It's well-known that kids need plenty of exercise, but it can be hard to pry them off the couch and away from their electronic devices after they've had a long day. One way to get them moving is to engage the whole family in games that are simple and fun.
Here are some fun, easy games you can play with your children. These games don’t require special equipment, just creativity and a positive attitude. You can adapt the games and bend the rules to suit your family.
Set up an outdoor obstacle course with Hula-Hoops, two-by-fours, a tricycle, a spoon and an egg, a balance ball, and anything else you can think of. Set a timer and see who can complete the course fastest, or just have the kids finish the course as many times as they can. Then have each child create an obstacle course for parents and siblings to complete.
Block the driveway with a parked car so kids can play safely. Set up a goal at each end of the driveway with cardboard boxes or just by drawing lines in chalk. Use a lightweight ball instead of a puck. If you don’t have hockey sticks, you can use tennis rackets, brooms, or other household objects. See who can reach five goals first, or just play for fun.
Gather up all your family’s sports equipment and challenge kids to use each item for a different activity than what the item is usually used for. Can they toss a football through the basketball net? Is it possible to catch a flying disc with a baseball glove? Which is more fun, playing soccer with a golf ball or a tennis ball?
Hide a treasure in your backyard. Write clues on several index cards. Each player can earn a card by completing a fitness challenge, such as jumping rope 100 times. If the player can’t find the treasure after receiving a clue, he returns and completes another fitness challenge to earn another clue. Keep going until someone finds the treasure.
Use cereal boxes and other lightweight objects to create 10 bowling pins. Set the pins up in a pyramid at one end of a long hallway. Each player takes a turn rolling the ball or other round object (oranges make great bowling balls) and trying to knock down all the pins. Play like you’re really bowling, or just make up your own scoring system. Play for 10 rounds or until bowling fatigue sets in.
Make two teams. Round up blankets, towels, chairs, card tables, and other fort-making supplies. To earn supplies to create a fort, team members come to the leader for a fitness challenge, such as 20 squats. When all the supplies have been earned and the forts are completed, the leader judges the forts and declares a winner, or kids just play in their forts.
Life-size board game
Use masking tape to create a life-size game board with about 20 spaces large enough to stand in. Number the spaces, placing a diamond in several random spaces. Each player takes a turn rolling a die and moving the number of spaces on the die. If a player lands on a diamond, the next person in line assigns a fitness challenge such as 20 jumping jacks and sends the player back to the first space. The first player to reach the last space wins.
Fitness Go Fish
Play Go Fish with a fitness twist. Each time a player says “Go fish!” she gets to assign a fitness challenge, such as running up and down the stairs five times.