Consider this fact:
Play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, 31% of their kids play outside today.
It’s alarming and disappointing, but when I look at things in my own household, I realize how busy lifestyles make fact a reality. We try to make sure our kids get in daily outdoor time, even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes after getting home after-school. When my twins come home from preschool, I know that they have had a half hour outdoors on the playground, but it can always be more at that young age. My 7 year old son only gets 20 minutes built into his entire day from 8AM until almost 4PM. That is NOT enough for an active 7 year old. It’s a shame, and as parents, we have to make sure we’re doing more.
Outdoor play, visiting places of play, bike rides, hikes, and walking the dog together are all things we encourage and make every attempt to fit play in. In addition, anytime we can send them outdoors to play, we do.
Tip: Use the time right after school. Let the homework go for a bit. Let your kids run around and tell them 20 mintues outdoors until you call them in. It will give you a few minutes to get in, get collected and maybe even start a few things.
Unfortunately, now that daylight savings time is over – the struggle is real to fit this in. Here are the things we have had to come up with to encourage active play indoors. They are NOT a replacement to outdoor play, but on those days when there’s just not enough daylight, your kids can still get moving and use their imaginations.
- Dance Party or Freeze Dance – This is a tried and true fun way to get kids and parents moving!
- Yoga Ball – Let me tell you how much my kids love this. We have two and they love trying out all different moves on them, bouncing on them, balancing, and more. My girls are even interested in some of the actual yoga moves
- Tickle Game – My kids literally work up a sweat running from the “tickle monster” otherwise known as Daddy.
- Bubble Wrap Jumping – Lay out bubble wrap and get jumping.
- Animal races/relay races – If you have the room let the kids do relay races, calling out funny things to do. Hop like a bunny, walk like a crab, etc.
- Pillow Fight – This one requires a lot of supervision (AND GROUND RULES) but it can be SO fun.
- Parachute Play – Invest in a parachute, they have so much fun with this.
- Jump Rope – Jump roping is easy to do indoors – and my girls have loved learning something that I used to do all the time as a little girl. Look up some of your favorite jump rope rhymes online.
- Kids Workouts – You can download kids’ yoga, aerobic activities or dance instruction videos. My kids think these are so fun and they feel like they’re really doing “exercise” like Mom or Dad.
- Laundry Basket Basketball – Fun and easy to play.
When all that moving works up an appetite, be sure to have good snacks on hand. I gather mine into a container to keep in the fridge and pantry. I take them out and everyone gets to choose a snack. It really has eliminated them asking what there is or what they can have.
I make everything in the bin kid-friendly – things they can open and eat without assistance.
I find that they love having the choice to choose their own snacks.
One choice they consistently make is with CLIF Kid Zbars, which is perfect, since CLIF Kid® is dedicated to reclaiming play all year long.
Nothing beats being a kid, playing outside. Check out this VIDEO to see and remember for yourself what makes outdoor play so special.
CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives.
Some of the other features are:
CLIF Kid Zbars:
- Made with organic ingredients
- Have important nutrients for active kids
- Appropriate portion size for kids in flavors they love
- Have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors (or synthetic preservatives)
Other ideas for a snack bin:
- Multi-Grain Crackers/Crispbreads/Flatbreads. Pair with Peanut Butter
- Baby Carrots (I prebag these into portions)
- Low-Fat Cheese Sticks
- Fruits – they love Tangerines and Apples
Give the snack bin a try and make sure to keep your kids moving with outdoor play — and when it gets too cold or dark out, try some of my indoor play ideas and let me know what you think?
What are your kids’ favorite ways to play active?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.