Summer’s here! It’s time to get outside with your family, be healthy, and have fun!
We are well aware of the high rates of childhood obesity, but how do we go about changing those numbers? For children, it comes down to influence. And who influences them more than parents?! Change the environment, and behaviors will change quickly. So even if you aren’t as active as they are, I’ll outline some ideas that you can easily use to engage your children and their friends in some active outdoor fun. It’ll be a workout and they won’t even know it!
Also check out these Healthy lunchbox ideas for kidsRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The benefits of kids workouts
Aside from the obvious benefits of physical activity, play offers a unique sense of creativity to both the adult and the child. It provides a time for bonding, cooperation, and vitally important learning. When we can simply have fun, we build positive associations with moving. And in this day and age, that’s unfortunately not always the case. Workouts are great, but kids aren’t training for anything, right? I encourage you to think of exercise with children as play. Take control with guidelines, but remain open to new ideas.
What to include
For a balanced body, variety is a must. General movements that should always be included are squats and lunges, pushes and pulls for the upper body, and coordinated skills like skipping and throwing. Additionally, any type of hold will greatly improve the strength, endurance and body awareness of a young child. Heck, it works for everyone! Examples are one-legged balance, pushup holds, and hangs. These are the essentials and can be placed into any workout or game.
How to get them to move
So, what’s fun?… Games. They can be personal and team challenges for distance or time. Or, they can just be silly, with no real purpose. The best games also involve people- friends, brothers, sisters, or cousins. The more the merrier and with more people comes more opportunity for learning teamwork and problem solving skills. Then, when we can bring it all outside and get some fresh air, we’ve really got a good thing going.
5 Outdoor Workouts for kids
Two rules: 1. Be safe. 2. Have fun.
1. Obstacle course/circuits
For an obstacle course, use any variety of movements and exercises. Then, send kids through a planned series of dynamic challenges. As a circuit, simply time each station for 20-30 seconds.
1. Bear crawl under hurdles or tied up sheets/ropes for 15 yds…
2. Then, jump/hop through speed ladder or over sticks on the ground…
3. Then, on one foot, toss a ball into a bucket…
4. Then, pull a sled, filled with books or other toys. (Use a jump rope as handles!)…
5. Then, lunge walk 15 yds.
2. Relay race
Relay races bring competition and teamwork. They can be fast… or they can be slow.
Fast – Bear crawl to point, come back and tag next person.
(Make it longer by adding skipping, running, or side shuffles.)
Slow – Pairs of kids cross from point A to point B using only two or three “safe spots”. These can be frisbees or small towels.
3. Timed challenges
These are all about personal improvement. Beat your time by 1 second? Awesome!
1. Balance on one foot
2. Pushup hold
3. Hang from bar, tree, rope.
4. Tag variations
The best versions of tag keep everyone moving.
1. Bear Crawl Tag, Skip Tag, etc… (just change the way they move)
2. Lava Tag (Use anything you want as safe zones – cardboard, towels, etc…)
3. Freeze Tag (freeze on one foot)
5. Dodgeball variations
Like tag, the game changes simply by changing the movement. Think about how the throw can be changed (wink, wink).
1. Infinite Dodgeball – Everyone has a ball and everyone for themselves. Sit when you’re hit. Get back in by hitting someone standing.
2. Lose-A-Limb Dodgeball – Same as Infinite, except hits to arms and legs just mean you can’t use those parts anymore! A hit to the torso finishes you off.
3. Doctor Dodgeball – One person makes people sick (out) and one person heals people (back in).
Use these ideas and let your imaginations run. Workouts for kids must be active for both the body and the mind. Explore new rules and variations and, above all else, have fun!