Ideas for parents to keep kids active

Ideas for Parents

 Physical Activities – Indoor

o   Scavenger hunt

o   Build a fort

o   Dance – There’s a number of ways to get kids shaking with music; Karaoke, dance videos or the freeze game in which kids dance until the music stops.  The last one to freeze is out.  (This can still be fun for solo kids as well).

o   Play with a Pet

o   Hide and go seek

o   Pop in a Workout Video

o   Charades

o   Dress up

o   Hula hoop – not only can you spin the hula hoop around your body but you can also relay race pushing the hula hoop.  The race doesn’t have to span any longer than the length of a room.

o   Kids Gym – many gyms have kid zones that children can go to while their parent gets their own rainy day physical activity.  There are also now gyms specifically for kids as well as organizations like the YMCA which have indoor programs to help kids get physical.

o   Imitate Animals – Like charades getting kids to act out different animals will get them on their feet and moving around and making for some good laughs.

o   Traditional Games – Games like Ring Around the Rosie, Duck Duck Goose, and the Hookey Pookey can all be done indoors if there’s more than one child playing.  There simply games that don’t require too much space but will still get kids in action.

o   Foam Ball Games – ‘nerf’-like foam balls make perfect indoor sports equipment.  Toss around a foam ball, play catch bouncing it of a wall or play basketball with a mini hoop.

o   Jump Rope
*  Teach your Kinder student how to tie their shoes.

 Physical Activities - Outdoor

o   Enjoy the swimming pool. Encourage swim races or a game of Marco Polo. Have a swimming contest and ask a grown up to be a judge. Always follow the water safety rules posted in public swimming pools.

o   Play with the water hose or jump through sprinklers on a hot day.

o   Shoot some hoops! Play a game of HORSE or one-on-one. Basketball is a great way to get your child’s heart rate up and it also improves their hand/eye coordination. Make sure to lower the height of the basket and play with smaller balls if you have younger children.

o   Set up an obstacle course in your backyard or at a playground. Use a variety of obstacles to challenge their skills such as a jump rope, soccer ball or tennis racket.

o   Visit the tennis courts in your neighborhood. Whether your kids run around the court and collect the balls or try to hit them as hard as they can, tennis will get their heart pumping!

o   Invite the neighborhood kids to play in an organized game. Set up a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or organize a softball game with all the kids and adults.

o   Revisit your childhood and join your kids for some fun outdoor games. Remember the games like Mother May I, red light/green light, Simon says, or hopscotch? Forget how to play? Just ask your kids. They will know!

o   There are some days when it is just too hot to go outside. That is when video games such as Dance, Dance Revolution or the Wii fit game might come in handy.

o   Check out the local youth center, recreation programs and YMCA for fun indoor activities.

o   Keep a well stocked supply of water toys like squirt guns or water balloons. Anything to do with water and using the hose will entertain kids for hours.

Ways to Stay Healthy at Home
    • Have bikes as an alternative to traveling by car
    • Switch to fat free or reduced fat milk rather than whole milk for children older than 2 years old
    • Have meals at the table together rather than dispersed and distracted
    • Encourage your kids to eat slower; this gives the brain time to catch up with the stomach when registering fullness
    • Use plates that are sectioned for portion control
    • Eat lean meats rather than non-lean meats
    • Require activity breaks during commercial breaks any time your child watches TV so they at least don’t remain completely sedentary
    • Make sure your child gets enough water each day
    • Limit television to 2 hours or less each day for children over 2 years old with at least 1 hour consisting of educational programming.
    • Don’t out televisions or gaming consoles in your children’s rooms
    • Monitor the amount of time your child spends on other media, such as the internet and music
    • Plan family activities at least weekly, such as hikes, bike rides or swimming
    • Replace regular soda with diet soda (though other beverages are preferable)
    • Make household chores physical, like helping with yard work
    • Cook your meals rather than eating out
    • Limit nighttime snacks
    • Buy fruit instead of candy or dessert
    • Refrain from buying junk food; if it isn’t in the house they can’t eat it
    • Instead of frying trying grilling, baking and steaming food
    • Use vegetable oil instead of solid fats
    • Buy toys and games that encourage physical activity rather than sedentary activity
    • Take your child grocery shopping so they can be a part of healthy food decisions
    • Switch sugary cereals for healthier varieties that can be topped with fruit
    • Use spices and herbs to flavor food instead of fatty alternatives like butter
    • Buy low or non-fat versions of food when possible

 Healthy and Delicious Snacks

Challenge your family to create the most healthy and satisfying desserts and snacks possible. Here are some possibilities to explore:

  • Natural peanut butter on apple slices
  • Frozen fruit blends and smoothies
  • Honey and crushed bananas spread on toast
  • Plain yogurt mixed with honey
  • Yogurt with fresh fruit (mashed bananas, berries, peaches)
  • Frozen bananas on a stick
  • Baked apples with cinnamon, maple syrup, and nuts.

Fruit is a great way to satisfy a craving for "something sweet." And, fruit is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals—all needed in a well-balanced, healthful diet. Encourage your family to try fruit at snack time and for dessert.

  • Make a family list of favorite fruits. Then, make sure to keep plenty of these fruits on hand when in season.
  • Take advantage of plentiful harvests. When your grocer has a sale on fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), buy more than you can use right away. These are the simplest fruits to freeze. Just wash and lay out on a large baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill and dry. Then, place the baking sheet in the freezer overnight. The next morning, toss the frozen berries into freezer bags, return them to the freezer and use them as you need them.
Buy prepackaged, fresh-frozen fruits in order to eat family favorites year round. But, make sure that little or no sugar is added to the frozen packages.