Weekend Fun for the Fitness Minded Family
By Jeanne Dunnewind, PT
We all want the best for our family, and that’s why it’s important to teach them good ways to stay fit. It’s never too early to begin encouraging them to adopt healthy habits. You can start this weekend with fun activities that will burn calories while you spend time together.
For instance, most cities have a zoo or garden/park where you can look at exhibits. For added enjoyment, you can clock your steps to keep track of how far you’ve walked. Another fun option in most cities is going a trampoline center, where trampolines and foam pits provide jumping fun for the whole family.
Preschool and grade school aged children enjoy doing letter boxing. This activity can be found online and includes instructions for finding a hidden box located in your local park or forest. You are given instructions to the parking area and to where the search begins. From there you will read clues that have you walking to certain points along a trail to where boxes are hidden. Inside each box are a stamp, ink pad, and a small note book. Each person has their own stamp and notebook. You collect the different stamp impressions of each place you find and you leave an impression of your own stamp as well. Kids love the fun of looking for clues and of collecting different stamp impressions. Some people create and carve their own stamps so that each one is unique.
Geocaching is another option, similar to letter boxing but the instructions are based on using a compass and there is money or a toy in the box that you find.
Hikes can be a great way to exercise and enjoy the relaxation of nature. Depending on the abilities of your children, easy, moderate or hard hikes can be chosen. You can start when your children are young by carrying them in infant backpacks. Remember to make it fun so that your children learn to enjoy the outdoors. Try giving your kids a list of things to look for on the trail like a scavenger hunt.
Local lakes and rivers offer fun places to swim as the weather warms. Look for those that offer a marked area to swim and a sandy beach for sandcastles and other child’s play. Or join your local pool and schedule pool days that you can share with your children.
If the weather is poor, consider challenging your children to Dance Revolution or a Wii sport game. Don’t have a gaming device? Go online and check Pinterest. There are tons of great ideas of indoor activities to do with your children ranging from elaborate indoor obstacle courses to simple freeze tag.
Look for short hikes that might be interesting to your children such as visiting a waterfall, small lake for swimming or a creek to play in. Older children might enjoy an afternoon of zip lining and rope climbing. Or you could get a large group together and go paintballing.
No matter what you choose, have a fun time being active with your family.