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100 Ways to Get Kids Active


According to the Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last 30 years, with almost 1 in 5 kids being considered obese. To combat this growing epidemic, it’s recommended that kids get active for at least 60 minutes every day. But kids don’t always want to hit the gym, making it important to find fun ways to get active and fit, so we’ve compiled 100 different ways your kids and get moving and have a good time doing it.

Try a Team Sport

Team sports don’t just help get kids moving, they also teach them responsibility, social skills and how to work together toward an end goal, among other things. Not sure what sport to try? Check out the 20 below!

  • Tennis. Active shares ideas on how to get your child started in tennis and what equipment you need to learn the basics.
  • Soccer. Learning the fundamentals of soccer isn’t difficult and Livestrong outlines different guidelines to get your child started.
  • Baseball. Discover Kids explains how baseball is played and the object of the game.
  • Softball. Play Sports TV encourages parents and coaches to emphasize the rules of the game, which you can find in this post.
  • Swimming. Swim Kids breaks swimming down into several steps, explaining how you can help your child learn to swim and respect the water.
  • Track. Teach your child about the basics of each event in track and field, described here by NYYR.
  • La Crosse. PBS Kids details the basics of this game that’s a cross between several different sports.
  • Bowling. Kids can bowl as soon as they are able to pick up a five pound ball, which Bowling Info says is around the age of four.
  • Golf. Golf Tips recommends making golf fun instead of technical when kids are first starting to learn to play.
  • Biking. Parent Map suggests starting with a balance bike or making your own balance bike by taking the pedals off of a small bike, then graduating to a regular bike.
  • Rugby. This game may look like American football, but it’s very different. Rugby Sidestep Central says you need to get to know the ball first.
  • Karate. Dynamic Karate shares descriptions, videos and pictures on various karate moves and explains the basics.
  • Gymnastics. There are many separate moves in gymnastics, so start your child off with a simple somersault and work your way up using the videos on Grade Infinity.
  • Ice Skating. Find out how to teach your child how to figure skate by learning the basics described by USFSA.
  • Skate Boarding. Board Crazy reviews the fundamentals of skate boarding and how to learn without getting injured too much.
  • Snow Skiing. If you know how to ski and want to save some money, Bring the Kids suggests that you be the teacher.
  • Snow Boarding. TruSnow has a video that will help you teach your child the basics of snowboarding so they can get started in the correct way.
  • Water Skiing. Here are some tips from Essortment on how to teach your strong swimmer to water ski with the least amount of frustration.
  • Roller Blading. Wikihow has step-by-step pictures showing how kids can learn to roller blade.
  • Hockey. Remember the movie Mighty Ducks? Ducksters explains the basics of how to play ice hockey.

Exercise as a Family

Leading by example is one of the best ways to instill a love of something in your kids – and exercise is no exception. Instead of forcing your kids to get active on their own, take these 20 ideas and get active together.

  • Hold dance nights. Whether you want to turn on some music and dance at home or take a class as a family at a place like Ballet Austin, dancing can be a fun way for the whole family to exercise.
  • Exercise while cleaning. Get the family involved when it’s cleaning day at your house. Not only will everyone burn some calories, but the cleaning will get done faster. WebMD shares ideas on how to make cleaning more of a workout.
  • Teach the kids to garden. Fit Family Together shares how you can instill a love of gardening in your kids.
  • Exercise during commercial breaks. Work your exercise in around normal family activities like watching TV. Birdy’s Families in Motion has ideas of things you can do during commercial breaks.
  • Add an outdoor active chore. Try raking leaves as a family or doing other yard work to get active, suggests Let’s Move.
  • Go canoeing. Strengthen your upper body by canoeing or kayaking as a family, recommends Examiner. When you have fun exercising, you’re more likely to continue doing it.
  • Play Frisbee golf. A combination of golf and Frisbee, this game is perfect to learn as a family, says Go Famz. 
  • Go to a trampoline park. Indoor trampoline parks are becoming all the rage because they make exercise fun, explains The Courant.
  • Play the Wii sports games together. Nintendolife urges families to play Wii sports and other games together to get some exercise and have fun.
  • Volleyball at the park. Volleyball is a pretty simple game to start playing and is perfect for families. Find some of the basic rules on IML.
  • Go hiking. Healthy Kohl’s Kids details some of the things you should think about before hiking with your family.
  • Try laser tag as a family. Shadowland Laser Adventures explains how you can stay in shape by regularly playing laser tag. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize you’re exercising.
  • Take a class in rock climbing. Hippy Fit Mom created a video explaining the basics of rock climbing and why it’s the perfect way for a family to workout together.
  • Go horseback riding. Denise Austin Forever Fit says that families can have fun together while getting exercise by trying something new like horseback riding.
  • Have a hula hooping contest. Family Circle describes some hula hooping basics to increase your fitness levels while you hoop with your family.
  • Try broom or street hockey as a family. Learn the difference between broom hockey and regular hockey by reading the rules on NIRSA.
  • Check out a paintball game. Travis Air Force Base says that paintball is appropriate for all ages and teaches team building and leadership skills while burning calories.
  • Go on a family scavenger hunt. Focus on Family Fitness describes how to create an active scavenger hunt for your family.
  • Learn croquet. Diet To Go explains several games like croquet that you can play outdoors with your family.
  • Have fun at the park. Budget Doc urges families to focus on playing together instead of exercising to make it more fun.

Build in Fitness Opportunities

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that fitness has to be a designated work out at the gym. Instead, find ways to build it into each day. These 20 blogs share different ways you can sneak in fitness.

  • Ride your bike to school. Fuel Up to Play explains the benefits of kids riding their bike to school.
  • Earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. Learn what it takes to earn this award by reading Presidents Challenge.
  • Take a dance class. Philly Dance Fitness believes kids will have so much fun taking Zumba that they won’t even think of it as exercise.
  • Play hopscotch. Fitness Magazine encourages you to get your kids outside to play hopscotch.
  • Scoop snow. Give the kids chores that require exercise, like shoveling the snow, suggests Magellan.
  • Play on the monkey bars. Parent Dish explains the health benefits of kids playing on the playground.
  • Play a game of tag. Peak Fitness points out that kids who are active do better in school, whether it’s a game of tag or something more organized.
  • Jump rope. Kidz World reports that jumping rope for just 10 minutes a day will greatly improve your child’s overall health.
  • Play catch. United Healthcare suggests playing catch as an appropriate activity for kids ages 4 to 6.
  • Try a game of hide-and-seek with friends. Daily Burst of Energy says that hide-and-seek isn’t just beneficial for exercise, it’s also a stress reducer.
  • Take a ballet class. Dance Lova points out that kids will develop long, lean muscles, better posture and a flatter tummy with ballet.
  • Park at the back of the parking lot. Southern Cross advises doing simple things, like parking further away, to add in a little exercise.
  • Take the stairs. Things like taking the stairs and raking leaves can be as beneficial as going to the gym, according to Science Daily.
  • Limit screen time. Healthy Children urges parents to limit screen time so kids will be more likely to get active.
  • Put up a basketball hoop in the driveway. Gerber Life explains that playing H-O-R-S-E in the driveway is a fun way to develop a daily habit of exercise for the kids.
  • Blow Bubbles. Kids can work on their gross motor skills while blowing bubbles, says Mama OT.
  • Fly a kite. Better Health encourages parents to get their kids active by doing things that don’t even seem like exercise, like flying a kite.
  • Play ping pong. Newgy points out that there are many benefits to playing table tennis, including burning calories.
  • Invite a friend for a play date. Inviting a friend over to play outside may be just the incentive your child needs to get off the couch and get more active. Read more at Cincinnati Children’s Blog.
  • Try a kids’ yoga class. Yoga helps kids develop flexibility and body strength, explains Rainbow Kids Yoga, and can have other non-physical benefits as well.

Train for a 5K

Running is one of the best ways to burn calories, and signing up for a race can make training more fun. To learn how to start running, check out these 20 blogs.

  • Make a plan. Check out the running plan on Spark People to get an idea of how to make a schedule for your child or your family.
  • Invest in some good running shoes. Learn the specifics of how to buy a supportive running shoe for your child from Runners World.
  • Clock a baseline time for your child. Watch the video on New York Road Runners to learn how to get a baseline for your child.
  • Run every other day. Runner’s Goal points out that training should take place at the child’s pace and that cross training is essential to keep kids interested.
  • Do strength training between running days. Ice Runner Strength explains why strength training is safe for kids ages 10 to 14.
  • Improve your child’s running technique. Kid Fitness Expert gives tips on how kids should be running.
  • Encourage hydration. Learn about hydration when running in this article from DFW Child.
  • Get other kids to run with your child. Running with friends can keep your child motivated, explains About Running.
  • Run with your child for encouragement. Help Guide advises families to run together to encourage each other.
  • Increase the running distance each week. Hal Higdon gradually increases the running time by 2 minutes each week to make the increase manageable.
  • Make sure to warm up before running. Take a look at the warm-up recommended by the USA Triathlon.
  • Be sure to stretch before and after running. Teach your kids how to stretch properly before and after a run with the help of Health Your Way.
  • Set goals with your child during training. Runner’s Goal explains how to set goals with your child so that they learn to love running.
  • Change up your route. Competitor talks about the benefits of changing up the route and surface you run on to work different muscles.
  • Beware of burn out. Live from La Quinta recommends switching things up to prevent burn out.
  • Look for a 5K to run in. Run Locator can help you find a 5K or other runs in your area that you and your child can participate in.
  • Take one day off a week to rest. Learn why your child needs rest and recovery days at least once a week on Active.
  • Go at your own pace. Read about what it takes to avoid injury when your child is running or training on Runner’s World and make sure you don’t push them too hard.
  • Monitor recovery time. Read about the importance of recovery on American Hero.
  • Make it fun! Zamzee explains how to make training fun to keep your child interested.

Create a Walking Habit

One of the easiest ways to get exercise is also the simplest: walking. Learn how to establish a walking routine with your child with the help of these 20 blogs.

  • Create a walking log. Download this walking log from Blue Health Advantage Nebraska.
  • Be Consistent. Consistency is key to building a habit, explains Walk Like Enoch.
  • Write down walking goals. Good Health for Kids suggests creating both long term and short term walking goals.
  • Walk the dog.  Dogs can be great motivators, says Hub Pages, so get the kids to walk the dog daily and it’ll become a habit in no time.
  • Walk with a friend. Walking with a friend is more fun than doing it alone and is a smart way to get your child walking, advises Fit and Healthy.
  • Create a trigger. No Meat Athlete describes what a trigger or cue is and how you can create one for starting any habit.
  • Decide on a reward. Bubblews explains how setting a reward for reaching short term goals can help you stick with walking.
  • Praise the effort. U Chicago talks about the importance of parents praising their child’s efforts instead of the end result.
  • Get a pedometer. Read about pedometers for kids on Today.
  • Join a walking club. Walking with a group can be a fun motivator and may lead to new friendships, say Yahoo Voices.
  • Best app for tracking walks. Endomondo Pro from iMore is an app for the iPhone that tracks how far you’ve walked, the length of time you’ve walked and more. 
  • Sign up for a walking event. The Walking Site details tons of walking events that you can sign up for with your child.
  • Change the scenery. Walking the same route day after day can get boring and lead to burnout, so Diabetes Forecast suggests changing things up every once in a while.
  • Make walking fun. Tesco Living recommends playing follow the leader or creating mini competitions during walks to help kids have fun.
  • Replace an existing habit with walking. My Health explains how it is easier to replace an existing habit than it is to create a new one.
  • Take a walk after dinner as a family. Suite 101 urges families to eat dinner together and then take a walk afterwards.
  • Walk to the park instead of taking the car. Get the kids moving by walking to the store or park, says Healthy Alberta.
  • Train a group like scouts for a 5K. One of the best ways to learn something is by teaching someone else, says Ideas.
  • Walking to school benefits. U.S. News reports on a study that shows kids who walk to school increased their daily exercise, which could decrease obesity.
  • Walk rain or shine. Change for Life encourages kids to get out and walk, regardless of weather.
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