Get Your Kids Off the Couch and Out the Door This Summer
By the middle of summer, kids are often repeating the “I’m bored” mantra and easily sliding into a technology daze. Not only is this scenario a recipe for clashes between parents and children, it’s also a situation that leaves children falling far short of needed physical exercise. Try these five creative ideas to get kids of all ages off the couch, out the door, and moving for the remainder of the summer.
Build a Backyard Obstacle Course
Watch your kids find a sudden energy spurt and leap into action to help you build this fun and inexpensive obstacle course in your own backyard. You may even have all the materials needed on hand.
- Arrange three or four hula hoops flat on the ground for children to jump or hop in and out of as the course warm up.
- Build a tunnel out of pool noodles to crawl through. Gather ballpoint pens or dowel rods, stick one end in the ground, put a pool noodle on top, and then bend the noodle to the desired curve height, and place the other side of the noodle on top of another pen. You can make the tunnel as short or as long as you like depending on how many noodles you have.
- Buckets can be placed upside down to create a zigzag course to run through.
- If you have enough children or adults playing, you can end the course with children jumping a rope that two people are swinging.
Check out how one dad created an entire obstacle course out of pool noodles from BabyLeague here.
Create an Outdoor Art Gallery
A pack of sidewalk chalk can entertain both younger children and teens and turn them into chalk art masters. Encourage older children to try a mural or possibly copy a famous painting. Younger children may enjoy drawing flowers, pets, or trees. You can also encourage chalk math, with children creating and answering their own math problems.
Play Balloon Tennis
Gather flat wooden paint stirrers (found at paint or home supply stores), paper plates, and balloons for this fun tennis game that can be played inside or outdoors. Hot glue a paint stick to the flat side of a paper plate, leaving enough free of the plate for a racquet handle. Blow up balloons and use either an imaginary net or create one with rope between two trees or string between two chairs. You can easily adjust the net based on the height of the players. Watch your children have fun building hand-eye coordination and burning calories.
Take a Family Bike Ride
If your family has bikes, everyone can get in their exercise and quality family time with a family bike ride. Many area parks have bike trails and parking, or if your neighborhood has some side streets with less traffic, you can simply set out on a course close to home. Pick a Saturday morning or weekday evening to avoid the heat of the day, and be sure everyone has properly fitting helmets and understands the rules of the road.
Try a Game of Bandana Tag
Older children or teens will enjoy this wide open version of tag. Everyone is “it.” Each participant should have a bandana to tuck along their waistline. Players tag each other by snagging bandanas while also trying to keep their own bandana by avoiding other players. The game is over when only one person is left with their bandana intact.
Need Help Keeping Your Family Healthy?
In addition to regular exercise, both adults and children are healthier when they have a trusted primary care provider who is available for acute illnesses, annual check-ups, vaccinations, management of chronic diseases, and guidance in reaching health goals.