Exercise can help you feel better, and also provide a great way to connect with your kids and loved ones.
I well remember some childhood games of touch football with Dad and my siblings—right in front of two big magnolia trees. And who could forget the family obstacle course that Jim and my sons once created in our backyard?
Instead of merely sending the kids outside to play, let’s join them. Here are ten ideas that can help your family get in shape and make some memories.
1. Go on a hike as a family. If you live near a state or national park, you may be able to trudge through some woods or up a mountain. If you have a pedometer (a watch-like instrument that records the distance a person walks) allow the oldest child in the family to wear it. Have everyone guess how many miles he/she will walk on the hike.
2. With the kids, make a family obstacle course in the backyard. Include objects to jump over, tires or hula hoops to jump through, and end the course with several laps across the perimeter of the yard. You may want to purchase a small trophy that would rotate to weekly winners.
3. Volunteer to walk the dogs of elderly or disabled neighbors. Everyone would get some exercise and you’d show your children how to be kind to their neighbors.
4. Make it a habit to park your car a good distance from stores so that you and the kids can move those legs while talking about the day.
5. Organize a family field day that could include sack races (you could use pillow cases), three-legged races (two people race together—the left leg of one person is tied gently to the right leg of another), running events (four-times-to-the-fence dash), hurdles (jump over plastic buckets), etc. Add inexpensive awards (printed certificates or ribbons) and homemade ice cream to make this a winner for everyone.
6. Swing a family jump rope for the kids. This could be a great way to practice rhymes and even memorize some Bible verses. If you have older children, they could swing the jump rope for mom and dad—now that would be a memory!
7. Schedule regular family exercise nights—touch those toes, stretch those arms, and jog in place. You might want to do this to music.
8. Before eating dessert in the evenings, go on family walks. Listen together for the sounds of birds and dogs. Watch for butterflies and rabbits. Talk about God’s wonderful creation and the world He has entrusted to us.
9. Read books with your kids about swimmers, football players, runners, etc. After finishing each book, enjoy the activity together (go swimming as a family, have a game of touch football at a park, race with the kids around the block, etc.).
10. Brainstorm fun physical activities with the entire family (riding bicycles, playing hide-and-seek, etc.). Write these ideas on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Regularly draw from it, and do the activity that you choose.
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