Family Health

33 Ways To Keep Kids Active At Any Age

Sep 15, 2015

As a parent, it can be challenging to help your kids get the physical activity they need every day. Make active play a little easier with these 23 tips from ParticipACTION.

Introduce Physical Activity Into Your Child's Life Early

1. Choose a day care that spends plenty of time outside, in the park or at the playground.

2. Select a preschool or day care within walking distance of your home and leave the car at home every day. You and your child will both benefit from the walk.

3. Take your child to the local playground and encourage him or her to climb, swing and play. Arrange to meet up with friends so it’s fun, active and social for every member of the family.

4. Make use of the programs and facilities offered at your local community centre.

5. Let your child try different sports in age-appropriate classes, such as gymnastics, dance and swimming.

6. Avoid prolonged periods of time where your child is sedentary.

7. Encourage your child to play and explore the outdoors.

Be A Good Role Model

8. Your kids are watching you, even when you’re watching TV! Keep TV viewing in moderation.

9. Make sure you live an active life. It’s important that your child sees you running, walking and playing sports.

10. Display a positive attitude that being active is fun and feels good.

11. Teach your kids to make the active choice—avoid the escalator at the mall and the elevator in your apartment building as often as possible.

12. Participate as a family team in a charity run, walk or car wash.

Balance Screen Time With Fun Time

13. Remove TVs and computers from your child’s bedroom.

14. Let your child choose two shows or computer games they can watch or play a day.

15. “After-school” is a key timeslot for kids. School sports teams, active daycare, play dates with a neighbour and community programs all offer great after-school alternatives to screens.

16. Make screen time active time; challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks or leg lifts during commercial breaks.

17. Explain to your kids the importance of outdoor play. Make sure they know decreased screen time is not a punishment.

18. Tell your babysitters when they’re with your kids, screens go off and active, fun time is expected.

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Sport Participation Is Part Of the Equation

19. Sign your children up for sports groups and teams at the earliest opportunity, so they can start learning important skills. Make sure to keep it fun though. It’s the physical activity that counts – not the competition. Volunteer to help out with your child’s team or club.

20. Show your support and try to attend as many games as possible.

21. Consider walking a few laps around the field or arena with the other parents to get your own hearts pumping.

22. Join adult sports teams and encourage your kids to come and cheer you on at games and tournaments.

Family Time Is Fun Time

23. Try an active vacation destination, with a hiking trail or hotel pool nearby.

24. Go for a family walk, bike ride or swim, take karate lessons or learn to throw a Frisbee together, or even challenge the neighbours to a baseball game.

25. Don’t forget that raking, vacuuming and gardening count as physical activity.

26. Do household activities as a family.

27. Build a family physical activity into every weekend.

28. Go for a hike or a bike ride, build a fort in a local wooded park, or play a family game of soccer or football.

Physical Activity Is Smart

29. Tell your child’s principal and other parents that physical activity is a priority for you and not a “frill”. Advocate for P.E. classes and active opportunities offered every day.

30. Make sure your child always brings his or her running shoes and is ready to be active at school.

31. Pack your child’s backpack with a baseball glove or skipping rope so recess can be active time.

32. Join the school’s Parent Council and speak up for increased physical education classes and active opportunities offered every day.

33. Suggest seasonal yard days and annual sports play days.

Article Author The Moblees
The Moblees

The Moblees is a multi-platform "Movement Movement" designed to promote healthy active living among Canadian children. Along with partner organization ParticipACTION, The Moblees aims to provide early intervention strategies to reduce childhood obesity and to inspire a foundational change in the way children and their families move through their daily lives. 

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