Take a look around and you will notice that many kids today struggle with their weight. If you want your kids to stay active through the dog days of summer, you may need to put a little effort into creating some fun activities. These five fun, active games keep your kids (and yourself) active, both physically and mentally, and kids will want to play them again and again!
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Whether you are in your own backyard or at a rest stop on your way to summer vacation, you can create a scavenger hunt of items that children are likely to find outdoors. This helps your children in two ways: First, it gets them out and exploring in the environment where they are, whether your yard or somewhere you are traveling. Second, it gets them running, climbing and hiking. Your kids will tear out after the items on the scavenger hunt list if you make it exciting enough!
This game works indoors or out as long as you have access to a radio or your music library. Put on some fun music, scatter stuffed animals around the room and have the kids dance like there’s no tomorrow. When you suddenly pause the music, everyone must freeze. If someone moves, the person controlling the music will catch them, and they must grab a stuffed animal to dance with. Continue dancing until all of the animals are in play. With Freeze Frame, children are getting active while learning to pay attention to the music.
This old-fashioned classic is a great way to keep kids active. One person, which can be the adult or a child, is “Simon.” That person will call out a command by saying “Simon says jump 10 times.” The players must follow the direction, but only when the words “Simon says” are used. If they make a move when Simon does not say “Simon says,” then they are out. Game play continues until all players but one are out. Make sure the things “Simon” is asking the children to do are active movements. The educational component of this game is in following directions and careful listening.
Active Board and Card Games
Do your kids love to play card games, like Go Fish? These are highly educational, as they require kids to focus on taking turns, counting, making matches and learning strategy — but they can be made active, too by adding an active step to the game. For example, in Go Fish, you can say that the person who has to “go fish” also has to run around the living room. This will keep the game fun, engaging and active. Add an active component to other favorite board games. Maybe the game of choice is Candy Land: Have one color in mind, and whenever the children draw that color they have to do 10 jumping jacks. Any board or card game can be turned into exercise with a little creativity.
Life Size Number Line
Create a giant number line out of a roll of paper on the floor or using sidewalk chalk outdoors. Then, have your child jump the addition or subtraction facts you are practicing. For example, if your child is adding 2 + 3, have him start on 0 and hop to 2, saying “2,” then hop three more saying “plus 3.” He will land on 5, which is the answer. Saying the numbers out loud will reinforce the learning of addition and subtraction, and the active jumping makes it fun and engaging. You can use the same strategy to practice negative numbers when your child gets a little older.