normally get to!
Try this: run up the short hill, do 10 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, circle eight between two trees, and then run back to the start. You can time yourselves and have a blast.
ROLLER OR ICE SKATE TOGETHER
Haven’t done either of these activities in a while? They are incredible workouts! Hearts racing, muscles engaged, and your mind wandering back to birthday parties of your childhood. Nothing better!
(Pro Tip: take a lesson together with your kid if you are feeling a little nervous!)
FAMILY BIKE RIDE
No description needed here … just get out together and do it! Usually a fun destination works best for inspiration. Lunch at a favorite spot perhaps?
Or you can jog while your little one scoots along. Or let one parent bike with the kid(s) while the other jogs over to meet at the destination. You can race!
WASH THE CAR
Why pay $20 for a hand washing when you can do it together. You’ll want car wash specific soap and a proper sponge (so as not to scratch the paint). Besides that, you and your kid can have a great time bending, vacuuming, and scrubbing.
(Bonus: if they have to clean up their crumbs, they are less likely to drop them in the first place!)
GO OLD SCHOOL
Tag, hopscotch, four square, and Hula-Hoop are all games you know and need minimal resources. At the gym, your trainer calls these activities “speed bursts,” “plyo,” and “core work”!
Save the gym fees and wow your kid with your mad hopscotch skills from back in the day. You may never laugh so hard together
LET YOUR KID LEAD YOU IN WARM-UPS OR YOGA POSES
Any child in Jr. athletics, dance, or gymnastics will have a regiment for warm-ups. And many, many schools have started incorporating yoga into PE and into the classroom as a great way to work out some extra energy.
You can take turns leading each other and practicing your stamina as you check one another’s proper form!
(e.g., beach games, sledding or shoveling, swimming) – Depending on the season, you have a host of activities and adventures awaiting you. Getting chores done or just playing, you and your child can head out and spend an hour together in your environment.
Don’t forget to point out that what you are doing is unique to your area! Bring situational awareness and explain the unique knowledge they’ll have for the rest of their lives by being out with you!
(Fun Facts: snow people learn to keep the shovel blade close to the body to prevent back strain while sand people learn to put baby powder on their feet to dust it off before getting in the car.)
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