As a society, we focus on teaching the basics from a very young age. We focus on things like behavior, education, and socialization. So why isn’t health on that list? No, I’m not talking about making your toddler do pushups! I’m thinking more along the lines of healthy habits and lifestyle. How do we incorporate those things into family fun?
I just read a fantastic article about the ways that the latest generation is being raised. It talked a lot about how babies and little kids already know more about phones and tablets than their parents do! Impressive, absolutely, but here’s where it took a turn.. Kids are growing up already dependent on technology. They are living more in the virtual world of their game than they are here in the present moment.
Driving to Grandma’s house? Let her play with your phone. Trying to get some work done? Give him your tablet. Won’t stop crying? Put his game on the iPad. There is almost no amount of downtime that isn’t filled with technology. And that is really just a microcosm of our entire society. How long do you go without looking at your phone or computer? I literally pick up my phone EVERY commercial when I’m watching a game.
So what do we do?
Make HEALTHY Fun
Right now, if you told your kids you were going to the park and they couldn’t bring their phones or tablets, would their first emotion be excitement or would they be upset? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that most kids would not be thrilled about the idea. So let’s fix that!
Here are some FORCED FAMILY FUN ideas to get your family active!
Go On a Hike
It doesn’t have to be a mountain! It can be a walk through the woods. You can find a park with a view. Or you can take a family vote on a few cool places that aren’t too far to travel to. Maybe take a long weekend to explore the next state over! Travel, even if it’s only a couple hours away, can feel like a mini-vacation. Build some excitement around it and get your family moving!
Hit the Beach
Long walks on the beach don’t have to be romantic! Digging your feet into the sand and walking a mile or two is GREAT for your legs! The unstable surface incorporates more stabilization muscles than a regular stroll around the block. Not to mention the view, the warm sun, and the waves distract you from thinking you’re actually doing some type of exercise.
They would rather lay down and listen to music than take a walk? Well how about throwing a football, frisby, baseball, or playing volleyball, slam ball, or paddle ball? Get the competitive juices flowing!
A Day in the Park
This one piggybacks on the beach concept. So if you need another idea, or you don’t live anywhere near any kind of beach, here’s the next option..
Tell your kids to invite a few friends for a picnic at the park. The more the merrier here as you can go full-on sports mode! Bring some balls and a few cones for boundaries or goals and play all day! Football, soccer, wiffleball, kickball, capture the flag.. Find a nice spot in the field and set up shop. Eat and have tournaments all day!
Take it to the Rink
Everything we’ve talked about so far has been a fair weather activity, so let’s switch it up and go indoors. Have you ever been ice skating? Your legs are on fire the first time! But it’s fun whether you’re just learning to skate around the rink, or if you’ve got a crew to play hockey with.
Another alternative would be an indoor roller rink. Same concept, just on hardwood instead of ice! Work with what you’ve got close to you!
The World is Yours, Go Explore It!
This was just a few examples of easy ways to get your family active. Do some research. Nobody knows your family better than you. So find an idea that they will love and create a whole day around it. Family time and experiences were the highlight of my childhood. We used to take huge family vacations to new places and just spend time together. It doesn’t have to be a big event, just pick something fun that allows your family to disconnect for a little while and make it happen!
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