Easy Family Exercise

Working out as a family is a generally good idea. It teaches the kids to build good fitness habits and can be very encouraging for the parents. It’s also a lot of fun.

Going to the park

I don’t mean for the parents to sit and watch while the kids play. Pushing kids on the swing can be a small workout for your arms. If you have two young enough to enjoy being pushed on the swing, you can do what I call ‘kid juggling’ and push one with each arm. If you get them going at the right rhythm, it’s pretty constant.

If the playground equipment is strong enough, you can climb and slide with the kids. Yes, it’s undignified. It’s also fun.

family exercise

Older kids can enjoy playing sports at the park. Kick a ball around, play a bit of baseball, whatever appeals to your family.

Go swimming

Well, probably not right now, in the middle of winter, unless you have access to a nice indoor pool. But once things warm up this is a great form of exercise.

The younger your kids are, of course, the more limited your own activities will be, but even with babies you can do a lot of exercise. Even jogging in place in a swimming pool takes some effort. So does swinging kids around in the water.

Walk, skate, ride a bike…

You get the idea. Whatever your family will enjoy doing together. The nice thing is that these can be done along your own street if you like, or you can venture further afield.

Play in the snow

It’s winter, and while exercising outside is a bit harder to do, taking advantage of the snow is a really fun way to do it. Bundle up and play in the snow if it’s in your local area, or drive out to enjoy it!

Kids can maker it harder to go to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Making the time for exercise as a family can be loads of fun.

Healthy and Active Gifts for Kids

Like most parents, I feel like my kids have far too many toys. It’s a very normal reaction, I think. Kids get toys from so many sources, and often have more than they can reasonably play with.

But I have one rule I tell people when they ask me. If it’s a toy that encourages activity, creativity or is educational, go ahead and get it. Hard to get too much of quality toys in that area.

There are a few toys that I think are really great to give to children to encourage them to be more active. Some are more for indoors (great for winter if they don’t want to go outside) while others are for playing outside.

The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle is one example. A lot of people laugh at the idea, since it is far better to encourage kids to be active outside than in playing video games, but if you’re getting a toddler a video game system, better to get one that encourages activity.

For older kids, the Wii is a decent choice. Just get some of the more physically active games to encourage the kids to get up off the couch when they play. Alternatively, Dance Revolution is popular, and you can get the dance pad for a variety of gaming systems.

NERF makes a lot of really great active toys. The big one this year is the Nerf N-Strike Disk Shot, but they have a wide range of toys that encourage kids to run all around and play. Some are good for indoors but many really do best outside.

For outdoor toys, in addition the the usual bicycles, inline skates and skateboards, consider the Ripstik Caster Board. It’s a cool twist on the usual skateboard and looks to be a lot of fun. People describe it as a cross between a skateboard and a snowboard, and the reviews on it have been excellent.

If your kids don’t have a lot of toys that encourage them to go outside, now is a great time to start changing that. If the weather is such that they don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, find variations that allow them to play more actively inside. Many of them will utterly delight the recipient.

Take a Child Outside Week

I meant to mention this the other day, but it’s currently Take a Child Outside Week. It’s an internation program aimed at encouraging parents to get their children to play outside.

There are a lot of great reasons to do this. Playing outside does more than just fight obesity, although that is one of the key benefits. But kids who do a lot of playing outside tend to do better in school, and they can be more in touch with nature.

This program doesn’t count sports in the same way as other outside activities, as this is more about getting the kids out into nature than playing team sports. Team sports do have much to be said for them in terms of fitness, of course.

Whether you want to take your child for a hike, play in the back yard, go to a neighborhood park or indeed, have him or her join in some team sports, it’s a good time to get moving on having your kids play outside more.

[tags]play outside,kids,kid fitness,take a child outside week[/tags]

Helping Your Kids in Sports

Lots of kids love to play sports, but it can be hard to explain to them some of the basic skills involved, much less the more difficult skills. This is where a site such as Play Sports TV and its instructional guide for sports could come in handy.

I took a look at the section on soccer, since that’s what I played for about 4 years growing up. They offer videos on basic skill such as trapping the ball with the foot all the way up to advanced dribbling techniques. I don’t think I got quite that far when I was playing.

Perhaps even better in these days of excessively competitive parents and coaches is that they also share tips on keeping sports fun for the kids. That should always be a focus of children’s sports, since too many kids are overstressed about their performance on their team, or are worked so hard so young that they ruin their chances at the professional sports career they and/or their parents dream of.

There’s plenty of sports-related content for both young players and their parents to enjoy on this site. While it might be nice to have more obvious links to the motivational articles and the articles discussing good sportsmanship, the site overall does a good job and is worth checking out if you have a child who wants to play a sport or is currently playing a sport.